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2015-2016 DIF Projects

Challenge Accepted: Empowerment of the Bay Area Black Youth

Contact: Michael Reddick,

The aim of Challenge Accepted is to build a bridge between the black graduate community at Stanford and black youth in the local Bay Area. We recognize that over 60 years since the Brown v Board of Education ruling, there still exists a great disparity between the educational outcomes of marginalized communities of color and their non-minority peers. The lack of quality education in the black community has had a debilitating effect on the community, and its ability to achieve social, economic, and political mobility. We hope that by establishing a connection to these communities, we can attack this educational divide at its core in the Bay Area. This program will give the youth participants opportunities for mentorship from a Stanford graduate student, professional development workshops, survey lectures on a range of disciplines, and ultimately, the exposure to people of color who are pursuing PhD, JD, MD, and MBA degrees at one of the greatest universities in the world. By mitigating this discrepancy in the educational outcomes of black youth and their non-black peers, we hope to contribute to the continued and concerted efforts of many, whose ultimate goal is to achieve educational equality for all.

Cinco: A Celebration of Latino Culture, Heritage, and History

Contact: Sergio Broholm,

Every year, the Stanford Latino Law Students Association (SLLSA) celebrates Latino/a culture, heritage, and history during our Cinco de Mayo Celebration. The culminating event features Latino cuisine and beverages and traditional Latino performances. Several hundred law students, faculty and staff, graduate students, lawyers, and members of the community attend each year.

Keeping with last previous years' traditions, we expanded our celebration by organizing a different event each day of the week (April 27 - May 1). In addition to our usual Cinco Celebration, we incorporated programs that brought together different members of the Stanford Community and enlighten participants about the historical and contemporary issues affecting the Latino/a community. This year, we hosted a Puerto Rican Bomba y Plena musical group, screened a film about immigration detention centers with a follow-up discussion, and hosted the East Palo Alto Mural and Arts Project to run a mural painting session.

Diversity in STEM

Contact: Natalie Chavez,

Diversity in STEM aims to celebrate the professional accomplishments of Stanford graduate students, post-docs, and faculty who are underrepresented minorities (URMs), specifically women and Latinas/os. At a day-long symposium on a Saturday in Spring 2016, these individuals will share their professional journey into STEM, in addition to the research they are currently doing, in an accessible TEDx-style talk. This will serve to educate and inspire symposium attendees (URM undergraduates from Stanford and local colleges and high school students) to pursue a career in a STEM field. The Diversity in STEM symposium will advance diversity in STEM fields at Stanford and beyond by facilitating the formation of a supportive scholarly network. The symposium will serve to 1) educate URM undergraduates and high school students (and their parents) on STEM topics and career trajectories 2) establish a pipeline of women and URMs in STEM and 3) give graduate students, post-docs, and faculty the opportunity to communicate their science to the general public and support one another.

Geneticists for Diversity in Science

Contact: Viviana Risca,

The objective of Geneticists for Diversity in Science (DIF), is to broaden the diversity of role models and potential mentors available to students at Stanford (particularly biosciences graduate students and postdocs). We plan to arrange for Stanford alumni and bioscience professionals who are women and/or minorities to come to Stanford to give presentations about their work, the challenges they faced in their careers, and how they overcame discrimination. After each presentation, we will hold a question and answer session to allow students and post-docs to ask questions and get advice. In addition, the organizers, 2 students, and 2 post-doctoral scholars will take the guest speaker out for dinner to allow for a more informal setting for interaction. Our goal for this seminar series is to encourage women and minority students to continue their careers in science and to provide a setting in which they can solicit advice from alumni they can relate to with respect to background and gender. The interactions that result from this seminar will also provide an additional opportunity for Stanford graduate students and postdocs to network with faculty and professionals outside of Stanford who are interested in promoting diversity in science.

Grad Diversity Week 2016

Contact: Gabriel Rodriguez,

The Graduate Student Council's Diversity Advocacy Committee (DAC) will plan and host Grad Diversity Week, a series of participatory events focusing on diversity in our academic community. Grad Diversity Week will take place over the course of a week and will be held Spring Quarter 2016. The goal of these events will be to raise awareness about campus diversity, academic identity, and leadership at Stanford by creating spaces for different groups and individuals across campus to engage with the issues of inequitable access and opportunities in graduate education. The events will be designed by a core group of volunteers from the DAC in consultation with all the identity and interest groups that wish to participate. Ultimately, we aim to create a learning experience for all attendees that will have transformational value for both individuals and the community as a whole.

Hermanas in STEM

Contact: Paola Moreno-Roman,

Hermanas in STEM translates to "Sisters in STEM" from Spanish. Our main goal is to unite and build a community of support among Latina (female) graduate and postdoctoral scholars on campus. We plan to do this by hosting monthly meetings that offer rotating topics of interest to the Latinas in STEM community. These topics will rotate every month between: Latina Faculty Chat, Lunch Mixer, and Undergraduate Outreach Lunch. By offering a safe space for Latinas in STEM, we expect to build up a community where scholars will find peers who they can relate to and thus, becoming mentors and/or mentees of each other. Also, the constant interaction will foster collaboration between people from different departments.

