Here are some of the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives taken recently in SSQB. See **here** for our general DEI mission statement.
The Identity and Empowerment in Science course is a student-led, DEI-focused workshop that is part of the required curriculum for first year SSQB students. This four-part workshop aims to provide students with a language and set of concepts to understand how identity affects people’s experiences in science and explore strategies for self empowerment and institutional change. This course was created through a collaboration between SSQB students and faculty in 2016 and has been run by students every year since. The two students each year who are selected to teach this course are also named as SSQB program-specific GSAS Diversity and Inclusion Fellows and work in partnership with the GSAS Office of Diversity and Minority Affairs (ODMA) to contribute to other DEI initiatives in the program.
Since fall of 2020, current SSQB students have run an Application Assistance Program (AAP). Specifically targeted at applicants from underrepresented backgrounds in STEM, the AAP matches eligible applicants with current student mentors, who provide advice throughout the application process. The program’s goal is to ensure that applicants to SSQB have resources and guidance while applying to the grad program.
In addition to the AAP, students have also created resources available to all applicants. These include an email hotline, FAQ page for admissions, and panel events to answer questions about the admissions process as a whole.
It is important that students from all backgrounds are supported in their journey through graduate school. SSQB Peer Supporters are students who receive mental health training and provide general support for current students. Among other initiatives, the Peer Supporters and other students have organized a series of events for first-year students. At these events, more advanced students can provide advice and support at critical moments throughout the first year of graduate school, such as helping students to choose rotations and a thesis lab, as well as prepare for exams.