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October 31st, 2016

Distinguished Speaker Series addresses diversity and inclusion in science

The new INSTAAR Distinguished Speaker Series kicks off today with a talk on inclusion in science by University of Alaska Fairbanks glaciologist Erin Pettit.

The series features seven speakers, chosen for their quality research and for their commitment to diversity and outreach in science.  INSTAAR diversity committee chair Holly Barnard explains, “We are hosting a group of fantastic scholars that are diverse in personal demographics, as well as in their research interests.  These individuals are top in their fields and have made the effort to ‘lift as they climb’ by making substantial contributions to increasing diversity in science.”

The talks span the calendar from October 2016 through April 2017.  All talks are free and open the public, and will take place in the Sustainability, Energy and Environment Complex (SEEC), University of Colorado Boulder East Campus, at 4001 Discovery Drive.

Speakers include:

  • Erin Pettit, a glaciologist who also leads Girls on Ice, a tuition-free wilderness science education program for teenage girls.
  • Ryan Emanuel, watershed hydrologist at North Carolina State and citizen of the Lumbee Tribe, who works to broaden the participation of indigenous peoples in science.
  • Kamini Singha, hydrologist and Darcy Lecturer from Colorado School of Mines, who will speak to the sometimes unexpected nature of contaminant transport.
  • Brenda Allen—back by popular demand, the Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion at CU Denver will speak to creating an inclusive workplace and learning climate.
  • Christine Foreman, a microbial ecologist, will share work on microbes, carbon, and climate in collaboration with students and teachers on the Crow Reservation in Montana.
  • Erika Marin-Spiotta, biogeochemist at University of Wisconsin–Madison, was the 2016 recipient of the Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring from the American Geophysical Union. She serves on the leadership board of the nonprofit organization Earth Science Women’s Network.
  • Akua Asa-Awuku, atmospheric chemist from the University of Maryland, will share the joys and perils of her journey to become a leading researcher on air quality.
  • Directors of the SOARS and RESESS undergraduate intern programs will be coming to INSTAAR as well to recruit science mentors and share other ways to get involved.

The series is hosted by INSTAAR.  Partial funding was provided by a grant from the CU IMPART program (Implementation of Multicultural Perspectives and Approaches in Research and Teaching), which works to develop a campus environment that fosters gender, ethnic, and cultural diversity in approaches to scholarly work and teaching.

Faculty and students are encouraged to interact with the visiting speakers during receptions after the talks.

Barnard adds, “If you’ve ever asked yourself, ‘What can I do to broaden participation in science,’ you should come to the talks.  I think these speakers will leave you inspired.”