Graduate Student Diversity Committee

The mission of the PBS Graduate Student Diversity Committee is to raise awareness and facilitate ongoing training and dialogue about issues related to diversity and multiculturalism, including but not limited to: race and ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, age, ability, and adoption. Members of the committee include PBS graduate students who are committed to promoting multicultural knowledge, competence, and social justice within the department walls and beyond. As of 2016, the PBS Graduate Student Diversity Committee is a registered Graduate Student Organization (GSO) sponsored by the Graduate Student Senate Finance Committee, PBS department chair, and other grant-funding sources.

2019/2020 Executive Committee Members

Lisa Harvey (Faculty Advisor)

Sungha Kang (Co-Chair)

Deborah Wu (Co-Chair)

Joel Ginn

Brooke Burrows

Sarah McCormick

Members interested in joining the committee should email pbsdivcomm@gmail.com or the co-chair(s) listed above for more information. You can also find us on Facebook at @DivComm.

2019-2020 Activities

BRiDGE Scholar Series: The PBS Graduate Student Diversity Committee has brought the BRiDGE Scholar Series to PBS in 2019. BRiDGE is a graduate student-led initiative that aims to increase the representation and visibility of early career scientists from underrepresented groups to combat attrition of underrepresented graduate students. BRiDGE has increased the diversity of invited speakers on campus while providing a space for open and constructive conversations between current graduate students and early career researchers about the obstacles faced by underrepresented groups in STEM. In addition to highlighting the contributions of underrepresented scientists, BRIDGE provides invited early career researchers with a platform for sharing their research, and establishing collaborations at UMass. In Fall 2019, Dr. Richard Prather and Dr. Belem López visited PBS, and in Spring 2020, Dr. Fantasy Lozada was invited as a BRiDGE Scholar.

Diversity Committee Undergraduate Travel Award: The PBS Graduate Student Diversity Committee awards a $400 travel grant to a UMass undergraduate to aid in attending a research conference. In 2019-20, the winner was Michaela Casey, who plans to attend the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology conference.

Annual Diversity Retreat:  Each year, the PBS Graduate Student Diversity Committee hosts a retreat, which is an opportunity for our community to convene and learn about topics relevant to multicultural practice and research. This year, the retreat will be a 4-part monthly series entitled “Deconstructing Community Research: Building Research Programs and Relationships”. Each month, a lecture and subsequent discussion on a subpart of this topic will be held and will be open to the larger UMass community as well.

Northampton Pride: For the seventh consecutive year, the PBS Graduate Student Diversity Committee will participate in Northampton Pride, which will take place on May 2, 2020. Co-sponsored by the Psychological Services Center, PBS Graduate Student Committee members will work alongside other nonprofit organizations to share information about local mental health services available to LGBTQ individuals in our community.

Wendy Helmer Memorial Graduate Student Grant: In loving memory of Wendy Helmer, longtime PSC secretary and proud supporter and friend of the PBS Graduate Student Diversity Committee, an annual $300 grant was established in her honor. Starting in the fall of 2016, this peer-nominated grant is awarded to a PBS graduate student who embodies Wendy’s spirit and commitment to social justice. Last year’s winner was Adaeze Egwuatu.

Ally to Graduate Students Award: In 2018-19, the PBS Graduate Student Diversity Committee created the Ally to Graduate Students Award, a student-nominated award that is presented to a faculty member or staff person in PBS who has demonstrated themselves to be a dedicated ally to graduate students by fostering an environment of collaboration and support, thus improving the overall quality of life for graduate students in PBS. This award was created to celebrate an individual who challenges the status quo and actively contributes to an environment that embraces inclusion, community, mentorship, and social justice. Last year’s winner was Dr. Lisa Harvey.