IDGP Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement

The Interdepartmental Graduate Programs in Life Sciences (IDGPs) believe that a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment is critical to all that we do.  We recognize that systemic racism exists in our society and we pledge to educate ourselves so that we can change our ingrained habits and beliefs. We are committed to make our programs accessible to all and to increase the success of all our members. We dedicate our time, effort and financial resources to these activities. We work with Institutional leaders, faculty, staff and students to achieve these goals. We are providing this pdf link so that you are able to view a working document of our activities. 

We are proud of our amazing students and post docs who have worked tirelessly for the betterment of our community. Our students have fostered a tight-knit, progressive community and their recent efforts have resulted in this petition for systematic change.  We stand with them in recognizing that change is required in order to make progress toward a more equitable, just, diverse and inclusive environment. 

The University has established an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and their website provides links to many resources. We encourage you to make use of these tools, including links to videos, books and podcasts as well as programing, as we embark together on our journey to improve our community for all our members.  


Overall goals for the PB DEIJ committee 

The Plant Biology Graduate Program is committed to build an environment where all students, postdocs, and faculty can thrive, regardless of their race, sexuality, gender identity, or nationality. Most recently, institutional racism has been highlighted as an enduring problem in the US. Plant Biology is committed to working to dismantle this racism, and to working for systematic change. While we recognize that members of our community face injustice for many reasons, such as for sexuality or ability, we are for now focusing on racism. To this end, the diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice committee (DEIJ) will work with Plant Biology leadership to institute the following in our program, starting immediately:

1.To make PB an environment where minoritized (especially Black, Hispanic, Indigenous, and Latine) students, postdocs, and faculty can thrive.

2.To help all Plant Biology community members learn about institutional racism and how to combat it

3.To recruit a diverse pool of students to our program

PB DEIJ Committee Action Items, year-by-year

DEIJ in the PB community. How are we doing (anonymous questionnaire)? 

PB DEI committee members: 
Madelaine Bartlett
Associate Professor in Biology
Tel: 413-545-2235
Miriam Hernandez-Romero
PhD Candidate, Wang Lab
Plant Biology Graduate Program
Biochemistry and molecular biology Department
Tobias Baskin
Professor in Biology
Tel: 413-545-1533
Jedaidah chilufya
PhD Candidate, Wang Lab
Plant Biology Program
Biochemistry and molecular biology Department
Kristen DeAngelis
Associate Professor in Microbiology
Tel: 413-577-4669
Peter Jeranyama
Associate Professor - Plant Physiology/Nutrition
Xiang Li
PhD candidate, Caicedo Lab
Plant Biology Program
Biology Program
Le Liu
PhD student, Facette Lab
Plant Biology Program
Biology Program
PB DEI events: 
04/29/2021: Dismantling racism in plant biology 
Panellists: Dr. Aman Husbands, Dr. Maria Moreno, and Dr. Chelsea Specht 
PB Gilgut Diversity Equity and Inclusion Fellow: 
Miriam Hernandez-Romero was our 2021 Gilgut DEI fellow. As part of her fellowship, she worked with other students on campus to reinvigorate a local UMass SACNAS chapter. Read more about her work here. 
Resources for dealing with discrimination and bias

As an IDGP member, there are many places where you can go for help if you are facing workplace harrassment or discrimination - including your PI’s department, the College of Natural Sciences, or any of the campus-wide offices listed below. Please feel free to reach out to any of the PB DEIJ committee members if you’d like help navigating a particular issue, or navigating these resources.  Some people and offices you might want to reach out to:

Other Useful Resources

Demographics of the PB Community

Shown below are the results of an anonymous poll our committee sent out in Fall 2021, where we asked our community to self-identify. Our goal as a committee is for the demographics of our PB community to mirror the demographics in the US, a goal that is not being met in STEMM more broadly (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 (from Goszytla et al, 2021): Racial/ethnic demographics of STEM faculty.

To understand the current diversity within our program, we sent out an anonymous poll to the PB graduate students, post-docs and faculty and asked them to self-identify from the four aspects: race, gender, sex orientation and disability. The result reflects that PB is a diverse group, but also reminds us that we have work to do, and it’s our responsibility to create an environment where all PBers can thrive.

Survey Results