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2020-2021 DIF Projects

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Certificate in Critical Consciousness and Anti-Oppressive Praxis

Participating Department(s): All
Contact: Taylor Jones,

As the Black Lives Matter movement grows, Stanford graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are eager to build a more equitable world. However, many feel uncertain about how to direct their focus. We train these burgeoning leaders to build a just future in the academy and throughout their lives. Participants in our certificate program develop a practice of reflection and action (praxis) through a series of workshops, journal clubs, and courses/electives at Stanford. Each trainee also partners with minoritized communities to do a “praxis project” to multiply their impact and make transformative change for the Stanford community.

Communication for Diversity

Participating Department(s): Communication
Contact: Angela Lee,

Our project will connect current PhD students with HBCUs to host remote recruitment information sessions. Existing diversity programs at Stanford focus on promoting graduate student diversity in a broad sense, but few are tailored to students attending HBCUs. HBCU students are often disadvantaged during PhD applications due to a lack of sufficient information about how to apply to institutions like Stanford. We will pilot our project in the Department of Communication - which is highly interdisciplinary and combines research on sociology, psychology, and political science. We aim to scale our program by recruiting and training students from other Stanford departments.

Conference on Disability in Medicine and Healthcare

Participating Department(s): Bioengineering, Biomedical Informatics, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Health Research & Policy, Medicine, Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology (Head and Neck Surgery), Pediatrics, Surgery
Contact: Zainub Dhanani,

Twenty-five percent of people in the US have disabilities and face significant healthcare disparities due to barriers in accessing care. To reduce these disparities, there is a significant need to improve physician training, and foster inclusive environments for healthcare professionals who have disabilities themselves. We plan to host the first Disability in Healthcare Conference at Stanford School of Medicine, which will bring together medical professionals and students from the Bay Area through presentations, engaging workshops, and poster presentations. The conference will improve the healthcare environment for all individuals with disabilities, whether as providers or patients.

Diverse Veterinary Applicant Fund (DiVAF)

Participating Department(s): Comparative Medicine
Contact: Alexandria Hicks-Nelson,

The Comparative Medicine Department houses all of the veterinarians on campus tasked with overseeing the health and welfare of research animals. These laboratory animal veterinarians are boarded specialists in their fields, and run an illustrious laboratory animal residency. Residents are accepted in pairs as postdoctoral scholars. Eastern and Southern applicants face the challenge of hotel stays and prohibitive cost-of-living differential. This fund would be made available to offset some of the hotel costs incurred by visiting vet student applicants to diversify our residency applicant pool and ensure any resident is able to transition to Bay Area Living if accepted.

Diversity and Inclusion in Sociology (DAIS)

Participating Department(s): Sociology
Contact: Josh Gagne,

Diversity And Inclusion in Sociology (DAIS) is a student group with two primary aims: (1) support and advocate for the community of first generation, low income, minority, and otherwise nontraditional students within the sociology department and (2) assist in the recruitment of diverse students and faculty. We approach this in three ways: (1) community group meetings to share experiences, needs, resources, and support and coordinate advocacy efforts; (2) coordinating reach out and responses to diverse applicants during the application period; and (3) meeting with department-invited speakers from traditionally excluded backgrounds.

Diversity Perspectives: Exploring Pathways to Career Success

Participating Department(s): Chemical Engineering, Earth System Science, Immunology, Materials Science and Engineering, Structural Biology
Contact: Katherine Walwyn-Brown-Beck,

We will build on the Diversity Perspectives event held in 2019, bringing a trainee-nominated speaker to present on their personal experiences navigating diversity and inclusion. The seminar will be open to the entire Stanford community via zoom. This will be accompanied by smaller facilitated discussions between Stanford trainees and invited students from primarily undergraduate institutions. These events will provide valuable perspectives on how underrepresented and marginalized individuals navigate career-related hurdles; work productively with colleagues, mentors, and allies; and promote an inclusive culture. We will hold an in person networking follow up event in Spring 2021 if social distancing allows.

Documentary Film Screening & Speaker Series

Participating Department(s): Art & Art History
Contact: Michael Workman,

A series of monthly film screenings and discussions geared towards exploring the works of a diverse group of filmmakers. There will be a focus on films by women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals. We will host screenings and invite guest filmmakers to participate in virtual Q&As and teach master class workshops. The screening and speaker series will be an opportunity for the Documentary Film MFA graduate students to extend their discourse beyond the classroom, but it will also be open to all members of the Stanford community, in hopes of fostering a greater dialogue about documentary film.

