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Diversifying the Pool of PhD Students Will Require Systemic Change

Illustration of a person rolling out color pieces of paper
Illustration by Michael Austin
Nov 4 2020
Stanford, Students

As demands for social justice and racial equity echoed throughout the nation this summer, Stanford GSB doctoral student Wendy De La Rosa, PhD ’21, decided to add her voice to those calling for change. Although ongoing efforts have greatly increased gender diversity in PhD programs across the country, she knew that wasn’t the case when it came to diverse racial representation.

“Here at Stanford, we can’t lead from behind,” De La Rosa says. “A critical and often forgotten assumption is that before we change lives, organizations, or the world, we must first change ourselves and our environment. And this is arguably the most challenging change to endure.”

Finding ways to support underrepresented minority PhD students — and eventually diversify the faculty pipeline — is one way to begin that change, says De La Rosa, who brought her idea for a conference to Dianne Le, assistant dean of the PhD program.

Wendy De La Rosa, is a 2016 EDGE fellow and 2020 DARE fellow.

VPGE serves the entire graduate student community across all seven schools, including the Graduate School of Business.

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