GRAD Diversity & Inclusion leads efforts within UChicagoGRAD to create, sustain, and coordinate practices throughout the University that support the academic, scholarly, and career development of graduate students and postdocs from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups; and all graduate students and postdocs in incorporating diversity in their scholarly lives.
The University of Chicago’s diverse community provides the varying voices and perspectives essential to our mission of pursuing new knowledge. Our culture is enriched by the many different backgrounds of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Several offices and programs help foster this diversity at UChicago. Visit the University’s Diversity & Inclusion website to learn more about our commitment to diversity, including information for prospective and current students.
In collaboration with Student Support Services and the Writing Program, we provide space and structure for graduate student and postdoc quarterly writing accountability groups. Applications are closed for the quarter.
Diversity Administrator Working Group (DAWG)
A collective of diversity and equity related professionals that serve graduate students from areas across campus that meets to share best practices and resources for students. If you are an administrator that supports diverse graduate students and would like to join the working group, please email Joseph Butler at email@example.com.
Grads on the Ground
A partnership with the Office of Civic Engagement to support students’ community engagement efforts. Our offices collaborate to promote civic education and engagement opportunities that will strengthen connection with the broader community and the graduate student experience.
A partnership with Student Counseling Services (SCS) and Student Support Services to provide emotional wellness related workshops for graduate students. Check the calendar for upcoming events.
A two-day resource and engagement orientation for self-identified underrepresented minority graduate students. Check the calendar in May to sign up for these sessions.
Campus Visits for Groups
The University of Chicago is happy to assist program coordinators with planning a visit to our campus. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your visit options. We are currently offering virtual information sessions, and requests should be submitted at least two weeks before your desired date. Please consult the Campus Tour page for more information.
Diversity in Academics
Diversity in our academic programs supports our students of different backgrounds as well as students interested in the many cultures of the world. Our faculty members come from different career paths, disciplines, countries, and perspectives and are leaders, creators, healers, and explorers.
In addition to learning about diversity, our students celebrate their own. On-campus programs work to build a community of support for students of varying backgrounds.
The student experience extends beyond academics at the University. We offer many avenues to engage with peers outside the classroom. Student resources include diversity offices, services, and opportunities, as well as many cultural student groups.
National Center for Faculty Diversity & Development (NCFDD)
All graduate students and postdocs can set up individual accounts through which you will have access to webinars, online courses, articles, board discussions and more to support your academic and professional development. Members also receive discounts for programs such as the Dissertation Success Program. Sign up for your account here.
C3 (Creating Connections Consortium)
C3 programs are designed to enhance diversity within the Mellon-supported disciplines, mainly in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. All programs target supports to individuals at critical junctures along the academic pipeline, from undergraduate studies to the professoriate. Opportunities for graduate students include:
Postdoctoral fellowships at Bates, Connecticut, Middlebury, and Williams Colleges
Participation in C3 Annual Summit, an annual gathering of undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, faculty and administrators from all C3 and LADO partner institutions
ACM-CIC Faculty Fellowship Program
UChicago graduate students, recent graduate alumni, and postdocs are invited and encouraged to register their interest in being considered for tenure-track faculty positions at any of the 14 liberal arts institutions that comprise the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. These positions are enhanced by a two-year fellowship from the Mellon Foundation, providing critical supports for research and professional development.
Diverse Graduate Student and Postdoc Listhosts
All graduate students and postdocs who self-identify in the university’s Academic Information System (AIS) as being a member of a historically underrepresented minority group can subscribe to these lists to receive news and announcements about diversity initiatives at UChicago and within higher education more generally.
Diversity Advisory Board (DAB)
The UChicagoGRAD Diversity Advisory Board (DAB) is a group of students from across the university who advise UChicagoGRAD and others in developing programs and resources related to diversity in graduate education and experience. DAB also serves to connect campus-wide graduate student groups with each other and University leadership. Board membership reflects students who have consistently demonstrated a commitment to enhancing diversity, inclusion, access, and equity in higher education.
Joel D. Jackson is graduate student in the Evening Master’s Program at the Harris School of Public Policy. He also serves as the University of Chicago Medicine Director of Inclusion and Equity Strategies for the Urban Health Initiative, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Joel received his Bachelor of Arts in 2000 as the first male to major in Women’s Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He also has over 20 years of experience working in social justice, facilitating anti-oppression training and serving in the field of HIV prevention. After completing his Master’s Program, he plans to further his education seeking a degree in Divinity. He is interested in exploring the field of Public Theology as a way to combine his education, experiences and interests. Joel views himself as a care partner helping to contribute to a legacy of progress, inclusion and health equity for the greater Chicago community.