Equity and Inclusion Graduate Action Committee for Physics and Applied Physics

Participating Department(s): Applied Physics, Physics
Contact: Anisha Singh,

The Graduate Action Committee holds events open to all graduate students in the Physics and Applied Physics departments interested in equity and inclusion issues. Students at each meeting brainstorm around a specific item from the Physics Equity and Inclusion (E&I) Strategic Plan relevant to graduate life, and devise actionable items to help make progress on implementation of the strategic plan. These meetings should increase awareness of equity/inclusion issues and the work being done to address them at the department level, as well as enable a more diverse array of voices to openly discuss these issues and aid in desired actions.

Feminist Fridays

Participating Department(s): All
Contact: Lauren Sukin,

For the past three years, this group has served as an opportunity for graduate students to engage with each other and their gender identities through discussions of creative, intersectional feminist works. Every month, students from across the university are invited to examine a different text dealing with pertinent issues impacting primarily non-male individuals in the modern world. The students then assemble over drinks and snacks in a comfortable forum designed to foster (1) positive discussion of identity, (2) a sense of a supportive community for the women, intersex, and trans-individual at Stanford, and (3) a robust inter-departmental intellectual community.

Future Advancers of Science and Technology (FAST)

Participating Department(s): Aeronautics & Astronautics, Applied Physics, Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Biomedical Informatics, Biophysics, Cancer Biology, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, Developmental Biology, Earth System Science, Electrical Engineering, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Genetics, Immunology, Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Microbiology & Immunology, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics, Physics
Contact: Hannah Rosenblatt,

Future Advancers of Science and Technology (FAST) is a partnership between Stanford graduate students, high school students, and teachers at Andrew Hill and James Lick High Schools, two low-income east San Jose schools. FAST aims to increase participation of underrepresented minority students in STEM by mentoring students in self-generated science projects. Mentors meet regularly with students to brainstorm and complete these projects. Many students attend science fairs, and all receive year-long, individualized graduate student mentorship, participate in a Stanford symposium, and participate in free college prep workshops. A DIF grant will allow us to increase student enrollment and expand curriculum.

Galvanizer - a Stanford-wide female founder community

Participating Department(s): Art & Art History, Bioengineering, Business, Computer Science, Economics, Education, Electrical Engineering, Health Research & Policy, Law, Management Science & Engineering, Medicine
Contact: Soha Yasrebi,

Galvanizer aims to address the female founder gap by providing a supportive community of peers and advisors to encourage more women to become entrepreneurs. We have built a strong community of 40+ female founders that support each other to start and scale companies. Our initiatives include 1) Gal Groups - accountability circles of ~5 founders, 2) Expert Office Hours - discussions with founders, VCs, and operators, and 3) Community Connections - wider community events to brainstorm ideas and share founder stories. We had an overwhelmingly positive response to our pilot program in Spring and are expanding our community and initiatives.

GradSWE STEM Roundtable Series

Participating Department(s): Aeronautics & Astronautics, Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering, Management Science & Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
Contact: Juhi Madan,

GradSWE seeks to promote engineering, provide professional development, and enhance the diversity of the Stanford Engineering community. We focus primarily on supporting female graduate engineers through community building, mentorship, leadership, and networking. The STEM Roundtable Series will serve as a forum to foster interactions among the diverse student community where students can feel free to present their research or lead discussions on relating to Women/Minorities/STEM. For the 2020-2021 year, we are considering having this event quarterly in a mini symposium format with an opening speaker leading into the research presentations and discussion.

Inaugural GSBelonging Inclusion Ambassadors Mentorship Program

Participating Department(s): Business
Contact: Josh Yang,

The GSBelonging Inclusion Ambassadors Mentorship Program is a mentorship program designed to address the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) education and training among MBA students at the GSB. This mentorship program will (1) train MBA2 students to be Inclusion Ambassadors as effective facilitators in engaging with learning across differences and with difficult, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable topics, who will then (2) mentor MBA1 students throughout their first-year at the GSB to establish a common level of understanding around DE&I concepts and frameworks and support students from marginalized communities to help them feel welcomed and included in the GSB community.

