Diversity is an element of academic excellence!
Novel insights, transformative ideas, and biological innovation all come from the interplay of individuals from varied disciplines and with differing perspectives. In the Department of Biological Sciences we are committed to attracting, mentoring and promoting a diverse community of scholars in an environment conducive to excellence for students, postdocs and faculty from all backgrounds (race, religion, culture, national/geographic origin, physical ability, age, sexual orientation, and others).
Mentoring: a path to diversity
We strive to achieve diversity in all missions of the Department and across all stages of a biologist’s career using an integrated model of research, teaching, and outreach. Weaving mentoring into all facets of our Department promotes diversity, which we believe is critical to the vitality of our scientific community. The Department has built and is continuing to build intellectual and social mentoring networks aimed at nurturing community members across all academic levels so that they can achieve their highest potential. Our research labs are rich with scientific discovery and also a place where each individual is an essential part of the mentoring community. Our classrooms are filled with opportunity, and we encourage our graduate students, undergraduate students, and postdocs to participate in our educational mission.
You can even join our regionally renowned team of K-12 outreach educators to go into secondary schools across western PA and convey the excitement of biological research to young students, bring high school students into your own research (www.s2c.opdc.org), or provide high school tutoring to students from Pittsburgh City Schools (www.s2c.opdc.org). It is our goal to inspire and enable you to find and build the mentoring connections best for you!
We strive to build links to the larger Pitt community through our involvement with the numerous organizations outside of the Department of Biological Sciences such as:
- Students of Color Dinner Series
- POMS (Pre-Med Organization for Minority Students)
- RISE (Reach Inside your Soul for Excellence)
- UPPDA (University of Pittsburgh Postdoctoral Association)
- PACWC (Provost's Advisory Committee on Women's Concerns)
The Department has established a Task Force on Diversity to promote our mission. Members of the Task Force represent all branches of the Department, including our secondary school outreach program, faculty and advisors specializing in undergraduate programs, and faculty focusing on graduate student admissions, education and research. Feel free to contact any of the Task Force Members with questions concerning diversity in the Department of Biological Sciences.
Task Force Goals are to develop and support diversity in Biological Sciences through:
- Fostering, enhancing and celebrating a vibrant community of scholars within the Department from different backgrounds.
- Supporting and promoting a diverse population of next generation scientists via integration and feedback of mentoring across career developmental stages.
- Developing novel initiatives to attract, retain and promote a greater participation in Biological Sciences.
- Serving as a point of reference and sounding board for diversity-related issues within Biological Sciences.
- Assisting in professional development via mentoring in career building skills and networking opportunities.
- Providing an interactive bridge for minority students to transition from high school to college to graduate school.
Diversity Task Force Members:
- Dr. Jeffrey Lawrence, Task force chair & Associate Department Chair
- Dr. Andy VanDemark, Graduate Admissions member
- Dr. Jeff Hildebrand
- Dr. Andrea Berman
- Dr. Mark Rebeiz
- Dr. Nancy Kaufmann, Undergraduate research
- Dr. Alison Slinskey Legg, Director of Outreach Programs
- Ms. Jamie Warren, Academic Advisor
- Ms. Lisa Limeri, Graduate Student
Support and research opportunities
Educational and research opportunities for students and postdoctoral scholars from groups traditionally underrepresented in biology are available, and supplemental to those opportunities broadly available to members of the department. Several exceptional opportunities are highlighted below.
- Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences Summer and Fall Research Awards
- Summer and academic year research fellowship and lab-matching programs
- Mentor/Mentee Summer Research Program nucleates and fosters mentoring relationships and train students as mentors.
- EXROP Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s own summer research fellowship program aimed at increasing diversity in the biomedical sciences.
- First Experiences in Research Program to work with labs in the department.
- Virus Discovery
- American Chemical Society Scholars Award
- ASM's Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship
- Career Discovery Internship Program (CDIP) – U.S. Fish & Wildlife Svc.
Post-Baccalaureate Programs to transition to Graduate Programs
- Hot Metal Bridge for students from diverse backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in their program area.
- K. Leroy Irvis Fellowship Program
- Provost’s Development Fund
- NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards to promote diversity in health-related research
- UNCF/MERCK Science Initiative for African American graduate students in biomedically relevant life sciences programs.
- The National GEM Consortium, PHD Science Fellowship for minority students in the natural sciences
- AAUW Fellowships and Grants to advance educational and professional opportunities for women
- SDE/GWIS National Fellowships Program to encourage research careers in the sciences by women