Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity is Our Strength

Meinig School Community Values

At the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering, we believe that including diverse identities, backgrounds and perspectives in our school enables the best solutions to challenges for human health. Biomedical engineering education and research are most innovative when all our community members, including those who are marginalized in our society, can thrive as their authentic selves. We acknowledge that we exist in a world that struggles with inequality, and, in the spirit of Cornell’s ideal of “any person, any study,” we commit to championing diversity, equity and inclusion to improve the health of all.

We welcome your suggestions and feedback on DEI in our community. Please submit through the feedback to the director form on our contact page.

As part of our commitment, the Meinig School's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is coordinating the following events and initiatives in the coming weeks:

Upcoming Events

Spring 2023 Diversity Dinner with Dr. Shivaun Archer

The Cornell BME DEI Committee hosts Dr. Shivaun Archer as our next speaker in the diversity dinner series! Dr. Archer will discuss her journey in academia, with a specific focus on efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion. T

When: Wednesday, April 19, 2023 at 6:00PM in Weill 125.

Open to: BME students, postdocs, faculty, and staff. Dinner will be served.

Dinner will be provided to all attendees. Attendance is limited, so please RSVP here for the event.

Shivaun Archer event flyer with date and time details

Dr. Shivaun Archer, the John and Janet Swanson Senior Lecturer in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering She received her BS and M.Eng. from Cambridge University, England and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Davis. Dr. Archer designs and teaches lab courses covering nanobiotechnology, cellular, molecular, and tissue engineering, as well as physiology. The labs are designed to illustrate the course material and bring research to undergraduate education whilst exposing students to cutting edge technology and research methodology. 

Dr. Archer is also a Faculty Teaching Fellow in the James McCormick Family Teaching Excellence Institute (MTEI). As part of the MTEI Teaching Fellow duties, Dr. Archer provides educational support for faculty members in the College of Engineering with the aim to enhance students' learning and performance, particularly in lab instruction and group work. In recognition of her efforts in undergraduate education, Dr. Archer has received two prestigious College of Engineering Teaching awards. She has also been a recipient of the Zellman Warhaft Commitment to Diversity Award as well the Academic Achievement Award from the Cornell Engineering Alumni Association. Dr Archer was inducted as a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) for her contributions to instructional labs.

Before coming to Cornell, she worked at a small research company specializing in biotechnology, biomaterials, chemical and biological sensors, medical biotechnology, and environmental remediation. Her research interests include nanobiotechnology and tissue engineering.


Improving accessibility of research for undergraduates

Increasing accessibility of research for undergraduates is vital to creating a diverse and inclusive department, and, by extension, field of research. We understand that increasing accessibility is a process of both eliminating barriers and helping undergraduates over the barriers that we cannot yet remove. As such we are seeking a three-pronged approach to increase diversity and inclusion of undergraduate research in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering:

  1. help undergraduates develop the skills to get into labs
  2. help research staff (including graduate students) to develop mutually beneficial relationships with undergraduates
  3. help professors understand how to fund undergraduate researchers and foster healthy mentoring relationships

We are starting by surveying each group on their role in this endeavor. From there we will host a series of workshops to address the barriers identified from this information, and continue this process to improve people's experiences at the Meinig School. Links to surveys below:

For any/all feedback on this initiative, please email map476@cornell.edu or tjm339@cornell.edu.


DEI Resources

Inclusive Excellence Podcast (Cornell-based): A monthly podcast series where they unpack various topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at work

Past Events

Fall 2022 Diversity Dinner Dr. Asher Williams

Click to Open

Asher Williams flyer

For the fall 2022 semester Diversity Dinner we welcomed Dr. Asher Williams, a Trinidad & Tobago National Scholar and current Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University where her research is aimed at developing a cell-free platform for manufacturing vaccines against emerging pathogens. She is also a part of a global team of scientists and vaccine experts working with the United Nations to combat vaccine misinformation. Dr. Williams holds a B.S. in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering from New York University and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She was awarded RPI’s Presidential Graduate Research Fellowship, named a Class of 2020 Changemaker, and co-authored several peer-reviewed publications with a patent. Dr. Williams also served as Vice President of the Black Graduate Student Association at RPI and worked on several initiatives and efforts to increase the recruitment and retention of minoritized students in graduate education. She is listed as one of 1000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America, named an MIT Rising Star in Chemical Engineering, and will be joining Columbia University as a tenure-track professor of chemical engineering in July 2023.

Pride Potluck

Click to Open

On Wednesday, June 22, 2022, we celebrated pride month at the Weill Hall patio with a community potluck/dish-to-pass picnic. There were games, a BBQ, and music. Because community is a central tenet of pride celebrations, we welcomed and encourage all in the department to attend this event!

Spring 2022 Diversity Dinner with Dr. Amal El-Ghazaly

Click to Open

The first of our new Diversity Dinner series occurred April 28th at 6:30PM in 125 Weill Hall with guest speaker Dr. Amal El-Ghazaly, assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell will present on her career journey, with specific focus on her DEI efforts, and will take questions.

Amal El-Ghazaly
Dr. Amal El-Ghazaly

Spring 2022 Open Meeting

Click to Open

The first DEI 2022 community meeting was held to explore the world of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The BME department is committed to creating an environment that is inclusive and reflective of the BME community and we would love to hear your ideas about what would help create a sense of belonging and inclusion for all members of the BME department..

Discussion: Socio-economic and racial inequalities in health, with Dr. Isabel Perera

Click to Open

Dr. Isabel Perera
Dr. Isabel Perera

Discussion: Socio-economic and racial inequalities in health, with Dr. Isabel Perera, Assistant Professor of Government at Cornell University and affiliated faculty at the Center for the Study of Inequality

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion task force held its first discussion event on Friday, November 5th, 2021 from 4-5 PM in 125 Weill Hall. We will view an episode of the PBS series "Unnatural Causes". This series examines the causes and consequences of socio-economic and racial inequalities in health. The viewing will be followed by a discussion with our special guest, Dr. Isabel Perera, Assistant Professor of Government at Cornell University and affiliated faculty at the Center for the Study of Inequality.