Important message to our community:
Yes to tolerance, no to discrimination

Charter for the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Committee

Neurosciences (Interdepartmental) PhD Program

Efforts to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) constitute major societal goals. DEIB facilitates greater performance and innovation, and addressing DEIB deficiencies head on is central to the university’s goal of well-rounded education and community. STEM fields have struggled with DEIB at all levels, and DEIB has actually decreased in some areas in recent decades (Lewis A. Wheaton 2021) Our role as a Neurosciences Ph.D. program in positively impacting society is not confined to scientific and technical teaching and research, and must include a persistent pursuit of advancing DEIB in a meaningful and lasting manner.

As the DEIB Committee for the Neurosciences program, our goal is to develop, support and implement efforts and initiatives that cause sustained improvements in DEIB within our Neurosciences Program. This includes:

  1. Student recruitment and retention

  2. Facilitating student and faculty seminars 

  3. Professional events (e.g., PhD Symposiums)

  4. Social events to build community (e.g., community dinners, coffee hours)

  5. Connecting students with resources through workshops and hardship funds

Here are examples of recent activities and initiatives by the Neuro IDP DEIB Committee:

  • Coffee hours
  • Community dinners
  • Workshops
  • PhD symposiums

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         We aim to support the Stanford Neuroscience IDP graduate students. Achieving these goals will require in-depth discussions with the Committee, Program, Department and Institute chairs, and directors in order to balance various tradeoffs. We work collaboratively with the mental health and outreach committee to achieve these goals.

Finally, we aspire to abide by two lasting principles: 

  1. HHMI President Erin O’Shea, “One must resist the urge to be reactionary, because our success in DEIB will be all about a deliberate and intentional approach.” 

  2. We must challenge the mentality, “Does this person have what it takes to be successful in our program?” and instead ask, upon recruitment, “Does our program have what it takes for this person to be successful?”

Identifying and prioritizing opportunities for improvement is a central focus of the DEIB Committee and its regular meetings. We will further educate ourselves by collecting and assessing information about the needs and struggles of neuroscience PhD students at Stanford. This will allow us to target our advocacy to identified gaps in student support.

Affecting meaningful and lasting change will require prioritized opportunities to be discussed in a comprehensive way between, typically, a Committee sub-group (e.g., Co-Chair(s), Co-Chair(s) and a few Members) with the Chair of the relevant area. We strive to coordinate our efforts with other committees of the Neurosciences program, as well as the broader University. 

DEIB Committee membership is discussed and voted on by the current members of the committee before any new members join. The current committee members include:

  • 4 faculty: Will Giardino (Chair), Paul George, Longzhi Tan, Andrea Goldstein-Piekarski

    3 postdocs: Lindsay Cameron, Matt Pomrenze, Peter Wang

    5 students:

    1st year: Nour Omar

    2nd years: Karen Malacon, Blake Zhou

    3rd year: Paula Muñoz

    4th years: URee Chon

    1 administrative staff: Korshid Tarin

    We explicitly seek a diverse membership.