Kassandra Barrera Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Pratice
Kassandra Barrera is a first year A.M. student at the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice. Originally from the suburbs of Chicago she spent the last 12 years in Texas and obtained her bachelor’s in public health from the University of Texas at Austin in 2019. After working in consulting and research the last 3 years, she made the move back to Chicago to pursue a career in social work. After graduation she hopes to obtain her licensure as a clinician and work on improving minority and immigrant communities’ quality of life through improved access to financial and mental health resources. She strongly believes in the strength of prevention, community, and learning from each other. In her free times, she enjoys taking walks, spending time with family, exploring new places, cooking, and any creative activity.
Joseph Olalusi Harris School of Public Policy
Joseph is from Chicago, Illinois and graduated from Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men in 2015, as a Gates Millennium Scholar and Valedictorian. He then attended Cornell University SC Johnson College of Business, graduating in 2019. Since college, Joseph relocated back to Chicago to continue his pursuit of community engagement and impact.
In the summers of 2020 and 2021 Joseph partnered with Urban Prep Englewood Campus to facility a Sewing Summer Program in partnership with After School Matters called “Gambit – Sew What?.” Some of his interests today are formalizing Gambit as an IRS designated tax filing Not-for-Profit and purchasing real estate for business development in Chicago’s predominately Black communities, such as Englewood, Auburn Gresham, and Roseland.
During the weekdays, Joseph is a Risk Consulting Associate for RSM US LLP where he has worked for the last two years in pursuit of a Certified Public Accounting license.
Joseph is also a tailor, community organizer, and an aspiring political activist. This August, Joseph completed his Master of Education at University of Illinois Chicago and upon completion began his pursuit of a Master of Public Policy at University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.
Maia Clare Biological Sciences Division
Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, I am a recent Purdue graduate, where I got my B.S. in Biology with minors in chemistry and anthropology. I am now at UChicago getting my PhD in cancer biology. In addition to being a huge science nerd, I am also passionate about health disparities in cancer and increasing diverse representation in the science fields. In my free time, I love to read and play video games.
Calixto Mateos Salles Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering
Calixto was born and raised in Mexico City where from a young age he was very interested in biology and engineering. He came to the US for high school, attended Johns Hopkins University where he studied Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and is now at UChicago pursuing a PhD in Molecular Engineering under the guidance of Dr. Melody Swartz. Calixto has been involved in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work since undergrad and has continued it into his graduate work. He is involved with GRIT (Graduate Retention Initiative Team) at UChicago as well as being one of the founding members of the UChicago SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) Chapter. Calixto joined the DAB in 2021 and he is looking forward to helping with the Boards mission!
Christian Gaona Executive Board Member, Campus and community Engagement: Chair
Hello, my name is Christian Gaona (he/him/his) , I am an Austin TX permanent transplant to Chicago. Currently earning a Master’s in Public Policy at Harris School of Public Policy.
Shalise Burch Biological Sciences Division
I am a PhD Candidate in the Developmental, Regeneration and Stem Cell Biology Program (DRSB). As a member of Tim Sanders lab, I study neurodevelopment by examining the Sonic Hedgehog signaling pathway to investigate the dorsal ventral patterning of the midbrain. I hold a BS and MS in Biological Science with interests in disease, translational research, and biotech. I am Maidu Native American, originally from the Sierra Nevada mountains. I am passionate about advocating and promoting higher education among the Native community as well as all underrepresented minorities in academia. Outside science, I volunteer at local animal rescues, I would call myself a foodie and enjoy spending time with my friends.
Adaora Ekwonu Executive Board Member, Campus and community Engagement: Chair
Adaora is a 2nd-year medical student at the Pritzker School of Medicine. She grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and graduated from the University of Chicago in 2020 with a BA in Psychology. As a medical student, Adaora has been involved in SNMA, the Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP), and the Maria Shelter Psychiatry Clinic. In her free time, she loves to watch horror movies and musicals, listen to music, and watch her younger brothers play football. When she’s not on campus, you can most likely find her at brunch or trying out a new restaurant for dinner downtown.
Crystal D. Kimbrough Executive Board Member, Campus and community Engagement: Chair
Registered Nurse of 36+ years experience working within various healthcare landscapes.
