Yale Biological and Biomedical Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Collective Expands Outreach Programs

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The YBDIC outreach arm has developed four new programs over the past year, hoping to foster educational inclusion in New Haven and beyond.

Rachel Shin

23:57, 03 Oct 2021

Contributing journalist


Lukas Flippo, senior photographer

The Yale Collective for Diversity and Inclusion in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences has launched a series of outreach initiatives to connect community college students with potential mentors and promote the success of under-represented minorities in STEM fields .

Over the past year,Paola Figueroa-DelgadoGRD ’24, YBDIC Outreach Chair, introduced two mentoring programs – an advanced health and science training program and the YBDIC mentoring program. It has also launched two lecture series – the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Online Lecture Series and the Scientific Papers Series – with the aim of increasing equity and accessibility in education. Figueroa-Delgado said she had started the projects to provide one-on-one counseling and empower marginalized students.

“Our programs are ways for us to build community and tell people that their stories matter, that they belong,” said Termara Parker GRD ’22, director of the Collective for Diversity and Inclusion of Biological Sciences and Yale Biomedicals. “Outreach embodies the YBDIC for undergraduates and postgraduates because through it we empower, advance and engage them. “

The PATHS collaborative program provides undergraduate and postgraduate community college students with Yale mentors from historically underserved communities.

Students are separated into early and late career groups, which determines the trajectory of their mentorship. In the early stages group, three students meet a mentor and participate in thematic discussions. Together, students and their mentor lead conversations about applications, courses, and dealing with failure. In the advanced stage group, participants receive individual guidance from mentors on the internship and graduate program application processes.

We felt, as a group of students at the Yale School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, that we could better provide mentorship and resources to students who are currently in the same position as we were as undergraduates. cycle trying to forge their way through their STEM education and overall career advancement, ”said former YBDIC Outreach FellowIan gonzálezGRD ’23.

The YBDIC mentorship program also matched 76 undergraduate and postgraduate students from community colleges across the United States with graduate students and postdoctoral mentors from Yale.

The main objective of the program is to support participants during the early stages of their educational careers, such as undergraduates transferring to a four-year institution or postgraduate students entering graduate studies. The program is primarily intended for students from historically under-represented backgrounds.

“We wanted to make sure that during the transfer period they would have someone to rely on and a community to guide them,” Figueroa-Delgado said. “Mainly because it is a common thread for people historically excluded in science to experience a sense of isolation when they cannot identify a community. So we wanted to make sure they had someone with their best interests at heart in this process. “

The individualized and interpersonal nature of these mentoring programs is essential, according to Figueroa-Delgado. She said that, especially at institutions like Yale, resources can be plentiful and often are plentiful, but without the necessary structure, as student needs are variable and exact. Its solution is a continuous process of adapting YBDIC programs.

To do this, Figueroa-Delgado regularly meets with administrators from community colleges and other Connecticut institutions to discuss the changing needs of their students and how best to serve them. Whether through fireside chats, mentoring programs or other educational resources, its end goal is to empower marginalized students individually and reaffirm their excellence, she said.

“We try to make sure that the resources we have are adequate to serve the people we say we serve,” Figueroa-Delgado said. “Not just what we assume, but what we can identify and learn that our community needs. The important thing is to invest in these individuals and communities. Invest in individuals by providing them with the tools and knowledge they need and by supporting them longitudinally.

In early 2021, YBDIC set up two conference series. The science communication series, which ran from February to June, enabled students to acquire science communication skills through different forms of media. It culminated with Science Communication Week, during which the YBDIC featured a host of external speakers, including Michael Hopkins, founder of Black Scientists Matter.

The Biological and Biomedical Sciences online lecture series, launched in February, features university science teachers who have followed non-traditional career paths. They present their personal paths in science alongside their ongoing research. The series is publicly available, providing students with a way to identify and interact with potential mentors.

“There may be students currently in Hawaii or California who still want research experiences with Yale, so our goal was to dismantle the roadblocks for them,” Parker said. “We specifically have speakers who can be potential mentors. “

The BBS online lecture series resumes on October 4, with Professor of Medicine Rachel Perry ’08 GRD ’13.


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