Let Me Tell You Something about My Research-Training to shine at conference and interview seminar for postdocs of non-native speakers

Participating Department(s): All
Contact: Yinuo Xu,

This program is designed to improve presentation and networking skills at academic conferences for postdocs who are non-native speakers, specifically targeting Chinese and other international postdocs on campus. We emphasize diversity and inclusion as a priority by extending the access of professional development to those who have verbal and cultural obstacles in effective communication in science.

Nework and Chill

Participating Department(s): All
Contact: Kimya Loder,

The Network and Chill Series is dedicated to creating structured and sustained spaces for Black graduate and undergraduate students to engage in monthly roundtables and activities over the course of the 2019-2020 academic year. We believe that these dialogues will benefit graduate students by creating spaces for reflection and wisdom sharing, in times where many URM graduate students feel lack of confidence, understanding, and belonging within their discipline. Additionally, we believe that fostering dialogue with graduate students will increase the pipeline of diverse students matriculating into programs by exposing undergraduate students to the value of pursuing graduate and professional degrees.

Oakland, Stanford, and the World: 55th Anniversary Commemoration for the Black Panther Party (1966/2021)

Participating Department(s): Art & Art History, Communication, Economics, Education, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Health Research & Policy, History, Law, Modern Thought and Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Theater and Performance Studies;
Contact: Matt Randolph,

2021 marks the 55th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party in Oakland. Stanford students once invited the Party’s visionary leader Huey P. Newton to speak on campus, alongside Angela Davis, Harvey Milk and other social justice activists in 1978. It is now time for Stanford to honor the Party’s legacy for contemporary movements for racial and economic justice around the world. Through interdisciplinary research presentations, themed panels featuring former Panthers reflecting on the past, and a networking event, this initiative encourages meaningful dialogue and intellectual exchange between Stanford students and faculty and local Bay Area community members.

Paths to PhD: How to pursue a graduate degree in psychology

Participating Department(s): Psychology
Contact: Jaclyn Schwartz,

There is often an imbalance in the distribution of the resources, tools, and information necessary to apply for and attend graduate school such that first-generation and minority students are less likely to have access or be exposed to them. The purpose of this event will be to provide undergraduates and individuals considering pursuit of a PhD from underrepresented and minority (URM) groups with practical information for applying to graduate school in psychology. Participants will learn 1) reasons to pursue graduate education 2) how to choose the right graduate program, and 3) how to craft a compelling application.

Queer Latin American Voices: Revisiting the Past, Reading the Present, Writing the Future

Participating Department(s): Anthropology, Classics, Education, History, Linguistics, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology
Contact: Alberto Quintero,

Three central problems have gone unnoticed in contemporary Latin America Studies: lack of representation of Queer voices, lack of spaces to debate their significance, and lack of theoretical frameworks that would allow these voices to be heard. This project brings together graduate students and faculty in the Humanities and Sciences to recover and highlight often-overlooked Latin American queer texts, and their contributions to build inclusive techno-social futurities. Our goal is to construct a diverse, open, and cross-disciplinary academic platform where we will study, debate, and produce scholarship to reflect the artistic, techno-social, and environmental potency of queer Latin American texts.

Religion and Identity Politics Group

Participating Department(s): Anthropology, Classics, Education, History, Linguistics, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology
Contact: Hannah Kober,

The Religion and Identity Politics group will meet twice a quarter to address intersections of religion and religious identity with politics and the public sphere. Through readings and invited speakers, we hope to offer a critical and interdisciplinary platform to discuss how religion and politics impact each other, with attention to minorities, race, gender, and class issues.


Contact: Carlos Gonzalez,

seeME is an outreach event to introduce local middle-school and high-school students to science and engineering. We organize buses to bring students on campus where they will learn hands-on engineering from current Stanford graduate students. We are also trying to expand into other areas of science communication, for example, by participating in the Bay Area Science Festival in 2018.

