• oncoenglab

April 2021 Newsletter

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

Hi Everyone!

Spring is upon us and with it, lots of exciting ways to celebrate and lift up our diverse communities. April is Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month at Virginia Tech and events will be happening all month to celebrate this valuable community (APIDAHM takes place in May nationally). Please attend and support our APIDA community. We are still reeling from the horrific continued violence against this group, and hope that this month everyone can take a moment to learn, grow, and celebrate APIDAs by engaging in these events. You can also see the youtube video of the recent Town Hall with Pres. Sands and Vice Pres. Pratt-Clarke online here. Native at Virginia Tech hosted their annual PowWow this past Saturday. You can view the livestream here. This event is always an exciting opportunity to celebrate and honor the Indigenous culture whose land Virginia Tech was built on. April 5-9 is Pride Week at Virginia Tech and is a chance for members and allies alike to engage with our LGBTQ+ community through panels, speakers, activities and other events. I hope that everyone in our department can take advantage of these amazing opportunities.

In March, we had our first D&I committee Q&A session (you can find the slides here). As such, we wanted to follow up on a few of the items that were discussed to highlight some events that grew out of our extremely useful discussion. We want to thank those who attended, asked questions, and provided suggestions and solutions to build our community.

  • Inclusive classroom training will be occurring on April 28, by Dr. Homero Murzi, from the Dept. of Engineering Education, with a specific emphasis on making classrooms accessible for those with disabilities.

  • Faculty and staff received crisis training at the March 19 faculty meeting in order to better identify, address, and support community members who are struggling with mental health. This training was provided by Cook Counseling and centered primarily around enabling faculty to assist students.

New Requirement for STAR Reports: Diversity Statements

Starting this year, all SBES students will be required to submit a diversity statement along with their annual STAR reports. Not sure how to approach this? The D&I committee is hosting a two-part workshop this month to help you! Please contact Katelyn Greene ( or Hana Chan ( with any questions.

  • Part 1: Wednesday, April 21, 4pm - Info session facilitated by the VT Writing Center. We’ll explain what goes into a diversity statement and why they are important.

  • Part 2: TBD (1-2 weeks after) - Small groups where you’ll get a chance to get direct feedback on a draft of your diversity statement from 1-2 other students and faculty.

  • Faculty - interested in helping with small group feedback or sharing your diversity statement? Email Katelyn Greene ( or Hana Chan (

Events and Happenings

April 1-11

April 12-18

April 19-25

  • April 19, 4-5pm: Panel -- Planning for your prelim: What you need to know (Link)

  • April 19, 12-1:30pm: Understanding the Needs of Our Asian American Students (Hosted by Wake Forest Intercultural Center) (Link)

  • April 20, 10-11am: D.E.A.C. Allies Part 1 (Hosted by Wake Forest LGBTQ+ Center), LGBTQ+ 101

  • April 21: BEAM Writing a Diversity Statement for the STAR Report (4pm)

  • April 22: SBES DEI Session #4 (Hosted by Wake Forest): “What Now? How to take action in personal and professional life” (Link)

April 26-30

  • April 28: Homero Murzi, PhD: “Creating an inclusive classroom” Hosted by BEAM; more details to follow.

  • April 28: Bring Your Own Brain: Celebrating Neurodiversity in STEM; Division of Information Technology, Virginia Tech

  • April 29: BEAM Faculty Brown Bag Lunch Series with Dr. Sara Arena. Sign up here:

Read, Listen, Watch, Learn. . .

Opportunities and Resources

  • Deadline April 9: NOT-OD-21-066: Request for Information (RFI): Inviting Comments and Suggestions to Advance, Strengthen Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Biomedical Research Workforce & Advance Health Disparities and Health Equity Research

  • Deadline April 16: SACNAS Travel Scholarship Deadlines Apply here.

  • Deadline April 30: DOW Best symposium for underrepresented groups in STEM

  • NextPROF for those in STEM preparing for academic positions. Open to senior grad students, postdocs, and other early career scientists and researchers. Deadline is July 7, 2021. Event takes place at University of Michigan in October.

  • The Future Faculty Diversity Program at Virginia Tech is open for applications.

  • Two new focused tracks at BMES Annual meeting this year focused on health inequities: Women’s Health and Global Health Technologies

We want to hear from you

  • We are looking for faculty, staff, and students to join the DEI committee for the 2021-2022 academic years, with invitation to join our later Spring 2021 meetings. If you are interested in joining, please fill out this form. Faculty terms are 3 years, staff and student terms are 1 year.

  • If you have comments or suggestions you would like to submit anonymously, please use our anonymous comment box found here: But know that these comments may be shared with the DEI committee and department leadership as needed to resolve issues or implement programs.

Do you have something you’d like us to share via this newsletter? Idea for something, someone, or some place cool to feature? Please email

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