African American student with telescope


The Promotion of Underrepresented Minorities in Academic STEM (PUMA-STEM) Alliance is focused on strengthening underrepresented minority student success in STEM at primarily undergraduate and regional institutions.

The alliance consists of seven four-year institutions and one community college:

  • Elmhurst University (lead institution)
  • Benedictine University
  • College of DuPage
  • Concordia University Chicago
  • Dominican University
  • Lewis University
  • North Central College
  • Saint Xavier University

To achieve alliance goals, PUMA-STEM partners will implement cohesive high-impact practices such as:

  • Faculty and peer mentoring
  • High-quality research experiences (including opportunities for students transferring to four-year institutions)
  • Programs to promote inclusive experiences and a sense of belonging in STEM fields

Summer Research Experience

Cutting-edge research experience under the direction of a research mentor. You will work with modern equipment and methods as you investigate new areas of science.

  • Get paid for an 8-week research assignment
  • Research variety:
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computer science
    • Ecology
    • Engineering
    • Microbiology
    • Physics & more

Present and Publish

Projects may result in conference presentations and publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.


  • US Citizen/permanent resident
  • Undergraduate full-time, currently enrolled in classes at a PUMA-STEM LSAMP institution
  • Committed to participate in activities in June and July
  • Preferential consideration will be given to students who identify as a member of a historically under represented racial and ethnic minority group (African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Pacific Islanders).

For more information, contact Emily Whitis at (630) 901-8684 or

Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It is your place in the world.

Dr. Mae JemisonFirst African American woman astronaut in space

The PUMA-STEM Alliance is supported by the National Science Foundation through the LSAMP Program under Award Number 1911271. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Contact Information

For more information, contact Emily Whitis at (630) 901-8684 or

COD Stories

Giovanni Zavalza

"I want to innovate and work on new technology to improve everyone’s lives. I don’t want to be a part of something small. I want to be able to say that I worked on the next big technology.". - Giovanni Zavalza

Giovanni's COD Story

COD Stories

Evan Gutierrez

"This not only provided the benefit of relieving some of the financial strain associated with college, but it also gave numerous invaluable experiences, such as connecting me with research and internship opportunities." - Evan Gutierrez

Evan's COD Story