Diversity and Inclusion
Discoveries in science are made by the collective collaboration amongst scientists. The Dillin Lab historically has its roots in creating a culture of belonging amongst its scientists. We think that scientific excellence and creativity are best achieved through the collective efforts, approaches and ideas of a diverse lab group and we are thus committed to recruiting, mentoring and supporting diverse staff members, students and postdoctoral scholars. Lab member’ engagement in outreach activities is highly valued as we work towards inspiring future scientists and increasing equity in STEM.
Starting in 2021, we have welcomed 3 summer research students from “Howard University-Advancing Diversity in Aging Research,” a program that engages promising undergraduate students in research at Howard during the school year and at partnered R1 research institutions during the summer. In recent years, there has been an ever-growing focus on issues of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in academia. Institutions have heavily invested in programs to expose underrepresented groups to research. With support from my lab, our partnership with Howard addresses this shortcoming by bringing together enthusiastic, young, African American scientists to Berkeley for an immersive summer research program. Kevin Wickham has been the program coordinator for the Dillin Lab, and he, Kim Tsui, and Holly Gildea have mentored our three students.
The B2B Program is a summer research opportunity that gives ambitious transfer students from local community colleges the opportunity to train in academic research settings and conduct research in UC Berkeley labs as B2B Fellows. The goal of the B2B Program is to increase diversity in the biomedical research workforce by providing educational opportunities that promote equity and inclusion. As part of the Berkeley program, students are exposed to biomedical career options through participation in full-time summer lab research with UC Berkeley faculty. They also receive multi-year advising, including tutoring and academic coaching, Graduate Student/Post Doc Gilbert Garcia and Post Doc Ryo Higuchi-Sanabria have supported the program by mentoring the B2B students in our lab.
The CHORI Summer Student Research Program provides summer research opportunities for under-represented high school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate students studying to pursue careers in biomedical, clinical and bio-behavioral research by training in a friendly and nurturing environment. Students in the CHORI program work directly with a Post Doc mentor to build skills in hypothesis-driven research with a focus in stem cell biology. They learn experimental skills, scientific communication, scientific writing, and also interact and collaborate with members of the lab, including many social activities to build lasting relationships. The Dillin lab not only prioritizes scientific learning, but also professional development, building social connections, and personal fulfillment from the program. Post Docs Ryo Higuchi-Sanabria and Ashley Frakes have supported the program by mentoring many CHORI students in the lab.
Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) conferences are designed to introduce 5th-8th grade girls and other gender minority children to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). EYH hosts an annual conference in which experts run interactive workshops on a variety of STEM career topics for the children. The organization aims to financially support as many students as possible to attend the conference. Graduate Student Holly Gildea has been an active member of the organization.
BASIS (Bay Area Scientists in Schools) is a program that provides free, in-class science lessons led by UC Berkeley scientists. 45 min- 1hr lessons are brought directly into classrooms, engaging students in hands-on investigations and engineering challenges that are age-appropriate and aligned to education standards. Holly Gildea and other Dillin lab members have previously taught lessons about the nervous system, including sensory perception, to kindergarten and 1st grade level students. BASIS presentations are available free to public elementary teachers who are CRS members in partner districts of Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville and West Contra Costa. BASIS is organized through Community Resources in Science (CRS).
The Biotech Partners program educates underserved youth with personal, academic and professional development experiences that increase participation in higher education and access to fulfilling science careers. The organization focuses on training youth for technical positions in bioscience, career advancement and continued education. Research Specialist, Larry Joe has supported Biotech Partners since its inception in 1993.