Assisting various populations with healthcare improvement. My experiences in diversity, inclusion and equity from the lens of a African American, Female Professional was often affected by bias inequities. Current life mission includes improving the experiences for others, insuring policies and procedures embraces fairness in all respects of the word.
Ashley Tovar Executive Board Member, Campus and community Engagement: Chair
I am a first-generation student at the Crown Family School of Social Work. I have served as a CNA, EMT-B, and volunteered at hospitals, nursing homes, community outreach programs, tutoring and more. After humble volunteer experiences in Guatemala and Africa, I pursued a social work career, with a passion to provide adequate resources to underrepresented populations. Specifically, my goal is to work with children in academic success towards higher education access. I am dedicated to advocating for children’s well-being as I believe every child deserves to reach their optimal potential, no matter life’s circumstances. During the summer I love taking road trips or relaxing at the beach. My indoor hobby is baking. I simply enjoy going out for fun whether it be to catch a good movie, bowing, ice skating, or a nice walk, always looking for recommendations!
Cristian Hernandez Executive Board Member, Campus and community Engagement: Chair
Cristian Hernandez is a second-year medical student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Cristian received his B.S. in Neuroscience at Yale University, then spent two years working at UCLA on the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study. He is interested in psychiatry as a specialty, with research interests in development, dementia, and social determinants of health. At Pritzker, Cristian currently serves as the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) president and a volunteer coordinator for the Community Health Clinic.
Katie Vasquez Executive Board Member, Campus and community Engagement: Chair
Katie is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology working with Alex Shaw. She graduated from Wesleyan University in 2020 with a B.A. in Psychology. Katie is interested in how people behave differently in order to ingratiate themselves to their peers, and how this ability develops during childhood. In her spare time, Katie loves working with the animal rescue, One Tail at a Time, playing Fantasy Baseball, and watching reality TV.
Samer Hassan Biological Sciences Division
Samer Hassan Saleh is a part of the Palestinian diaspora, born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela; he grew up in the US as an undocumented immigrant hyper-aware of marginalized communities’ realities and the institutional hurdles placed in front of them. After gaining the Student Government President position in the City Colleges of Chicago, he advocated for fellow community college students who worked in tandem to push administrators towards tuition reform and accept student voices in their decision-making processes.
Samer partnered with numerous organizations such as Chicago Votes, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and Young Invincibles to bring student voices into decision-making tables. Moreover, he provided an immigrant perspective to Bill Gates, who eventually began lobbying Congress to reform the FAFSA application process.
Samer completed his undergrad degree at Columbia University New York in 2020. He is currently the Storytelling and Engagement Manager at Young Invincibles and is part of the EMP cohort at the Harris School of Public Policy.
Susan Okrah Executive Board Member, Campus and community Engagement: Chair
Susan is the fourth year PhD student in the Pritzker school of Molecular engineering. Within the PME, she serves as a member of the diversity, equity and inclusion committee. She also currently serves as a co-president of UChicago’s national society of black engineers chapter.
Andrea Flores Executive Board Member, Campus and community Engagement: Chair
Andrea Flores is a first-year student in the Master of the Arts Program in the Humanities, Two-Year Language Option. Prior to starting her graduate studies at UChicago, she was a Spanish teacher for 5 years with a commitment to implementing diversity and inclusion within her classroom and curriculum. While at UChicago, Andrea plans to continue her studies and research on Spanish, Hispanic food culture and cuisine, and gender and sexuality studies.
Lilly Gullickson Biological Sciences Division
Lilly Gullickson is a first year Master of Public Policy student in Harris. She is interested in social entrepreneurship, and aims to use her MPP to create businesses with social impact. Lilly’s background is in entrepreneurship and risk management, and she graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison this past May. Lilly is passionate about creating safe spaces to foster a sense of belonging for underrepresented students, and she is eager to contribute to the UChicagoGRAD Diversity Advisory Board.
2023 Transcending Boundaries Symposium: “Speaking Truth, Transformation or Healing”
A student-led and organized research symposium designed to highlight the work of underrepresented minority graduate and postdoctoral scholars at the University of Chicago and build community amongst scholars of color on campus. This year’s symposium is an opportunity for students to share their process of discovering truths that can facilitate transformation or healing in their field or discipline. Speaking “Truth, Transformation or Healing” can include work that:
– Challenges, proves or disproves current thought or research in your field
– