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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

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

Seminar Series

  • 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."

Student-Led Groups

  • 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

Current Initiatives in Progress

Cal-Bridge Program

  • 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