The MBG Diversity Council and the broader MBG community are highly committed to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion at MBG and beyond.
1. Established the first Strategies to Support DEI During Recruitment Seminar (Jan 25, 2021) to share best practices on how to interact with students from a variety of backgrounds during recruitment events. This seminar was attended by over 70 faculty members from all three fields and will be held on an annual basis.
2. Coordinated the MBG Town Hall (April 16, 2021) to inform the MBG Community about ongoing issues that students face and brainstorm new initiatives for MBG Working Groups. This meeting was attended by over 80 faculty members, students, post docs, and staff from all three fields and was a great first step to building common goals for the MBG Community. We plan to hold Town Halls on specific topics on a semesterly basis.
3. Organized the first Life Sciences Diversity Recruitment Weekend (June 11-12, 2021) with BBS and Microbiology to provide advice on the graduate school application process to underrepresented minority students, with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of applications from underrepresented minority students to our programs. We had over 100 applicants from all over the world and accepted around 60 participants.
Four current Working Groups to actively address DEI on all levels relating to MBG’s mission:
Working Group 1. Improving Faculty, Postdoc and Graduate Student Recruitment
Co-leaders: Sylvia Lee (faculty) and Irma Fernandez (graduate student)
- To collaborate with the Faculty Task Force on Faculty Searches to develop strategies to diversify faculty hiring that can be implemented immediately;
- To brainstorm ideas to recruit postdoctoral fellows from underrepresented backgrounds;
- To assess this past graduate recruitment season and the life sciences diversity recruitment weekend to prepare for the next graduate recruitment cycle.
- To expand on new approaches of targeted recruitment, e.g. building relationships with programs like McNair, LSAMP, RISE, and visiting those students at other institutions across the US, e.g. HBCUs and Puerto Rico; v) Revamping how we do visits to important national conferences like SACNAS, ABRCMS, and exploring other regional opportunities for recruitment, e.g. California Diversity Conference where all CA schools are represented.
Working Group 2. Proposing new Graduate Field Policies/Expectations Agreement
Co-leaders: Chris Fromme (faculty), Jackie Bubnell (postdoctoral fellow), and Oriana Teran (graduate student)
Short-Term Goals: To brainstorm and then formalize specific proposals for Graduate Field policy changes and updates. For example, establishing mentor/mentee expectations agreements and guidelines for PI/student conflict resolution.
Working Group 3. Diversifying Undergraduate Researchers / Employees in Labs
Co-leaders: Cedric Feschotte (faculty) and Martik Chatterjee (graduate student)
Short-Term Goals: We aim to explore and implement mechanisms to diversify and enrich the experience of undergraduate researchers in MBG labs. Notably we will develop specific plans to reach a diverse pool of students, establish equitable practices to recruit and compensate them,
and ensure their success and well-being in our laboratories.
Working Group 4. Building Community in MBG
Co-leaders: Mariana Wolfner (faculty) and Kara Zielinski (graduate student)
Short-Term Goals: Plan regular events to bring faculty and students together in an informal setting, re-establish an Annual MBG Retreat, and organize an Annual MBG Yearbook to celebrate the accomplishments of MBG and to show all the ways one can get involved in MBG.