DEI Speaker Series Abstracts

USRA DEI Speakers Series Kickoff: Diversity 101

19 Aug 2021

Joan Schmelz (Director of the NASA Postdoctoral Program, Chair of USRA’s DEI Committee)
Ed Rivera-Valentín (Planetary Scientist at LPI, Member of USRA’s DEI Committee)
Eric Hammond (Director of Government Relations, Member of USRA’s DEI Committee)

Abstract: Why are Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) important at USRA? Why do we invest our time, resources, and talents in DEI issues? Diversity 101, the first seminar of the new USRA DEI Speakers Series, is designed to answer these questions and introduce all of us to the topics, scholarship, and jargon of DEI. There are many facets of diversity. Race and gender may be the most obvious, but there are others – ethnicity, family wealth, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, to name just a few. We all come to this moment in our lives along different paths, and these facets of diversity grant each of us advantages and disadvantages along the way. In our society, for example, you had an advantage if you are white, wealthy, able bodied, or if your parents are college graduates. Research has shown that these differences not only lead to stereotypes, but are in part to blame for the lack of diversity in groups such as the STEM workforce. At USRA, we want to work toward dismantling these stereotypes and not reinforcing them. In this talk, we start this important conversation by introducing the topics of biases, active listening, and intersectionality. We will also review the DEI committee activities – the initiatives from our first year that are laying the groundwork for the more sustentative efforts to come. 

USRA DEI Speakers Series: Bold Leadership Actions in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access

28 Jan 2022

Alicia J. Knoedler (Office of Integrative Activities, National Science Foundation)

Abstract: The Nation’s research enterprise is comprised of a broad array of perspectives and experiences, leveraging a multitude of disciplines providing an ever-increasing number of ideas and innovations. Tremendous STEM engagement and participation opportunities exist across institutions of higher education, industry, non-profit organizations, K-12, state and local organizations and communities. The National Science Foundation has invested in broadening participation in STEM, particularly for those individuals and organizations/institutions underrepresented and underserved in STEM. In this presentation and discussion, Dr. Alicia Knoedler, the Office Head for the Office of Integrative Studies at NSF will provide an overview of NSF’s strategy and investments in broadening participation/diversity, equity, inclusion and access (DEIA). In particular, Dr. Knoedler will emphasize a recent call for “Bold Leadership Actions” related to broadening participation of underrepresented groups in STEM and share insights related to the evolution and expansion of broadening participation/DEIA at NSF.