This academic year, from September 2021 to July 2022, Barnard will celebrate all things related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) at the College with the launch of the Barnard Year of Science (BYOS) — beginning with the 2021 Convocation ceremony on September 14, the traditional start of the academic year. President Sian Leah Beilock, who officially announced the new initiative during Convocation, noted that the College’s expert faculty, its symbiotic relationship with Columbia University, and its location in New York City makes it singularly positioned to offer unparalleled opportunities to women who will become tomorrow’s STEM leaders. 

“Core to Barnard’s academic excellence is our belief that diversity of thought, perspectives, and lived experience allows you to achieve your full intellectual potential, with greater knowledge, discoveries, and insights," said President Sian Leah Beilock when introducing the launch of the Barnard Year of Science at the 2021 Convocation ceremony at Riverside Church. "This includes the sciences: Because the sciences are an integral part of the liberal arts, not a separate entity, all of our students acquire scientific skills that enable them to succeed in any career they decide to pursue, whether in the arts, humanities, social sciences, sciences, or some combination.”

BYOS Data graphic

The College has also increasingly incorporated STEM curricula and programming into its liberal arts education, providing students with interdisciplinary knowledge and skill sets that they can carry beyond Barnard.

And young women interested in the sciences are choosing Barnard more than ever before in the College’s 132-year history — 34% of the Class of 2021 were STEM majors, compared with about 26% nationally. Among Black, Latinx, and Indigenous scholars from the same class year, who are significantly underrepresented in the field, 36% majored in STEM at Barnard, compared with about 23% nationally. These statistics exemplify the College’s commitment to establishing itself as a leading educational institution in STEM and the arts. The mission continues to be to help students develop the intellectual drive required to excel, with an eye toward the emergence of new fields, new ideas, and new technologies.  

Weecha viewed from base, backlit by sun
"Weecha," inspired by geologist and petrologist Maria Luisa “Weecha” Crawford, was brought to campus via a collaboration with Professor Joan Snitzer, director of the visual arts program in the Department of Art History, and is on loan to the College from August 2021 to July 2022.

A Year of STEM Exhibits, Events, and Panels 

Barnard — one of the first liberal arts colleges to have a distinct technology requirement, through the Foundations curriculum — will further expand pathways for students to pursue advanced degrees and careers in STEM with the guidance of faculty who have been awarded more than $10 million in grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health

BYOS SP2 Graphic

During the BYOS, the campus will introduce new STEM-focused programs and signature events, such as the in-person/virtual panel “Grey Matter: Parenting and the Science Behind the Teenage Brain,” academic department activities, and keynote lectures. And to showcase the connection between STEM and the arts, exhibits highlighting this intersection will pop up across campus, including the Weecha sculpture, named after and inspired by geologist and petrologist Maria Luisa “Weecha” Crawford, which is on loan to Barnard via a collaboration with Joan Snitzer, director of the visual arts program in the Department of Art History. 

Throughout the academic year, as Barnard highlights various STEM disciplines and issues each month — such as biology, sustainability, and psychology — the College will also explore topics relating to five key themes: the cosmos; scientific principles; scientific knowledge; expanding scientific boundaries; and diversity, equity, and inclusion in science. 

Check out the events page to stay up to date on upcoming programs, panels, and more.

A Year of STEM, Before BYOS


Throughout the year 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, Barnard and other institutions around the globe focused on the science and data behind staying safe and healthy. As the crisis intensified, Barnard’s deep commitment to developing top women in STEM was on full display. Students, faculty, and alumnae used their various talents to find solutions to some of our biggest problems — such as testing wastewater for the virus, working as a contact tracer, or tapping into their medical student network to help healthcare workers cope with the pandemic. 

Illustration of three black women wearing lab coats
"Supporting Black Women in STEM Careers" (February 8, 2021)
students and advisor in chem lab
"Paving the Way" (Barnard Magazine's Spring 2020 issue)

To learn more about the Barnard Year of Science, its events, and the College’s interdisciplinary approach to STEM education, visit the BYOS website and the College’s main website for updates on programming, events, and more.


See below for more on Barnard’s existing STEM programs:

*For more information on the Con Edison Research Fellows, please email the Associate Dean of Studies for Access Barnard at

text saying "Year of Science" surrounded by various scientific paraphernalia, such as beakers, gears, and nuclear symbols