Why is diversity and inclusion important to you?
Along with science, discovery, and research, my passions include raising cultural awareness and serving as an advocate for the underrepresented. Race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, age, nor socioeconomic status define your abilities or trajectory to succeed as a scientist. I aspire to create an environment that fosters inclusiveness, where all voices are heard and understood. At the University of Chicago, I have been provided spaces to voice my concerns and found organizations that celebrate my differences. Along with my colleagues, we have been allotted opportunities to galvanize thoughtful discussions, make impactful decisions, and continually work on the changes we would like to see.
— Briana Banks, Second Year
The University of Chicago Committee on Cancer Biology acknowledges the lack of underrepresented minorities in STEM and academia as a whole. To this end, we are committed to recruiting and training URM’s that will be leaders in the field of cancer biology and champions of diversity, inclusion, equity, and anti-racism. We welcome and encourage talented students from all backgrounds to apply to our PhD program.
Here's how you can get involved
Graduate Recruitment Initiative Team
GRIT is a graduate student led organization that works across the BSD, PSD and PME to recruit and retain graduate students from marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds. GRIT is committed to enhancing diversity, inclusion, and equity across all three divisions. They believe that recruitment and retention of marginalized and underrepresented students are tightly linked; therefore we in GRIT focus on three central components: recruitment, retention, and sustainability.
CCB Student Mat Perez-Neut has a long list accolades in and out of the laboratory. Notably, Mat is one of the co-founders of the Graduate Recruitment Initiative Team (GRIT) featured in several articles including Nature. Currently, two CCB students are also part of the GRIT leadership team: second years Briana Banks – Underrepresented Minorities (URM) team and Santiago Acero Bedoya –Biomedical Cluster Representative
GRIT was featured in Nature! Check it out
Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity
The Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity (IMSD) is an NIH funded program that provides URM students with network and programing for personal and professional advancement. IMSD provides talented students with funding for 1-2 years of their PhD program and brings together students from across BSD. Second years Briana Banks (right) and Santiago Acero Bedoya (left) are on their second year on the IMSD grant. Further, Santiago is one of the students leading and creating virtual programing for incoming students in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic covering topics from imposter syndrome to classes and rotations.
Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science
The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in STEM (SACNAS) UChicago chapter is dedicated to providing its members with a community of like-minded scientist focused on training future leaders in academia, mentorship, and diversity and inclusion.
The SACNAS UChicago Chapter was voted Chapter of the Year at the last national SACNAS conference in 2019, which students attend every year in order to recruit talented students.
You don't have to be associated with any particular organization to make a difference!
In the face of social unrest and a global pandemic, BSD students came together to provide protesters with the necessary equipment to protest as safely as possible. Proudly, several CCB students were active in the planning and collection and distribution of care package goods.
See UChicago Medicine's article on Protestor Packs here.
If there is an organization that you think is missing on campus, students have the flexibility and support to start their own. Recently, new student organization called the Black Grad Coalition was formed by a grad student in the School of Public Policy. They aim to serve as a Black student union for grad & professional students at UChicago, with an intentional focus on community-building, interdisciplinary collaboration, and activism.