Stanford University has a stated goal of training a diverse group of students, including underrepresented minorities (URM), those with disabilities, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Dr. John Etchemendy, Stanford’s 12th Provost, has stated, “Stanford has a responsibility to create and encourage diversity in higher education because of our national prominence and leadership in teaching, research, public service and entrepreneurship. Stanford must reflect the multi-racial, multi-ethnic society and pluralistic democracy that serves as a foundation to the university, otherwise we could not call ourselves a world class university.” Dr. Jim Plummer, the Dean of the School of Engineering, has stated, “The Engineering Diversity Program (EDP) mission is to achieve educational diversity, equity, and excellence for all students by recruiting, retaining, and graduating diverse students, especially women, African American, Mexican American/Latino, American Indian students, as well as others who add diversity to the school.” Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity is a member of our advisory board, and is advising the SCIT Program in its efforts to maximize the ethnic, economic, and gender diversity of our trainees.
A particular highlight for the SCIT Program is the support from the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, led by Dr. Sofie Kleppner. As part of her efforts to expand diversity applicants and trainees in School of Medicine programs, she has worked with program leaders to assist them in their recruitment efforts. Along with maintaining a presence at conferences including ABRCMS and SACNAS, new programs to support the diverse postdoc population at Stanford are underway this year. Working closely with El Centro Chicano, the Black Community Services Center, the Native American Cultural Center, and oSTEM, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is supporting these and other representatives from URM groups through developing community and providing funding to travel to conferences addressing URM-specific issues. OPA now sponsors regular lunch meetings to encourage mentoring between postdocs and grad students and provide a forum to develop community with trainees. In addition, faculty and outside speakers are regularly included to offer perspective and support for postdocs and grad students. All trainees, including URMs, will find significant resources at the following website: http://postdocs.stanford.edu/. There are also a number of groups on campus that serve several specific URM populations, including the Stanford American Indian Organization, the Society of Black Scientists and Engineers, the Stanford Society of Chicano/Latino Engineers and Scientists, and the Society of Women Engineers.