By: Juliana Medeiros
What can we do to create more equitable and inclusive STEM educational systems? This year, the Scientist Lecture Series is featuring speakers that have successfully run boots-on-the-ground institutional diversity initiatives. These leaders have strong records of advocacy and are employing innovative ideas to build anti-racist/anti-sexist programs, truly they are changing the system in support of a more diverse STEM workforce.
The December speaker is Dr. Maria Elena Zavala. The title of her talk is “We reap what we sow: Seeding science with diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Dr. Zavala is a Professor of Biology studying plant development, including how gene regulation and cell-to-cell communication drive root growth and was the first Mexican-American woman to earn a botany Ph.D. in the United States. She has since dedicated herself to supporting students from under-represented backgrounds in science as Program Director for the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) and Minority Biomedical Research Support Program (MBRS) and Hispanic Serving Institution (HIS) STEM Resource Hub Lead-PI at CSU-Northridge. She has received numerous awards and honors, including in 2000, she received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring and was elected as the first Chicana president of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). In 2020 she was named one of 100 most inspiring Latinx/Hispanic scientists in the United States by Cell Press Journal.
The lectures are free, but registration is required through the HF&G website. Registration for Dr. Zavala’s talk is available here.
We hope you will join us not only for Dr. Zavala’s talk next week, but also for the remaining talks in the series! Two additional presentations given by advocacy experts will be held on Wednesday evenings in February and March (details here). With this lecture series, we hope to provide action steps for those who have the power to define the systematic aspects of the STEM work environment (professors, administrators, supervisors), to give inspiration to students in STEM who are eager to see people in leadership positions making changes to the SYSTEM of STEM, and to show members of the public how organizational transformations can take place in support of a more diverse workforce.
Juliana S. Medeiros, PhD
My research focuses on plant anatomical and physiological acclimation and adaptations to the abiotic environment. I am interested in how phenotypic and genetic variation in plant form and function interact with variation in climate over space and time to drive ecological patterns and the evolution of plant diversity. I focus primarily on plant hydraulic traits, including xylem water transport, leaf gas exchange and the integration of leaf and xylem function. Click here to learn more about research in my lab: Medeiros Lab Webpage