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February 2021 Newsletter

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

Welcome back students, faculty and staff! The DEI committee has been hard at work over the past month. We provided syllabus statements for increasing inclusivity in the classroom, offered a workshop on Counter-storytelling for graduate students, and worked with the various other committees across the department to discuss and implement changes that increase our inclusive practices. Faculty also engaged in trainings regarding holistic admissions practices. We have two subcommittees: the Student Taskforce which is led by Katelyn Greene and Hana Chan to work on student-centric activities and initiatives and the Student Success Committee led by Prof. Miguel Perez which works on activities and events that can help to “de-mystify” higher education and give insight into graduate school applications, job interviews, and the various milestones throughout academic life. It was also great to see many of you at the recent AIMBE/BMES Equity and Anti-Racism national event and the Virginia Tech Advancing Diversity Gathering. Please look out for emails for specific events from our committee throughout the Spring Semester in addition to those listed below. There are lots of great things going on across campus surrounding Black History Month, which was started by a Dr. Carter G. Woodson, from Virginia. Read more about him and the origins of Black History Month here.


Events and Happenings





Other resources (through VT, HokieHealth, etc.)

  • Survey findings offer valuable feedback for caregiving support during pandemic: Click here to learn more.

  • Caregiver Connections are back this semester. These sessions are an opportunity for VT employees who are caregivers of children, teens, aging parents and/or family members to connect with one another around managing the demands of working and caregiving during these times of COVID-19 disruption. These are intended to be open discussions to share current information and resources, as well as to support one another. Check this link and click on Caregiver Check-Ins for dates, times and zoom links. Please direct questions to Christine Dennis Smith with the Women’s Center.


Readings and recent publications

Fund black scientistsPerspective in Cell written by many female BME professors across the country discusses inequities in grant funding for black scientists.

Coming next month: Resources page for diversity, equity, and inclusion including many of the discussion points and information generated in our department discussions.

Make your voice heard!

  • If you want to give us feedback, suggest ideas, or just chat about issues, please feel free to email:

  • Or attend one of our monthly listening sessions on the Third Monday of each month. Check emails for zoom link. These are open to all students, faculty, and staff within BEAM (including SBES, EM, ESM, BMES).

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


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

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Hi Everyone! This month is Women’s History Month and the Women’s Center at VT is holding a lot of great events highlighting some awesome women. There have been some encouraging signs towards creating