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March 2021 Newsletter

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 more inclusive environments in the past month, including the passage of the Equality Act through the House of Representatives moving towards equal protections for our LGBTQ+ community in the workplace. The NIH director recently acknowledged the effect of racism in funding and committed to change through a new UNITE initiative. Thanks to those who joined us for our recent Allyship discussion led by Dr. Robin Queen. There are some follow-up materials highlighted below (under resources) should they be helpful. The faculty also participated in an inclusive mentorship workshop held by Dr. Shernita Lee from the graduate school. If you’re interested in seeing what was discussed, check out the item below.

This month, we have Principles of Community Week March 8-12 to revisit what are the Principles of Community and why do we commit to them as a university. We also have several events in the department including a work-life balance panel discussion, and a D&I Update and Q&A. Check out all the events this month including some great opportunities going on virtually across the country to promote inclusivity; they are listed by date below.

Statement on the Continued Violence against the Asian American Community

The recent rise in anti-Asian discrimination, bias, and violence is appalling and concerning. Horrific physical attacks (some fatal) on Asian American individuals, particularly elders, have increased significantly over the past several months in locations nationwide. This has created immense fear and anxiety in the Asian American community, during a time (Lunar New Year) where many were meant to be celebrating joyous family reunions. Although these hate crimes are now receiving national media coverage and are being condemned by the current administration, they are a stark reminder of this past year’s upsurge in anti-Asian rhetoric and xenophobic language, associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and their consequences.

As a committee and department, we value and affirm our colleagues of Asian descent (both domestic and international) and denounce any act that causes them to not feel welcome or safe in our community. We encourage you to call out harmful language and rhetoric when you hear it, and report any instances of harassment. Please remember there are resources available to report incidents and to support you during this troubling time.

Events and Happenings

March 1-7

  • Join the Interfaith Program for Interfaith Cooperation and Social Justice, an engaged workshop where you can reflect, connect and act to promote interfaith cooperation for social justice in our community. The Workshop is Wednesday, March 3, from 5:30-7 p.m. Please RSVP to attend

March 8-14

March 15-21

  • Women in BEAM Chat. Come out and meet other women in the department to just catch up and talk about anything March 18, 11am-12pm: Register here.

March 22-31

Read, Listen, Watch, Learn. . .

Opportunities and Resources

  • Gladstone Institutes Embark Presidential Postdoctoral Program

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

  • National Institute for Faculty Equity: Relaunched website with resources to help women and individuals from underrepresented groups navigate academia.

  • 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.

  • VirTual Safe Zone 101 is an online 5-week intensive course with weekly readings, writings, and a live discussion lab. The curriculum is meant to assist with the development of content knowledge. VirTual Trans Safe Zone 101 is an online five-week course addressing transgender identities and issues. VirTual Safe Zone is a prerequisite and must be completed before this course can be taken. Upcoming training session dates are April 5-May 7, May 17-June 18, and June 28-July 30. For more information and to register, visit the VirTual Safe Zone webpage.

  • Check out the new Hokie Collective, a one-stop place for information on education, events, and resources for building an inclusive community.

  • Inclusive VT has a lot of resources and goings-on available:

  • Cultural Community Centers across campus offer lots of events and places to gather.

  • WF Professional Development Center has a list of Diversity and Inclusion events:

  • WF Office of Diversity and Inclusion has a nice compiled list of upcoming events:

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 email Faculty terms are 3 years, staff and student terms are 1 year.

  • Attend one of our monthly listening sessions on the Third Monday of each month at 4:00-5:00 PM.

  • 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: 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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