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Coalition for Diversifying Science

Collaborating to recruit, retain, and invest in our students and faculty

Niesha holds up a slide while seated at lab bench wearing lab coat, gloves, and mask.
Photo by Melissa Vergara for Virginia Tech.

our mission

The Coalition for Diversifying Science is a collaboration between college and university inclusion and diversity initiatives. Through partnership we work to coordinate a comprehensive program that advances the College of Science’s efforts to recruit, retain, and invest in students from populations who have been historically marginalized, under-served, and under-represented in science.

Goals & Objectives

  • to increase the diversity of undergraduate students who apply to, enroll, and graduate from the College of Science;
  • to recruit and prepare a diverse population of undergraduate students for graduate degree programs and for scientific careers,
  • to increase the awareness of the scientific disciplines, and possible career paths, to a diverse population of students;
  • to provide academic support and community building activities.

Initiatives

Undergraduate Students

Student Workshops

The Inclusion and Diversity team hosts biweekly workshops on Tuesdays at 5 pm in Derring 3083 to discuss topics that interest students. Have a topic you want to discuss? Submit your ideas here (add in hyperlink).

Living-Learning Program Relationships

At Virginia Tech, we have multiple identity based Living Learning Programs and one science based Living Learning Program (LLP). We are bridging the gap between science and identity by working with both types of LLP. By engaging the science LLP in identity and diversity discussions and engaging our identity based LLPs in scientific support conversations, we will make our scientific field more open to inclusion and diversity.

Cultural and Community Center Nights

We want to create spaces for underrepresented and underserved students in the College of Science to connect with each other. In collaboration with the Cultural and Community Centers, we will be having twice a semester mixers for students to meet and learn about each other. Dinner is included!

Town Halls

To better understand the campus environment for undergraduate students, we will host one town hall a semester. Our town halls are open to all undergraduate students to voice their opinions about the College of Science, our work on Inclusion and Diversity, and other feedback students may have.

Pilot Peer Mentoring Program

We are developing a peer mentoring program for Spring 2022, where first year College of Science students will be matched with upperclassmen students. Interested in being a mentor? A mentee? Sign up here to get more information when we have it (hyperlink).

SOAR

The Student Opportunity & Achievement Resources (SOAR) Program provides holistic support to underrepresented minority students through one on one coaching and collaboration with academic units. We are supporting SOAR in their goal of reaching each and every underrepresented minority student in the College of Science.

 

Graduate Students

Dean's Graduate Award for Excellence

The College of Science has invested $40,000 a year in our Dean's Graduate Awards for Excellence (DGAE). These awards will provide up to $4,000 during a student’s first 3 years of graduate study to support student research for diverse graduate students being offered graduate admission. Funds may be used to cover expenses such as conference travel, summer stipend, equipment, books, etc. This initiative seeks to enhance the success of students from these populations, thereby bolstering diversity from underrepresented or underserved groups within a specific field or discipline, and with a focus on drawing students from within the United States. Since this program was launched in 2018, we have made 49 offers with 21 acceptances.

 

Faculty Engagement

Inclusion and Diversity Fellowship

This is a yearly fellowship program designed to support faculty or staff in the College of Science who are interested in assisting the COS Director of Inclusion and Diversity in planning, implementing, coordinating, and assessing the College's efforts in advancing inclusivity for, and diversity of, all the stakeholders in the College: students, faculty, and staff. These fellows propose goals/programs/plans they would like to initiate in the coming year. Such proposals might include support for current faculty, programs for undergraduates, and/or outreach. Each fellowship comes with a $4,000 stipend and access to a budget to support the enactment of programs and initiatives.

Applications are accepted by Sept 30, with awards granted on the calendar year.

Recent awardees

As an inaugural fellow, Alma Robinson, a Teacher in Residence in the physics department, is developing curricula that College of Science First-Year Experience faculty could easily implement in their classrooms to talk about race, gender, and LGBTQ+ representation issues with their students.

Dr. Meryl Mims, an assistant professor of biological sciences and the other inaugural fellow, is spending her fellowship expanding a workshop program she designed to support students applying for the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). This expansion will feature a special focus and emphasis on mentoring and supporting students from traditionally underrepresented and underserved populations.

Programs

Funding Opportunities for Current Students and Faculty 

The College of Science, as administered by the College’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee and Director for Inclusion and Diversity, supports a wide range of events and programs. These funds are geared towards supporting under-represented and underserved scholars and diversity, equity, and inclusion focused efforts and research. Such funding opportunities may include:

  • Hosting a Speaker
  • Events and Programs
  • Undergraduate and Graduate Student Research Projects
  • Outreach Initiatives
  • Travel Support for Conferences

We ask that, for any funding from the COS Inclusion and Diversity Committee, you also seek matching funds. This could come from your home department or any of the funding opportunities found across the university, including:

We will be accepting proposals for funding three times per year: at the beginning of fall and spring semesters, and at the end of April. We expect that the majority of proposals received at the end of April will be for summer research opportunities and outreach events.

Requests can be made by email to Dr. Estrella Johnson, Assistant Dean for Inclusion and Diversity, at strej@vt.edu.