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. Haghani) and Student Executive Committee as well as with the Chairs of Admissions (Dr. Chu) and Recruitment (Dr. Tassone) Committees.  Current members of the DEI Committee are:

Faculty/Staff Members:
Danika Bannasch, Titus Brown, Sean Burgess, Cecilia Giulivi (Chair), 
Ian Korf, Najwa Marrush and David Segal

Student Members:
Tamara Christiani, Viktoria Haghani, Ethan Holleman, Aarthi Sekar, Noemie Sierra, JJ Waldo, 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.

Viki Haghani- I am a third-year graduate student working with Dr. Janine LaSalle and Dr. Ian Korf. I am interested broadly in neurodevelopmental genetics and bioinformatics. My research focuses on understanding the genetic mechanisms underlying Rett Syndrome. I am also the chair of the student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for IGG. I am interested in increasing diverse student populations within IGG by increasing applications from underrepresented minority groups, supporting the current student population by taking a yearly assessment of the IGG climate, and working towards improved DEI-focused education within IGG curriculum. Please feel free to reach out to me at vhaghani@ucdavis.edu if you have any questions, comments, or would like to be involved!

Logan Williams- I'm a third-year graduate student in Dr. Janine LaSalle's lab, where I study the impact of prenatal environmental exposures on fetal neurodevelopment. 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. lwilli@ucdavis.edu