Certificate in Critical Consciousness and Anti-Oppressive Praxis


Develop an equitable future in research and society through education and subsequent continual practice

We are offering a Certificate in Critical Consciousness and Anti-Oppressive Praxis (CCC&AOP) to graduate students and postdocs, specifically targeted to those individuals in STEM.

In solidarity with Stanford University’s mission value of diversity and in recognition of the complexity in creating a just future, we offer a Certificate in Critical Consciousness and Anti-Oppressive Praxis. The goal of this certificate is to educate and prepare trainees with the tools necessary to navigate a dynamic future from a position of knowledge, empathy, and justice. We have generated a self-tailored curriculum to provide training in three main pedagogical areas:

1. Critical understanding of identity and positionality
2. Exploration of the current and historical oppressive infrastructures (external and internal) that have arrested progress towards a just future
3. Development of a culturally competent praxis to substantiate transformative and inclusive change.

This certificate program is a distinct departure from currently available certificates in diversity and inclusion. While many such programs simply describe the benefits of a diverse work environment, our framework requires that trainees immerse themselves in intergroup practica (to foster empathy and forge solidarity) and that they establish a praxis to support diversity and inclusion.


The application is now closed.

  • This is a pilot year that has accepted 12 people for the initial cohort.
  • Applicants were notified in early May about admission into the program. All decisions are final.

Funding Sources

Office of Faculty Development and Diversity (OFDD)

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA)

Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Funds (DIF Funds)

Critical Consciousness and Anti-Oppressive Praxis Program Founders

Brenda Flores

Research & Program Officer in the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity (OFDD)

Brenda Flores is a Research and Program Officer in Stanford Medicine’s Office of Faculty Development and Diversity. In this role, she performs research on diversity issues in medicine, including development of a rank equity index for assessing faculty advancement in academic medical centers and an analysis of a schoolwide satisfaction and engagement survey of over 2,000 faculty. Additionally, she implements programs related to diversity, inclusion, and faculty professional development. For example, Brenda developed a leadership series for early career faculty encompassing self-advocacy, leading teams, and building inclusive organizations. Brenda obtained her BA in Psychology and a minor in Chinese from Stanford University. She plans to attend graduate school in the future.


Jesse Isaacman-Beck

Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow in Neurobiology

Jesse received his B.S. in Chemistry from Haverford College in 2004. After a brief stint teaching Chemistry with Peace Corps Tanzania, he worked with Dr. Ronald Collman at the University of Pennsylvania to define the cell and molecular mechanisms underlying HIV transmission and associated pathogenesis in the brain. In graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, he changed focus to work with Dr. Michael Granato to determine the genetic pathways that guide nerves as they regenerate. In the Clandinin lab, Jesse has developed precision genetic tools to define the molecular mechanisms that stabilize neural circuit function. Jesse loves to teach and mentor, and he is an activist. In graduate school, he chaired GLIA, a student body government aimed at building professional development opportunities and outreach activities for graduate students to pass on their passion to the next generation of scientists. At Stanford, Jesse chaired the Stanford Postdoc Association and advocated for policy changes that ultimately led to a significant increase in minimum salary for all Stanford postdocs. Throughout his career, Jesse has fought for equity and inclusive practices in academic science, and he cofounded this certificate program to build a praxis of anti-oppressive action and reflection to guide him and other future leaders in this goal.

Taylor E Jones IV

Graduate Student in Chemistry

Taylor Jones is a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry, where he performs research with Dr. Bianxiao Cui using optogenetic tools to study mechanotransduction at the cell membrane. In 2014, he attended the Virginia Commonwealth University where he worked in the lab of Dr. Rima Franklin researching astrobiology and the microbial habitability of extraterrestrial environments. In 2016, Taylor worked as an Amgen Scholar at Stanford with Dr. John Pringle studying the genetic regulation of the actin cytoskeleton of green algae. Taylor received his BS in Chemistry with minors in biology and mathematics from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2017.

Deb Karhson

Research Scientist in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Child Development

Debra (Deb) Karhson, PhD is a Basic Life Science Research Scientist in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department - Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Child Development. As a member of the Autism and Developmental Disorders Research Program, Dr. Karhson work includes performing electrophysiological assessments and molecular investigations of endocannabinoid signaling in children with autism spectrum disorder. As a culmination of her experiences throughout training as a scientist, Dr. Karhson, in parallel to her postdoctoral training at Stanford University, deeply engaged in university-efforts to achieve equitable change (i.e., Long-Range Planning, 2017-2018 co-president of the Stanford Black Postdoctoral Association). Through her engagement Dr. Karhson seeks to provide better clarity on the complex experience as a marginalized trainee in STEM fields and provide greater infrastructure for dynamic change to take place with in academic institutions. Through development of this certificate Dr. Karhson hopes to provide the necessary tools for her peers and colleagues at all levels in academia to critically engage in the task of creating an equitable and just future. Dr. Karhson received her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia followed by a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Karhson completed her postdoctoral training at Stanford University in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Shaila Kotadia

Stanford School of Medicine Director of Culture and Inclusion in the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity (OFDD)

Shaila Kotadia, Ph.D., is the Director of Culture and Inclusion for the School of Medicine where she focuses on the integration of diversity and inclusion activities across all constituencies from students through faculty and implements school-wide diversity and inclusion strategy and planning. Prior to starting at Stanford, Dr. Kotadia led the STEM Equity & Inclusion Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley where she conducted an institutional assessment of STEM diversity programs and advanced partnerships in equity, inclusion, and diversity to ensure student and research success in STEM academic units. Dr. Kotadia received her undergraduate degree in Cell and Structural Biology with minors in Geography and Chemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign followed by a Ph.D. in Genetics and Development from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Her postdoctoral work at the University of California, Santa Cruz focused on cell division and chromosome segregation.

Contact Information

Shaila Kotadia

Stanford School of Medicine
Director of Culture and Inclusion
Office of Faculty Development and Diversity

Brenda Flores

Stanford School of Medicine
Research and Program Officer
Office of Faculty Development and Diversity