This page brings together various initiatives in the Department of Physics related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
- Department DEI committee 2021-2022: Prof. Sarah Loebman and Prof. Ajay Gopinathan (co-chairs), Prof. Carrie Menke, Prof. Linda Hirst, Prof. David Strubbe; Dr. Bradford Barker (postdoc), Jenny Quinn (PhD student), Zachary Mauri (undergraduate)
- 2020-2022 UC Merced Senate Committee for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Prof. Carrie Menke was member and then chair and representative to the corresponding UC-wide committee
- Member of School of Natural Sciences Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Task Force: Prof. David Strubbe
Conferences and Events
- We were a host site January 20-22, 2023 for the APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP), bringing around 100 undergraduates to campus. We also participate in the Northern California CUWiP consortium for planning of further years' events at other sites.
- Our faculty and students regularly attend the National Diversity in STEM conference of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), and have occasionally attended the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) annual conference.
- We have a biweekly Soft, Living, Active and Adaptive Matter (SLAAM) seminar with exclusively postdoctoral speakers. The series aims to promote inclusion by providing a forum for a diverse set of stellar speakers early in their careers and opportunities for faculty and graduate students to interact with them. It is organized by the Department of Physics and CCBM, and several faculty members and graduate students.
- Science by Diverse Scientists: A Cal-Bridge Physics & Astronomy Seminar Series is a biweekly event aimed at CSU and UC undergraduate students, co-organized by Prof. David Strubbe. It highlights the scientific contributions of minoritized members of the physics and astronomy community (including Cal-Bridge alumni), showcases future career paths for Cal-Bridge scholars, discusses anti-racism and experiences of scientists of color, and provides seminar experiences for campuses that don't have seminar series.
- We had a screening of the film Picture A Scientist in our colloquium series, with a facilitated discussion to follow, on 26 Feb 2021. The film follows "a growing group of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists, exposing longstanding discrimination, and leading the way in making science more inclusive."
- The APS-supported Women in Physics society brings together undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty interested in physics, to address major factors that contribute to the gender gap in physics. The mission is to bring women and allies together to reduce isolation, invest in professional development to elevate members’ careers, and inspire young students through outreach.
- Members of the department participate in the university-wide Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (W-STEM) group: mentoring & advocating issues for women in STEM fields.
Education, Research, and Training Centers and Programs
- The NSF-funded Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines (CCBM), co-directed by Prof. Ajay Gopinathan, provides research, training, and mentoring experiences related to biophysics for graduate, undergraduate, and high school students, to enhance the recruitment of underrepresented groups into STEM research.
- The NASA-funded Merced nAnomaterials Center for Energy and Sensing (MACES) provides research, training, and mentoring experiences related to materials for graduate, undergraduate, and high school students, to enhance the recruitment of underrepresented groups into STEM research.
- The NNSA-funded Consortium for High Energy Density Science is a collaboration between UC Merced, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Florida A&M University and Morehouse College (two HBCUs), to provide research and education opportunities, and pathways to STEM careers and national laboratories, for students from minority-serving institutions.
- PhD students participate in the California Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) Alliance, one of NSF's Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP); and the California State University's Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program (CDIP).
- Undergraduates can take part in research and mentoring through the NSF-funded California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) in the UC system, which focuses on underrepresented minorities, and the University of California Leadership Excellence Through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS) program, which focuses on students who have "experienced situations or conditions that impacted their advancement or ability to advance in a STEM field."
- Our department is a member of the American Physical Society Bridge Program, part of the NSF's Inclusive Graduate Education Network (IGEN).
Current Initiatives in Progress
- We are developing a code of conduct for the department.
- We are working on applying to be an APS Bridge Program partnership site.
- 7 faculty members currently participate in the Cal-Bridge program, which mentors and supports undergraduate physics and astronomy majors from California State University campuses to help them on the path to graduate school. The majority of these students are from underrepresented groups.
Departmental DEI Awards in May 2021
- Undergraduate Award: Christina Valletta, for co-founding Women in Physics and serving as president
- Graduate Award: Niranjan Sarpangala, for co-organizing SLAAM seminars; Ritwika VPS, for work as international officer for Graduate Student Assembly and work with W-STEM
- Faculty Award: Sayantani Ghosh, for founding W-STEM, among other initiatives
Diversity in Hiring and Student Recruitment
- We support the Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, and hired Prof. Sarah Loebman and Prof. Anna Nierenberg who were fellows.
- We reached out in English and Spanish to incoming undergraduate students to promote opportunities in the physics major.
- Incoming grad students can participate in the Graduate Division's Competitive Edge Summer Bridge Program, aimed at first-generation students.
- American Institute of Physics TEAM-UP report
- National Society of Hispanic Physicists
- American Physical Society National Mentoring Conference
- University of Michigan Department of Astronomy DEI webpage
- UC Irvine Department of Physics DEI webpages
- American Physical Society: Women in Physics
- American Physical Society: Minorities in Physics
- Demographic statistics on our department are in the AIP GradSchoolShopper profile.
- UC Merced diversity statement (English, Spanish, Hmong, Mandarin)
- UC Merced Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
- "Bobcat IDEAs" framework for DEI at UC Merced