Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee was initiated by the IGG Program Chairs (Drs. S. Burgess and D. J. Segal). Currently it is chaired by Dr. Cecilia Giulivi who works in collaboration with Student Chairs in the DEI Committee (Ms. Sierra) and Student Executive Committee (Ms. Sekar) as well as with the Chairs of Admissions (Dr. Chu) and Recruitment (Dr. Barlow) Committees.  Current members of the DEI Committee are (in alphabetical order) Tamara Christiani, Elle Osborn, Victor Rivas, Diana Sernas, and Logan Williams.

Vision Statement

Making the commitment to embrace DEI is the first important step in bringing about the changes what we, as a group, would like to see in our IGG Graduate Program. We are cognizant that improving and addressing DEI issues can be complex, and sometimes difficult to talk about. Our major objective is to develop and nurture a graduate Program where all students can reach their maximum potential. Through our work, we hope to empower all IGG members to remove barriers based on sex/gender preference, social injustice, inequality, and racial trauma. This effort marks our strategic framework as a driving force in our enduring commitment to truly embody a forward-looking Program where all (faculty, students, and staff) can belong, contribute, and thrive. We are committed to engaging all our students and faculty to promote equality and inclusion for all.

Our goals and plans are ambitious, and there is a significant amount of work that needs to be done to complete the actions items within our plan. To this end, we welcome all of you at IGG to join the DEI Committee (students and faculty) and/or attend our monthly meetings (every first Monday of the month at 8 am). See below for contact information.

Mission Action Statement

As a DEI Committee, we recognize the significant gap in the education of underrepresented groups, more so in those historically marginalized. In this spirit, we are eager to support and enrich our students, professors, and staff in the following capacities:

  • Provide education and training in DEI issues including resources for underrepresented students’ educational plans and professional development
  • Advance student diversity and retention into our IGG program through improved mentorship opportunities
  • Develop a strategy to sustain DEI efforts within IGG

Updates on DEI

To assess the diversity, equality, and inclusion climate in IGG, we conducted a survey to collect concrete evidence from faculty to keep discussions focused on important DEI issues and plan action items to move forward. The main outcomes of the survey were the following:

  • Evaluate the extent to which faculty experience our Program as a safe, caring, welcoming, and respectful place that is fair to all.
  • Collect information about IGG’s practices that integrate DEI into classroom activities as well as co-curricular offerings.
  • Initiate dialogues about the current DEI practices at IGG.
  • Assess baseline strengths, identify areas for improvement, and track progress related to DEI efforts in IGG.

See the results.

Meet the DEI Committee

Dr. Giulivi, the DEI Chair, is a first-gen, Professor in Biochemistry within the Department of Molecular Biosciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine and a member of the M.I.N.D. Institute. Her research interests are focused on bioenergetics and neurological diseases. Her teaching is on biochemistry at the professional level. She has actively participated as a mentor and co-Director of the MacNair Program, Young Scholar Program mentor, Dinner with a Scientist events, and as research advisor of historically marginalized students including those from underrepresented groups in STEM. This year, it will be her 10th time teaching freshman seminars in DEI and gender gap issues in STEM.

Direct inquiries to Dr. C. Giulivi at cgiulivi@ucdavis.edu

Please meet the wonderful students who are also DEIC members. They will be happy to collect your ideas, any concerns or issues and present them on your behalf at our monthly meetings.

Logan Williams- I'm a first-year graduate student currently completing my lab rotations, with broad interests in developing genetic diagnostics and therapeutics for neurological disorders. If you have questions, concerns, or ideas as to how the IGG group can foster a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community both within our graduate group and within the biological sciences broadly, I would be thrilled to hear your input. In particular, feel free to contact me to discuss issues of LGBTQIA+ inclusion, historical and contemporary exclusion of minority groups in the biomedical sciences, and exclusion or stigma on the basis of religious affiliation. lawilliams2016@gmail.com

Ellen Osborn- I am a third year MS student in Dr. P. J. Hagerman’s laboratory working on a PacBio sequencing project of the Fragile X gene. As my interests lie with human genetics, I believe it is absolutely necessary for students from diverse racial and ethnic groups to succeed in order for the field itself to be successful. Feel free to contact me on issues related to student support and engagement. emosborn@ucdavis.edu

Victor Rivas- I am a second year PhD student in Dr. Joshua Stern’s veterinary genetics and pharmacogenomics laboratory. My research entails a multi-omics approach to identify putative variants associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in rhesus macaques. I serve as a graduate student DEI committee member with a purpose of enabling an equal chance to all students from historically underrepresented minorities and marginalized backgrounds to engage in research and further diversify the field of science; all in attempts to terminate institutional discrimination. I can be contacted for questions in regards to LGBTQIA+*, hostilities and discrimination, UMR oppositions, systemic inequalities, and/or visibility of other marginalized groups in STEM. vnrivasgutierrez@ucdavis.edu