The Prison and the Academy

STEM Education and Prisoner Reentry

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 3:00pm
Arthur Lewis Auditorium, Robertson Hall
Event Category: 
Co-sponsored Event

What is the role of STEM literacy in successful prisoner reentry?

Join us for a public conversation.

Access to higher education reduces recidivism rates by almost half and increases the employability of formerly incarcerated people. Many incarcerated students wish to pursue degrees in STEM fields, which lead to diverse career avenues, rewarding jobs, high income potential, and societal status. However, university-level STEM coursework is rarely available to incarcerated students; systemic inequalities in mainstream STEM education are exacerbated in the prison environment; and after release, individuals face significant barriers to gaining employment in STEM fields, such as social stigma and lack of familiarity with modern technologies. Individuals and organizations around the country and at Princeton are taking note of these troubling trends and are attempting to find creative solutions to combat them.

This fall’s “The Prison and the Academy” event will seek to address the following questions:

  • How can STEM education contribute to successfully re-entering the workforce?
  • What avenues have governmental and non-governmental organizations pursued in constructing a pathway from the prison classroom to STEM employment? How might we envision a more effective or comprehensive path?
  • What is the responsibility of academics and the academy to ensure access to higher education in STEM disciplines within prisons?


Andrew Cannon is a Mechanical Engineering PhD student at Boston University and graduate of the NJ-STEP Rutgers-Mountainview BA program.

Anibal Cortes is a Program Associate in the Health Access Equity Unit, New York City Department of Health and graduate of the Bard Prison Initiative.

Adham El-sherbeini is a Project Engineer at Hydroworks and a calculus tutor for Upward Bound, as well as a graduate of the NJ-STEP Rutgers-Mountainview BA program.

Salih Israil is the Special Assistant to the Directors and graduate of the Bard Prison Initiative.  

Michael Krezmien is Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Engagement in the Department of Student Development at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and PI of the NSF-sponsored RAISE project: “Reclaiming Access to Inquiry-based Science Education (RAISE) for Incarcerated Students.”

Nalini Nadkarni is a Professor of Biology at the University of Utah, co-founder or “Sustainability in Prisons Project” and PI of NSF-INCLUDES grant “ASSisT: Motivating Critical Identity Shifts to Weave the STEM Disenfranchised into Science and the Sustainability Workforce.”

Jed Tucker is the Director of Reentry at the Bard Prison Initiative.

Two panel discussions will be held; following brief presentations from our discussants, we look forward to an open discussion with the audience. Reception to follow in Schultz Dining Room.

Questions? Contact the organizers Alişya Anlas (, Annegret Dettwiler-Danspeckgruber (, Angela Radulescu (, and Jill Stockwell (

Co Sponsor(s): 
Sponsored by the LIechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Council on Science and Technology
NSF-INCLUDES Pilot Grant “STEPs to STEM,” PI Professor Jannette Carey, Center for Collaborative History, Department of Astrophysics, Department of Chemistry, Department of Psychology, Program in Law and Public Affairs, and University Center for Human Valu