PNWU’s Roots to Wings Program Receives STEM Award


PNWU’s Roots to Wings Program Receives STEM Award

PNWU’s Roots to Wings Program Receives INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine’s 2020 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award


National Recognition of Programs That Are Making a Difference for All Underrepresented Groups in the Fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)


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Yakima, WA—On Saturday, August 15, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences’ (PNWU’s) Roots to Wings (RTW) program received the 2020 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education. The Inspiring Programs in STEM Award honors colleges and universities that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). PNWU will be featured, along with 49 other recipients, in the September 2020 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. 

Inspiring Programs in STEM Award winners were selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity based on efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in STEM through mentoring, teaching, research, and successful programs and initiatives. 

“It is an honor to partner with the Yakama Nation and other communities in Washington to inspire all students to consider careers in STEM and health care,” said Dr. Michael Lawler, president of PNWU. “Through Roots to Wings, we proudly join our partners in building a new generation of scientists and healers.”      

RTW encourages Native American and Latinx students on the homelands of the Yakama Nation to pursue health and STEM education and careers, while exposing PNWU medical students to the values, traditions, and medical needs of diverse populations. Through monthly sessions youth gain equitable access to health education and careers, and medical students foster their desire to serve rural and underserved communities as physicians. Since 2014, RTW has served over 400 6-12 grade students from school districts in rural and underserved areas in Washington State.

“RTW is the essence of our belief in the talents and potential of the youth of our valley and the diverse communities we serve,” explained Dr. Mirna Ramos-Diaz, Director of RTW. “We are passionate about our commitment to revolutionize healthcare. This award is an acknowledgement that RTW is meeting its goal to increase the representation of Native American and Latinx in STEM and healthcare professions. Furthermore, RTW is an example of applying the values and traditions of the cultures as conduits to teaching science and healthcare. Through this process, the manner in which scientists and healthcare professionals teach and practice medicine are changed. Thus, together we are transforming education, healthcare, the medical profession, and the individual lives of those involved.”

“We know that many STEM programs are not always recognized for their success, dedication, and mentorship for underrepresented students,” says Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We want to honor the schools and organizations that have created programs that inspire and encourage young people who may currently be in or are interested in a future career in STEM. We are proud to honor these programs as role models to other institutions of higher education and beyond.”

A call for nominations for this award was announced in April 2020. 

For more information about the 2020 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award and INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, visit


About INSIGHT Into Diversity  

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education today and is known for its annual INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, the only award that recognizes colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses. INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine presents timely, thought-provoking news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion in higher education and beyond. Articles include interviews with innovators and experts, as well as explorations of best practices and profiles of exemplary programs. In our Career Center, readers will also discover career opportunities that connect job seekers with institutions and businesses that embrace a diverse and inclusive workforce. Current, archived, and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine are available online at