We are committed to working towards equal access and representation in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) among all people regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin and disability. Centuries of structural and systemic racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination have led to the present situation in which certain racial and ethnic groups and gender identities are significantly underrepresented in STEM. We pledge to take proactive steps towards closing these representation gaps, and to building a more inclusive society.Activities that we are currently engaged in, and for which we are seeking partners and collaborators, are listed below. We are open to learning more about how we can support diversity, equity and inclusion in our field.
STEM capacity building in disease-endemic countries
As the interests of our research group concern the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases, our study sites are largely based in low-to-middle income countries where these diseases are most prevalent. Over 90% of the malaria burden, for instance, affects sub-Saharan Africa, and arboviruses such as dengue and Zika viruses tend to be concentrated in tropical, low-to-medium income countries. For technical fields like infectious disease modeling, however, the majority of researchers tend to be based in Western countries, especially in the US and UK. This highlights an urgent need to work towards building capacity in mathematical modeling in disease-endemic countries.
To contribute to this goal, we have partnered with an initiative led by Dr. Samson Kiware of the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) in Tanzania, and we need your help in realizing this. Dr. Kiware's initiative is to train a new generation of mathematical modelers, statisticians and data scientists throughout Africa, beginning with Tanzania, to address the pressing public health needs of the continent. As part of this, we are planning an exchange program between the IHI and UC Berkeley, and we need graduate students who are willing to mentor IHI students here, as well as graduate students who are willing to spend extended periods of time in Tanzania, contributing to capacity building efforts while working on research projects there.
We are currently offering undergraduate research fellowships through the Biology Scholars Program (BSP) and Data Scholars Program (DSP) at UC Berkeley, with one or two fellowships to be offered each semester, beginning Fall 2020. The BSP and DSP are undergraduate programs at UC Berkeley that promote the success of students from racial, ethnic, gender and economic groups that have historically been underrepresented in the biological and data sciences. We are seeking applications from BSP and DSP students for our fellowship opportunities listed here, and are seeking graduate students and postdocs willing to advise and mentor successful undergraduate research fellows.
Outreach to San Francisco Bay Area high schools
We are available to provide interactive guest classes at high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area that predominantly serve groups underrepresented in higher education. We believe that, for high school students, having direct experience with university students and faculty members makes attending higher education seem like a more achievable and realizable goal. When combined with mentoring regarding the academic requirements to enter college and to acquire financial aid, this can do wonders for goal setting and motivation at a critical point in a student’s education.
If you work at, or know of, a Bay Area high school that would be interested in an interactive guest class from our group, whether in biology, mathematics or computer science, please contact John Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can also facilitate a partnership with the DREAM Office at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health (SPH). The DREAM Office provides a variety of services including mentoring, workshops, advising, opportunities through their newsletter, and assistance with graduate school applications, and has contributed to the proportion of under-represented minority students at the SPH growing significantly over the past decade. To contact the DREAM Office directly, please email email@example.com.