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2022-2023 Newsletter

Pride Month Happy Hour

The Department of Biology’s Social Committee and DEIB Committee, with BioQueers and oSTEM, hosted an amazing multi-department happy hour, including the Department of Physics and the Doerr School of Sustainability, in celebration of Pride Month on Friday June 9th. Located in the Bass Courtyard, this event provided an opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community and allies to celebrate inclusivity, acceptance, and love. The celebration featured music, DIY magnets and pins, as well as food and drinks. It was a truly memorable evening filled with pride, unity, and celebration.

Photos by: Kaiku Kaholoaa


The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) committee—a group of faculty, postdocs, PhD students, undergraduate students, and staff—transitioned to new leadership and membership this academic year (listed below). The DEIB committee is working together on projects aimed at community building, celebrating under-represented voices, and DEIB-related educational opportunities. Our committee recognizes the challenges faced by members of our Biology community, including burdens faced when one’s belonging on campus is frequently questioned. We feel passionate about institutional change but decided to focus this year on achievable solutions-based local actions. Accordingly, we have grouped into various subcommittees to work on alleviating isolation, celebrating diverse community members, and educating faculty mentors. The information below details the plan of each subcommittee. 

DEIB Committee Members

Faculty: Lauren O'Connell, Kristy Red Horse, Kabir Peay

Staff: Cynthia Sanchez

Postdoctoral researchers: Najva Akbari, Kelsey Lyberger, Kwadwo Opoku-Nsiah, Peter Pellitier 

PhD students: Sofia Guajardo Beskid, Charlotte Brannon, Luis Hernandez, Kristy Mualim, Maria Nguyen, Mila Pamplona 

Undergraduate students: Isaiah Dawid, Theo Gress, Amaris Lewis


Content Creation Subcommittee

Annual Newsletters:  The Content Creation Subcommittee will write the update the website and write the newsletters, which include DEIB efforts our committee are pursuing, information on mentoring under-represented individuals, how our readers can participate in DEIB activities across Stanford University and highlight the amazing individuals that make up the Department of Biology. This newsletter will shine a spotlight on the amazing research or incredible DEIB work being done by individuals in the department. We want to celebrate their efforts and highlight the incredible contributions they have made in their research or the DEIB field.

Celebrating Our Community

Community Feedback and Engagement

Biology Department Community Survey: The Community Feedback and Engagement Subcommittee are putting together surveys and discussion forms that will be sent out to the entire Biology committee, including our undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, staff, and faculty. These surveys and discussion forms will provide the community a chance to tell us what you would like to see our DEIB committee accomplish. These forms can also be used to let the DEIB committee know of any issues that have occurred.

Case Studies Document: The Case Studies Document will contain a collection of case studies that tackle important issues affecting members of our community, including but not limited to: complex situations like mentor-mentee relationships, stipend negotiations for undergraduate researchers, discussions on intellectual merit/property or ownership/authorship, and inter-personal conflicts. The goal of the document is to provide resources that will help members of the community navigate challenging scenarios and advocate for DEIB. In order to collect ideas for these case studies, the DEIB committee will hold fishbowl conversations and collaborate with programs like Stanford’s Postdoctoral Recruitment Initiative in Science and Medicine (PRISM), which supports historically under-represented individuals in STEM. By sharing these anecdotes of lived experiences within and outside the Department of Biology, the document shed light on the challenges faced by community members in Biology and explore potential solutions.

Events Planning

Community building: The Events Planning Subcommittee wants to create an environment where everyone feels connected and valued by organizing inclusive events that will encourage stronger community interactions and connections, and provide educational opportunities on improving academia. 

DEIB education and outreach: The Events Planning Subcommittee will host a range of community and cultural gatherings and seminars with special guests and experts in the field of DEIB, education, and outreach. These events will provide a platform for our community to engage with DEIB-related issues, both within Stanford University and on a broader scale. The DEIB committee wants to encourage meaningful discussions, broaden our perspectives, and raise awareness about the importance of DEIB in the Biology community.

Faculty Subcommittee

Training transparency: In the Department of Biology, we have faculty members who are committed to fostering a safe and inclusive environment for everyone in our community. The Faculty Subcommittee will expand this commitment across the Department of Biology by editing the accountability section of the DEIB Biology Department website, adding a statement describing our support for culturally aware mentoring, and list all the training modules that our Biology faculty have completed. This effort will increase transparency about what the department is doing to improve DEIB awareness, efforts, and mentorship training. This training transparency will also encourage more faculty members to take part in mentorship training, as well as provide faculty with more avenues for training.

Mentorship in STEM

Lab feedback: We know that every lab has its own unique culture, with strengths and areas that can use some improvement. However, getting feedback from lab members can be a real challenge because of the power dynamics in our current academic system. The Faculty Subcommittee will tackle this issue by creating a program where faculty and their lab members can take part in anonymous feedback surveys. The Ombuds Office will administer these surveys, ensuring that feedback surveys are strictly confidential. Feedback gathered will be shared with respective faculty members, enabling faculty members to obtain personalized executive coaching and help with incorporating feedback to enhance their labs.

Teaching and Undergraduates Initiatives

Undergraduate outreach: Members of the DEIB Committee want to make sure that all undergraduates, especially those who have been historically excluded from practicing science, get a chance to dive into biology research. The Teaching and Undergraduate Initiatives Subcommittee will disseminate information about research opportunities in the Department of Biology to the undergraduate community, increasing access to research in Biology.

Diversifying lectures: The Teaching and Undergraduates Initiatives Subcommittee will give our postdocs an opportunity to give guest lectures in Biology Foundations courses to bring diversity to the teaching team and reflect the diversity among Stanford’s undergraduate population. Concurrently, these initiatives will provide postdocs in our community with professional development opportunities.

Celebrating our Community

We believe it's important to recognize and celebrate individuals who have overcome barriers, shown leadership, and contributed to a more inclusive and  equitable environment in Biology. We are grateful for our community and their contributions to DEIB, and would like to share their story and achievements  with our wider community. Keep reading to learn more about the amazing voices in…