Spotlight: Meinig School Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee
by Sophia Ziemian and Tyler McNeill
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are keystones of the Cornell BME community, and as such in spring 2021 Meinig School leadership organized a task force to assess the state of DEI. The group—consisting of undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff—has since evolved into a committee that meets regularly and is working hard to foster DEI ideals within the Meinig School and beyond. Together the group wrote a department values statement (see callout box below) and holds ongoing initiatives that work to promote inclusivity and build community within Cornell BME. Some examples of activities coordinated by the committee in the past year include (and some photos, right):
- designed and distributed a departmental survey to assess the state of DEI within the BME community and to direct work moving forward
- made undergraduate research more equitable and universally accessible by way of a subcommittee to organize guest lectures in BME 1310 (Introduction to Biomedical Engineering) about undergraduate research opportunities at Cornell; outlined and shared the process of joining a lab
- hosted an open meeting to discuss goals and initiatives and provide a platform for the voices of the attendees.
- initiated a diversity dinner series to highlight diverse voices within engineering in a relaxed forum; first invited speaker, Dr. Amal El-Ghazaly, an assistant professor in Cornell ECE, gave a wonderful talk in April about her career path and extensive DEI work.
- hosted a potluck barbeque to celebrate pride month (June). Committee members grilled for attendees and coordinated informational displays highlighting the contributions of historical and present-day queer scientists.
Moving forward, the committee plans to continue the open meetings and diversity dinner series each semester to foster engagement, celebrate various cultures, and create a monthly newsletter to update and promote events throughout campus that highlight diverse voices and encourage inclusivity.
For more on the DEI committee and ongoing initiatives, visit the Diversity & Inclusion page on our website.
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.