Mothers in Academia

Contact: Tina Cheuk,

Mothers in Academia (MIA) will be a network of mothers and expectant mothers designed to empower participants to navigate the academy as graduate students, advance our voice and influence within the academy, and build the tools and support necessary to be successful in our roles, teams, and organizations. The broad goal of this network is to support a growing community of mothers and educate the broader academy on how to support and integrate female scholars (especially those who are mothers) into the academy. In particular, this group will work together to unpack complex issues, emotions, and professional questions around working and learning as a mother in the academy.

Pay It Forward: First-generation and/or low-income graduate student mentorship

Contact: Jeff Ho,

Recognizing that first-generation and/or low-income (FLI) graduate students face unique challenges at Stanford - and yet are often poorly supported by their own departments - Pay It Forward is a series of programs linking FLI grad students to mentors and mentees in order to create a FLI community of shared knowledge and experiences. The goal of Pay It Forward is to help FLI grad students build resiliency and camaraderie by providing opportunities to be mentored by senior FLI grad students and alumni, as well as opportunities to mentor FLI undergrad students. This will take the format of a Fall/Winter mentorship program between junior (1st and 2nd year) grad students and more senior grad students, two events in the Winter/Spring to train graduate students in mentoring undergraduates, and one event in each quarter to connect alumni with grad students. Through the formal mentorship program between grad students and the other informal opportunities to connect with alumni and undergraduates, Pay It Forward supports the academic success and interests of the FLI graduate community.

Queer Perspectives Speaker Series

Contact: Joey Nelson,

Queer Perspectives is a speaker series that empowers queer Stanford students (undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral) to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by hosting successful queer academics and professionals from those fields to talk about their experience and the intersection of their identity and career. The Queer Perspectives Speaker Series is coordinated by the Stanford Chapter of Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM@Stanford) and provides an opportunity for networking, community building, and professional development between students and openly queer individuals advanced in their careers.

Stanford Women in Fluid Dynamics

Contact: Tracy Mandel,

The mission of Stanford Women in Fluid Dynamics (SWiFD) is to build an interdepartmental support network for women in the field of fluid mechanics, in order to promote their intellectual and professional development. As fluid mechanicians, we are scattered among several departments and are often underrepresented in courses, seminars, and conferences. SWiFD will create an interdepartmental resource that focuses on women preparing for careers in academia or research labs. This project will enhance Stanford’s diversity by creating an environment that enriches the graduate and postdoctoral experience for women in fluid mechanics, helping to both retain and recruit this underrepresented minority. We will accomplish this through faculty seminars, small-group discussions, networking dinners, professional development workshops, and outreach and volunteer activities.

STAr (Science Teaching through Art)

Contact: Nora Brackbill,

The Science Teaching through Art (STAr) program has two main goals: (1) to teach Stanford researchers how to communicate their research to a diverse audience and (2) to use those skills to share research with students at local high schools and community colleges. Through a series of interactive workshops, participants of the STAr program design and create effective visual aids and learn how to communicate their research to aspiring scientists from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. The program culminates in a series of poster exhibitions at Stanford, local high schools and community colleges. At these events, participants will apply the skills they learned in our unique workshops in order to inspire the next generation of researchers. Now entering its third year, the STAr program is looking to increase the outreach aspect of the program by reincorporating students from a local community college, who participated in STAr 2013 but not STAr 2014, as well as by holding additional poster sessions in order to increase the impact of our program on underrepresented groups in science.

Support & Advocacy for the Advancement of Women & Minority Scholars (SAAWMS)

Contact: Jennifer Cryer,

The SAAWMS project will address barriers to academic participation and preparation faced by underrepresented students in the field of Political Science and the Social Sciences, broadly. Graduate students within Department of Political Science, in collaboration with the Political Science Graduate Student Association, will promote the inclusion of underrepresented scholars, access to a shared network of scholars, opportunities for professional development, and mentorship for underrepresented students. Project activities will include (1) establishing and coordinating a speaker series highlighting the work of women and minorities in the field, (2) disseminating information and hosting workshops about ways to advocate for diversity issues in a professional setting, (3) providing mentorship and post-baccalaureate advice to underrepresented and women undergraduates.

Teaching for Equity Learning Series

Contact: Shayna Sullivan,

The Teaching for Equity Learning Series is a speaker series highlighting educators and researchers who are members of underrepresented groups and whose work directly relates to teaching for equity and/or how to navigate the teaching profession as a member of their particular identity group. The series was designed to support underrepresented STEP students by increasing access to other educators who share their own identities and by providing opportunities to learn more about how to make the teaching profession more equitable. Although underrepresented students are the primary target, the information will enhance the knowledge and practice of all students (including those who are not members of these groups but wish to support their peers and just become better teachers/academics).

Women in Applied Physics and Physics

Contact: Shenglan Qiao,

The Women in Applied Physics and Physics group serves the graduate and undergraduate women community in Applied Physics and Physics departments. The project includes a mentoring program connecting undergraduate and graduate women, monthly lunches, welcome events, and recruitment events.