The Genomics training program believes that creative science is best done by bringing together diverse researchers who combine multiple backgrounds, perspectives, and approaches. We believe that a student body that is both highly qualified and diverse—in gender, race, ethnicity, culture and beliefs, socioeconomic background, physical ability, sexual orientation, and work-life interests—is key to achieving a greater level of innovation in education and research. We are particularly committed to training students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in science, and preparing our trainees to be leaders and role models in a variety of research, teaching, biotechnology, and science policy careers.

Our faculty and students participate in multiple activities designed to improve graduate diversity and training.  For example:

  • We visit multiple institutions and conferences throughout the year to recruit students from diverse backgrounds
  • We host undergraduate students for summer research projects in the Stanford Summer Research Program/Amgen Scholars program. Many of the participants in this fully funded summer program later apply for graduate study at Stanford.
  • We encourage students to enroll in 8 week summer ADVANCE graduate school preparation program for newly admitted Ph.D. students
  • We train all students in scientific hypothesis formulation, experimental design, presentation, and grant and fellowship preparation (Grant Writing Academy).
  • We encourage our trainees to participate in multiple Stanford community-building organizations for underrepresented students. 

We encourage our graduate students to teach science and to mentor area high school students in the SPLASH, Science from Scientists, Future Advancers in Science and Technology and High School to PhD Event programs.

  • We run the "Stanford at the Tech" program to create hands-on genetics exhibits for public science education and inspiration at the San Jose Tech Museum. 
  • We offer tips and practical suggestions for preparing an effective application for graduate school.  
  • Applications to our program are available at reduced cost for students with financial need.
  • We welcome students to join the Genetics Advocacy Team and the Genetics Advocacy Slack workspace.
  • We require for graduation 60 hours of community service. 
  • We host speakers and seminars for the department featuring local and national speakers. Topics have included or will include antiracism in the department, research and medicine, and STEM education, Indigenous sovereignty in genetics research, improving the admissions pipeline, outreach across ages, and biomedical ethics.
  • A key component is access to mentorship outside the lab. We are involved in mentorship initiatives across the biosciences: SoLID, Someone Like Me, and SBSA Peer Mentors, and others


List of active projects and contact information of the Genetics Advocacy Committee

Updated by Rahul Nagvekar and Meena Chakraborty, April 7, 2023

Want to get involved?

To generally get involved, join our Slack workspace, and email geneticsadvocacy_leads@lists.stanford.edu for access to the shared Google Drive. 

To sign up for specific projects, email the project lead(s) or join and message on the relevant Slack channels.

List of all projects

  1. Training Camp

  2. Wellness

  3. STEM Undergrad Outreach

  4. Department Conversations

  5. Ethics

  6. Admissions

Training Camp

The department's training camp is a week-long program for incoming PhD students to introduce fundamental skills for their success in the program. This project evaluates and implements new topics for the training camp curriculum. In recent years, these topics have included discussions about the societal impact of genetic research, self-advocacy training, and information about student support resources.

Lead: Jon Judd (student), jjudd5@stanford.edu

Slack: #proj_training_camp


Broadly, this project aims to support the wellbeing of all students. The project aims to track the trajectories of students beginning at interviews, through graduation, to identify the shortcomings of existing diversity, advocacy, mentorship, and training initiatives. The project also co-organizes (with Dawn Billman, the department Events Coordinator) department social events such as hikes and coffees. 

Leads: Abby Bergman (student), ajberg5@stanford.edu; Sedona Murphy (student), sedonaem@stanford.edu

Slack: #proj_retention_wellness

STEM Undergrad Outreach

This project holds Zoom info sessions and Q&As with mostly undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds to discuss topics including graduate school life, post-PhD careers, how to get involved in research, and the PhD application process.

Lead: Usman Enam (student), uenam@stanford.edu

Slack: #proj_stem_undergrad_outreach

Department Conversations

This project seeks to foster ongoing conversations in the department by inviting speakers to address various topics, including justice and inequality, at our Current Issues in Genetics seminars on a regular basis.

Lead: Matt Gill (student), mogill@stanford.edu; Naiomi Hunter (student), nhen@stanford.edu

Slack: #proj_dept_conversation


This project ensures ongoing education of trainees, faculty, and staff on ethical issues within the field of genetics. The project focuses on the ethics of (1) the conduct of genetic research involving vulnerable and underrepresented populations, both past and present; and (2) the contemporary use of personal genetic data in healthcare and the consumer sphere. This project provides education on these issues in classroom, seminar, and discussion settings.

Leads: Roshni Patel (student), rpatel7@stanford.edu; Rachel Ungar (student), raungar@stanford.edu

Slack: #proj_ethics


This project seeks to Identify areas for improved equity in the department’s PhD admissions process with respect to applications, application review, recruitment/interview weekend, and direct communication and support for applicants.

Team members

Lead: Katie Hanson (student), kjhanson@stanford.edu

Slack: #proj_phd_admissions_process

Completed projects

Funding for advocacy efforts

Secure dedicated sources for funding TGAC projects.

Service requirement

Enact a 60 hour service requirement for Genetics PhD program.

International student crisis

Foster support and develop tools within the department, campus, and country to promote the experiences and mental health of international students.

Resource curation

Curate resources and project information that can be shared on an outward-facing portal to benefit advocacy efforts in other departments and institutions. This includes updating the department website to include anti-racism efforts and content. Coordinate internal organization of advocacy efforts.