Someone like me: a postdoc-graduate student mentoring program for trainees with minoritized backgrounds

Participating Department(s): All
Contact: Bradley Tolar,

The proposed postdoc-grad mentoring program has a 3-fold mission: 1) to provide a platform for graduate students and postdocs to discuss issues pertaining to mentoring, and equity and inclusion; 2) to provide professional guidance to graduate students from minoritized backgrounds, who often struggle to find relatable role models, and 3) to provide postdocs with an opportunity to practice and share their mentoring experiences. The program will consist of monthly themed lunches with discussions on topics chosen based on attendees’ needs and interests. Through this format, we aim to educate attendees and to build a robust community of mentors and mentees.

Stanford BIPOC Mentorship Program

Participating Department(s): All
Contact: Preeti Srinivasan,

This project aims to increase the diversity of the graduate applicant pipeline. Across Stanford, departments wish to see a greater increase in diversity – yet we know that graduate school (and its prerequisites) seem opaque unless one has a support system and a mental model of success. The literature shows that mentorship programs often fall victim to unconscious bias, so those with majority identities are more likely to be chosen as mentees. We hope to create a Stanford BIPOC Mentorship Program, where BIPOC undergraduates will have the ability to choose mentors from a repository of available Stanford graduate students.

Stanford Science Penpals

Participating Department(s): Applied Physics, Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Biology, Biomedical Informatics, Biophysics, Cancer Biology, Chemical and Systems Biology, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, Developmental Biology, Earth System Science, Electrical Engineering, Genetics, Geophysics, Immunology, Materials Science and Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Scientist Training Program, Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology, Molecular & Cellular Physiology, Neurobiology, Neurology & Neurological Sciences, Neurosciences, Pediatrics, Physics, Statistics, Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine, Structural Biology
Contact: Stephen Bates,

Stanford Science penpals was established by Stanford graduate students to: 1. Engage more Stanford members in science outreach by providing flexible and impactful outreach opportunities. 2. Provide science role models for 6th-12th graders in disadvantaged schools across the U.S., and expose them to scientific careers. Stanford graduate students and postdocs working in science-related fields write letters to students in different states. These letters introduce young students to academic and career options in sciences and inspire them to pursue their dreams. In turn, Stanford members hone their science communication and mentorship skills while learning about different cultures and perspectives.

Stanford Women Association of Physician Scientists (SWAPS) Career Development Initiative

Participating Department(s): Medicine
Contact: Olivia Zhou,

The Stanford Women Association of Physician-Scientists (SWAPS) was founded in direct response to student feedback that our community needed an organization to provide structured mentorship, camaraderie, and education surrounding issues that women face in pursuing physician scientist careers. This is achieved through the establishment of 1. quarterly networking events with faculty and residents, 2. career development workshops and 3. formation and funding of small mentorship families composed of Stanford MSTP students at each stage of training and a female physician-scientist faculty member. We hope SWAPS advances diversity by enriching the experiences of women as we launch into physician-scientist roles.

Stanford Women in Earth Science

Participating Department(s): Computational Geosciences, Earth System Science, Earth Systems Program, Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, Energy Resources, Engineering, Geological Sciences, Geophysics
Contact: Courtney Payne,

Stanford Women in Earth Science’s (WES) mission is to promote gender diversity in scientific fields of study related to the Earth. We seek to empower women in earth science at Stanford, build networks within and outside of Stanford, and cultivate a safe, supportive community across the School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences and related programs. We hold professional development workshops, host successful scientists, and organize mixers and discussions for our members.

Stanford Women In Math Mentoring (SWIMM)

Participating Department(s): Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering, Mathematics, Statistics
Contact: Sophie Libkind,

SWIMM’s goal is to reduce the gender gap in the mathematical sciences through mentoring and community events. Interested undergraduates are paired with graduate mentors from mathematics, statistics, and ICME. Through their mentor, participants gain access to advice about academic and career possibilities from someone personally invested in their success. Mentors provide encouragement and talk to their mentees about experiences unique to the math community. Program-wide events create a sense of community across multiple departments, increase the visibility of underrepresented groups in math, and give undergraduates a chance to interact with graduate students and faculty in an informal setting.

Students of Color in Political Science (SCPS)

Participating Department(s): Political Science
Contact: Cesar Vargas Nunez,

This project seeks to create connections between students-of-color at different levels in the department of political science. In its initial 'lunch seminar series,' this project will connect undergraduate and graduate students-of-color to facilitate conversations about navigating academia and applying to graduate school. This program intends to foster conversations between students-of-color that can help undergraduate students navigate college and succeed in applying to graduate school.

