Certificate in Critical Consciousness and Anti-Oppressive Praxis


Contact Information

The CCC&AOP program is now lead by the Office of Inclusion, Community and Integrative Learning (ICIL) in Student Affairs and the website will be migrated in the late Fall. New info will be updated here in the meantime. For questions, please contact the new program director: Ankita Rakhe, Assistant Dean for Student Support, at arakhe@stanford.edu. 

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, equity, and inclusion, 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 aware 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, equity, and inclusion.

The CCC&AOP program has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 President’s Awards for Excellence Through Diversity!

Through the work of the core team members, the CCC&AOP curriculum has expanded to multiple areas and constituencies across Stanford School of Medicine, including but not limited to, the HRG and HR Cluster department, to the Directors of Finance and Administration and Central Business Unit leaders, faculty and department sessions by request, and trainee groups by request. If you are interested to learn more, please reach out to the core team listed below.

Check out the CCC&AOP instagram account here.

Interested in having a CCC&AOP program in your insitution, school, department, etc.? Contact Shaila Kotadia at skotadia@stanford.edu and Brenda Flores at bendaflo@stanford.edu for a program manual and consultation.

Interested in the outcomes of the program? Access 2019-20 participant Eamon Byrne's portfolio.

Interested in writing a strong equity statement for faculty and job positions? One outcome of the program is writing a statement using the CCC&AOP Equity Statement Guide.


The application for the 2021-2 academic year will be coming in the mid-Fall quarter. A cohort of ~12 individuals will be selected. Applicants will be notified when selections are made. All decisions are final.

Funding Sources

Office of Faculty Development and Diversity

Office of Graduate Education

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Stanford Humanities & Sciences

Stanford School of Engineering

Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Funds, Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education

Critical Consciousness and Anti-Oppressive Praxis Program Core Administrative Team

Eamon Byrne

Eamon is a postdoctoral research fellow working with Professor Karl Deisseroth in the Bioengineering Department. His research focuses on understanding the molecular structures of proteins that are able to activate or silence the activity of neurons in response to light. These protein tools are used to study the activity of neuronal circuits, which underpin all functions of the brain. His previous research used a technique called x-ray crystallography to determine the molecular structure of a membrane protein that is involved in cell-to-cell signalling and is essential for tissue patterning in the developing embryo and is also implicated in cancer. 

Before leaving Australia to pursue his PhD at the University of Oxford, Eamon was part of the leadership team who set up Teachabout (now "Titjimbat Gija"), a not-for-profit organisation that facilitates educational school holiday programs for kids in remote communities. The populations of these communities consist almost entirely of Indigenous Australians. The Titjimbat Gija program is highly collaborative and consultative and seeks to build capacity by engaging closely with local community members.

In his spare time, Eamon enjoys bouldering, baking bread, reading/watching sci-fi and playing the double bass.

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.


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.

Testimonials from Program Participants

“I am very thankful for the opportunity to dig deeper into my own critical consciousness through this program. There is nothing else explicitly like this at Stanford, and it is sorely needed. I greatly appreciate the thoughtfulness and intentionality around the meetings, the curriculum and the group formation. It is amazing to have a safe space to interrogate our own beliefs and biases as well as learn from others who are further ahead in the process of eliminating racist and oppressive ideologies. As a woman of color, I find the space to be refreshing and sustaining in helping me to understand how I can uncover my own biases and oppressive beliefs as well as adding it to my toolkit for being able to speak to others in ways that are encouraging without being condemning.” 

-Stephanie Robillard, PhD Candidate, Education


“Participating in the CCC has been extremely beneficial for my personal growth. I feel more informed on everything from my personal identity to positionality to systematic oppression to effective communication to available resources at Stanford and in literature. I'm far more self-aware, and now know frameworks and mindsets that I will take with me far beyond the reaches of CCC. I also got to know and love the members of my cohort and leadership. It is inspiring and eye opening to see the perspective, struggles, and life through the lens of each and every one of my peers.”

-Margaret Daly, PhD Candidate, Environmental Fluid Mechanics


“The CCC & AOP program provided me with communication strategies to discuss historical and contemporary oppressive infrastructures. Through course dialogue, I had the opportunity to form personal connections with people from diverse academic backgrounds. My experience has encouraged me to pursue more interdisciplinary collaborations in my research.”

-Sparkle Springfield, Postdoctoral Scholar, Stanford Prevention Research Center


“This certificate feels like it has given a direction and context to my education that were previously absent in the proverbial ivory tower of Stanford. While I learned many skills necessary for leadership before this program, only now am I acquiring the sufficient social context to affect just and sustained change.”

-Stephen Galdi, PhD Candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering


“The CCC&AOP program is the first time in my training in which the emphasis shifted from just enumerating the myriad of issues facing our society towards a targeted, sustainable set of actions. With amazing facilitation and a supportive cohort at my side, I have been empowered to grapple with topics that I previously felt loomed too large and unassailable. As I venture out into the world, there are constant opportunities to deploy the cycle of action and reflection (praxis) to dismantle the oppression so pervasive in our world.”

-Avery Krieger, PhD Candidate, Neuroscience