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  1. NSF ADVANCE has been instrumental in supporting institutional practices leading to the increased representation of women in STEM. However, research suggests institutional culture and practices evolve slowly, and much progress remains to create a collaborative and supportive work environment where women scientists, mathematicians, and engineers can thrive, particularly those with intersectional identities, including women of color and women with caregiving responsibilities. A partnership of four midwestern research universities joined together in late 2019 to adapt, design, implement, and assess the impact of a coordinated suite of programs intended to enhance the career success of women and underrepresented STEM faculty. The programs promote mentoring, male advocacy, and informed and intentional leadership as integral to campus culture, and foster community and cross-institutional data-based collaboration. This paper summarizes the programs designed and implemented to improve retention and job satisfaction of women in STEM fields with a focus on the intersectionalities of women of color and women with family responsibilities, including navigating the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, by creating support networks for these faculty. 
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  2. The Nebraska Innovation Maker Co-Laboratory (NiMC) project is developing a model to establish and support makerspaces in rural communities. As makerspaces gain in popularity a chasm has developing between urban access and lack thereof for rural populations. The MiMC model supports collaboration between university faculty and staff and rural makerspaces by utilizing virtual reality and telepresence robots. The exploratory research project deployed telepresence robotics to teach, co-teach and provide project support to a rural community (pop. 7,000) makerspace. Virtual reality was used to teach creativity concepts, VR digital creation and digital to physical manifestation of projects. The NiMC project will continue to explore the model of connection and support of rural makerspaces. 
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