The 6th Annual Stanford Minorities and Philosophy Conference

Participating Department(s): African Studies, Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages and Cultures, East Asian Studies, Education, Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, Public Policy, Sociology, Symbolic Systems
Contact: Sally Tilton,

The goal of this project is to highlight and critically engage with questions of what philosophy can be and what philosophers can do considering questions involving diversity that have been traditionally overlooked at both the professional level and within the subject matter of philosophy. This conference provides graduate students with an opportunity to learn from and interact with a diverse group of faculties from various institutions in philosophy of feminism, philosophy of race, Latin American philosophy, and Eastern philosophy. It also provides an opportunity for the diverse group of undergraduate philosophy majors to hear others’ experiences pursuing careers in philosophy.

The Critical Orientations to Race and Ethnicity (CORE) Workshop

Participating Department(s): African Studies, Anthropology, Art & Art History, Biology, Classics, Communication, Comparative Literature, Comparative Medicine, East Asian Languages and Cultures, East Asian Studies, Economics, Education, Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, English, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, French and Italian, Genetics, German Studies, Health Research & Policy, History, Iberian & Latin American Cultures, Immunology, Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, International Policy Studies, Latin American Studies, Law, Linguistics, Master of Liberal Arts, Medicine, Modern Thought and Literature, Music, Neurobiology, Neurology & Neurological Sciences, Neurosciences ,Neurosurgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Psychology, Public Policy, Religious Studies, Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, Slavic Languages and Literature, Sociology,Stanford Global Studies, Statistics, Theater and Performance Studies
Contact: Vannessa Velez,

The CORE Workshop will bring together graduate students across disciplines, from history to medicine, to discuss recent scholarship on race and ethnicity. The workshop aims to host three types of events; writing workshops, reading groups, and symposiums. Taken together these events will strengthen Stanford’s growing network of scholars dedicated to studying race and ethnicity and serve as a space for broader campus discussions on race, ethnicity, and inequality.

The Equity Lab

Participating Department(s): All
Contact: Ayinwi Muma,

The Equity Lab is a collaborative effort to end institutional racism and prejudice at the "local level" - i.e. within our labs, working groups, departments, and schools. Specifically, we identify, create and share small, everyday practices that grad students and faculty can implement now to create a more equitable and diverse academic community. By creating a online/offline space for experimenting, creating, and learning together across typically silo'd academic communities at Stanford, we hope to bring about a ground-up culture change. We hope to push ourselves and lab communities from a status quo of institutional injustice to institutional equity.

WiAA Faculty Lunches

Participating Department(s): All
Contact: Efaine Chang,

The Women in AeroAstro group has historically put together small group faculty lunches for our members to learn more about potential career paths, research interests and to hear about the journeys of our distinguished faculty throughout the school of engineering. The purpose of these lunches is to foster a safe and inclusive environment to encourage members to be more vocal about any concerns or questions they may have as an up and coming professing in the field of engineering for both industry and academia alike. Information is typically advertised through our listserv which is predominantly graduate students in the SoE.

Writer's Black

Participating Department(s): All
Contact: Danielle Greene,

Writer’s Black is a student group aiming to foster intellectual community amongst graduate students from across the African Diaspora through opportunities to engage in writing groups/workshops. Given that Black/African-American students are only 2% of the graduate student population and there are few graduate level AAAS or Black Studies courses offered, Writer’s Black will provide an space for graduate students to come together to share ideas, commune across departments, give and receive critical feedback, support each other’s academic journeys, and write in community. This group is interdisciplinary by nature and students from all departments and schools are encouraged to participate.

You Belong: Empowerment, Education, & Environment Program at Stanford (YBEEEPS)

Participating Department(s): Biology, Earth System Science, Earth Systems Program, Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, Geological Sciences, Geophysics
Contact: Shersingh Tumber-Davila,

YBEEPS consists of career day events at Stanford and local Bay Area schools where we introduce careers in earth sciences. Most of the events consist of bringing students to Stanford, where they learn about life on campus, meet earth scientists, and do an interactive science demonstration. Additionally, YBEEPS hosts in-school outreach programs, where we send an earth scientist to an elementary school where students get an in-person introduction to earth sciences. The target communities are the low-income and first-gen communities present in the Bay Area, such as San Francisco, East Palo Alto, Redwood City, and San Jose.