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.

2022/23 Executive Committee Members

Christina Rowley (Chair)

Hannah Chimowitz

Nathan Huff

Faculty Advisor: Lisa Harvey

Members interested in joining the committee should email or the chair listed above for more information. You can also find us on Facebook at @DivComm.

2021-2022 Activities

BRiDGE Scholar Series: The PBS Graduate Student Diversity Committee has brought the BRiDGE Scholar Series to PBS since 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 Spring 2022, Dr. Sa-Kiera Hudson 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 2021-22, the winners were Yana Victoria Deeley and Elodie Carel.

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. The last retreat that was held was a 4-part series entitled “Deconstructing Community Research: Building Research Programs and Relationships”. Each month, a lecture and subsequent discussion on a subpart of this topic were held and open to the larger UMass community as well.

Community Outreach (previously Northampton Pride): For seven consecutive years (only interrupted by the global pandemic) the PBS Graduate Student Diversity Committee participated in Northampton Pride, which takes place early May. Co-sponsored by the Psychological Services Center, PBS Graduate Student Committee members work alongside other nonprofit organizations to share information about local mental health services available to LGBTQ individuals in our community.

This year we plan to expand our outreach in the community to share information about local mental health services available to other under-resourced communities (e.g., BIPOC individuals/families, individuals/families with low-income).

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. The 2021-2022 winner was Gorana Gonzalez and honorable mention was given to Joel Ginn and Adrian Rivera-Rodriquez.

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. The 2021-2022 winner was Holly Laws .