DEI Resources

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

My commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) stems from my experience as a woman in aerospace engineering and the first in my family to pursue a doctoral degree and move abroad. During my academic journey, people doubted I would succeed as a female engineer or were surprised by my achievements "to be a woman." These reactions reflect the stereotype that women are diligent and hardworking, but lack the brilliance for excelling in engineering. 

My experience has shown me that the lack of diversity in aerospace engineering is a major challenge facing groups that are currently underrepresented in our field. This is often the consequence of lack of equity and inclusion because people from these groups are left without guidance and resources to build their careers compared with more privileged peers. I am committed to changing this by helping students from all backgrounds succeed, especially those affected by any form of marginalization.

As a result of my interest in DEI, I became aware of resources to help marginalized groups thrive in academia and increase awareness of DEI in our community. I have collected them here to share them with students and colleagues, and will add more as I continue educating myself on these topics.

Academic Career Development Opportunities for Historically Marginalized Groups

Below is a list of opportunities that aims at increasing the representation of people from historically marginalized groups among the faculty ranks:

Some of these opportunities are restricted to U.S. persons (e.g., NextProf Nexus) or to a specific institution (e.g., NextProf Engineering). 

I have attended Rising Stars in Aerospace (2019), the New England Future Faculty Workshop (2020), and NextProf Engineering (2020). I am happy to answer questions about these events or provide feedback on application materials for these opportunities. 

Self-Development and Community Building

Here are some resources I found particularly helpful for self-development and community building.

National Center for Faculty Diversity and Development

This is an independent professional development, training, and mentoring community for faculty members, postdocs, and students. Many institutions have a free membership for their community. They offer webinars, writing challenges, self-development resources, and more.

New PI Slack

This is an informal peer mentoring group for tenure-track assistant professors. While most of the members are from the biomedical fields I am finding this group an extremely helpful resource to navigate the transition to faculty life.

Future PI Slack

This is an informal peer mentoring group for postdocs who want to stay in academia. While most of the members are from the biomedical fields I found this group an extremely helpful resource and got great feedback from people who reviewed my application materials.

International Scholars in the U.S.

This is a Slack group for international researchers at U.S. institutions (not only academia). I found this group especially supportive during the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions for international scholars. 

Readings and Talks

Here are some readings and talks about DEI that I found particularly interesting.

The Awesomest 7-year Postdoc

Radhika NagpalProfessor of Computer Science at Harvard—shares how she survived the tenure-track experience by considering it a "seven-year postdoc." A must-read for anybody considering an academic career, especially if a member of a historically marginalized group.

How to Use Your V.O.I.C.E to Accomplish Your Goals 

A TED talk by U-M Aerospace alumna Sydney Hamilton (@SeeSydSoar) about her approach to pursuing opportunities and making decisions without being stopped by the fear of failure. A must-listen for all (especially women in STEM). 

Who Gets to Innovate?

A TED talk by Prof. Christopher Hernandez about seeking to innovate as a member of a historically marginalized group in STEM. A must-listen for any scientist/engineer from an underrepresented background, as well as from those from privileged backgrounds

Guide to Allyship

This is an informative guide about being an ally. 

Expectations of Brilliance Underlie Gender Distributions across Academic Disciplines  

This article presents the theory that women are underrepresented in fields where scholars believe brilliance is necessary for success because women are stereotyped as not having this quality. The paper suggests that fields that want to increase their diversity should highlight the importance of sustained effort over innate talent.

Productivity, Prominence, and the Effects of Academic Environment 

This article presents data showing that the productivity of early-career faculty is determined by where they work rather than where they are trained, that is, faculty trained at institutions of different prestige have similar productivity when hired at a particular institution as a result of work environments that facilitate future success.