Inclusive Leadership Project MicroBio-LEAP Welcomes Scholars

Dec. 7, 2023

Washington, D.C.—Dec. 7, 2023—ASM is pleased to announce the inaugural cohort of scholars for the newly-established Microbiology Leaders Evolving and Accountable to Progress (MicroBio-LEAP) Project. MicroBio-LEAP is a new project, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), that will train leaders in the microbial sciences to embody and elevate inclusive diversity with equity, access and accountability (IDEAA). The newly selected scholars will participate in the MicroBio-LEAP Training-of-Leaders (ToL) Scholars Program, which consists of an in-depth training program dedicated to guiding microbiology leadership through an opportunity to contribute to systemic change. Scholars will learn the skills necessary to create sustainable, cultural change within their circles of influence and impact.   

The MicroBio-LEAP ToL Scholars Program takes a unique approach to training participants by providing a space for the ToL Scholars to practice their knowledge and skills. This will ensure that the training goes beyond awareness and translates to action. The program will take place in 16 sessions, over the course of 10 months, with an in-person summit taking place immediately before ASM Microbe 2024. This program is intentionally longer in duration than typical IDEAA-related trainings, as a recent meta-analysis has found that longer trainings have increased positive impacts on participants. The longer training, coupled with the intention to move from awareness to action, will ensure that ToL Scholars enhance their intercultural awareness and dismantle unconscious biases through lectures, individual introspection and group discussion. ToL scholars will use the skills and strategies that they develop over the duration of the program to create and propose policies and procedures to build more IDEAA-focused work environments at their respective organizations and more broadly within their spaces of influence. 

To recruit the ToL Scholars, ASM and our partner organization, the Association of Medical School Microbiology and Immunology chairs (AMSMIC), held an open call from mid-September to mid-October of 2023. In the application, candidates completed multiple choice and free response questions focused on leadership, IDEAA experiences and their goals for the ToL Scholars Program. After 4 rounds of rigorous review, the MicroBio-LEAP Task Force, in collaboration with members of the IDEAA Committee and the ASM IDEAA staff team, selected 24 scholars from 89 applicants. Scholars were selected with the intent of building a heterogenous cohort, exemplifying diversity across sectors, career stage, leadership experience, employment role and IDEAA experience. Additionally, organizational membership was taken into consideration to ensure that both organizations were represented in the cohort. 

ASM enthusiastically welcomes the following inaugural cohort to the ToL Scholars Program.   


Through the ToL Scholars Program, ASM aims to influence the culture of the microbial sciences and promote a more diverse, welcoming and inclusive environment within the ToL Scholars’ circles of influence. The goal of the MicroBio-LEAP Project is that, as leaders’ organizations and teams embrace IDEAA, the microbial sciences will experience a cultural paradigm shift that fosters an enhanced sense of belonging for historically excluded groups. The ToL Scholars Program is a big step toward this goal.  

Stay up to date on the MicroBio-LEAP Project and follow the ToL Scholars’ progress by visiting the MicroBio-LEAP webpage. 



The American Society for Microbiology is one of the largest professional societies dedicated to the life sciences and is composed of 36,000 scientists and health practitioners. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences. 
ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.