By: Shelby Lawson
At the forefront of pioneering research, the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology is dedicated to addressing pressing societal challenges in areas such as energy, agriculture, medicine, and more. Solving these complex problems hinges on bringing together a diverse group of scientists with unique perspectives and backgrounds.
The IGB values diversity and inclusivity, and is committed to fostering an environment where everyone feels welcomed and respected. To this end, the IGB DEI Advisory Group was established in 2018 to help cultivate a more inclusive, diverse and inviting atmosphere within the IGB community. The DEIAG meets to formulate new DEI initiatives, and those initiatives are then entrusted to the DEI Task Force, which puts them into action. The combined efforts of the advisory group and task force have already led to many new programs, workshops, and seminars since their inception.
The IGB is pleased to announce the new members of the DEIAG: Associate Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology Hee Jung Chung (M-CELS), Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Graduate Studies Aleks Ksiazkiewicz (GSP), Postdoctoral Fellow Sierra Raglin (IGOH), and Robinson lab graduate student Melissa Flores (GNDP). The chair of the DEI Task Force, Sara Padron Haba (RBTE), will also serve on the DEIAG, and act as a conduit between the two groups.
The DEIAG will be chaired by newly appointed Director’s Faculty Fellow Jessica Brinkworth (GNDP/IGOH), a professor of anthropology. As a Director’s Fellow, Brinkworth will lead the DEIAG in examining the current DEI landscape at the IGB and proposing new initiatives, which will then be developed in partnership with the DEI Task Force. The task force then puts those ideas and initiatives into action, creating tangible change in the IGB. The partnership between the DEIAG and the DEI Task Force have already led to fruitful new DEI programs, seminars, and events. The DEIAG will also work with the task force to increase inclusiveness and connection between different units in the IGB, helping to foster a diverse community culture.
The IGB thanks the previous DEIAG committee members for all their efforts towards improving inclusivity and diversity at the IGB. The previous committee includes founder and long-standing chair of the DEIAG, Professor of Anthropology Ripan Malhi (CIS co-leader/GNDP/GSP/IGOH), Professor of Sociology Ruby Mendenhall (GNDP), Professor of Integrative Biology Carla Cáceres (IGOH), Professor of Plant Biology Katy Heath (IGOH), Professor of Food Science & Human Nutrition Zeynep Madak-Erdogan (CGD/EIRH/GSP), Assistant Professor of Plant Biology Steven Burgess (GEGC), Professor of Microbiology Gary Olsen, and Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Hyunjoon Kong (M-CELS leader/EIRH/RBTE).
All are welcome to join the bi-monthly DEITF meetings, information available on the IGB calendar.
By: Shelby Lawson