Ensuring that science and academia is accessible to people from underrepresented groups.
Here are some concrete examples of what I have done during graduate school. While I have done basic work on increasing diversity of my department and improving inclusiveness of my department and Princeton’s Graduate School, I still have much more to learn and do, particularly as it relates to being actively anti-racist.
The EEB Scholars Program
Along with fellow graduate student Amanda Savagian, I co-founded our department’s first ever program for increasing the diversity and accessibility of graduate studies in ecology & evolutionary biology. The graduate school application process in our field is particularly full of many unwritten rules and expectations, e.g., how and when to contact an potential advisor. While we work to change the structure of the application process in the field so that it is more equitable, we hoped to provide a way to give underrepresented students the best chance at applying to graduate school. The EEB Scholars Program aims to demystify the graduate school application process by bringing 12 promising students from historically underrepresented background—URMs, first-gen students, students from low-income counties—to Princeton to attend workshops, meet with faculty, and showcase their own research to the department. The program was started in 2018, and we co-ran the program for two years before handing it off to a new set of graduate student coordinators.
Diversity Fellow in the Access, Diversity, & Inclusion Team (Princeton Graduate School)
As a part of the Diversity Fellows Program, I work under the Assocaite Dean for Access, Diversity, and Inclusion Renita Miller in the Princeton Graduate School. Diversity Fellows work collectively to support an inclusive graduate school community and enhance the cultural, academic, and professional experience of historicaly underrepresented graduate students (e.g., students of color, women in certain STEM fields, low income and first generation college students, and LGBT students). We are tasked with partnering with campus centers (e.g., the Career Services Center) to put on events and programming aimed at building community among underrepresented graduate students.
The Princeton EEB Climate Committee
The “Climate Committee for All in EEB” is our department’s diveristy and inclusion committee. The committee is made up of representatives from faculty, staff, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students. From 2017-2019, I served as one of two graduate student representatives on the committee. My main projects while on the committee focused on restructuring departmental forums to improve gender inequity in speaking time, and to launch our department’s diversity program for graduate studies in ecology and evolutionary biology—the EEB Scholars Program (see above).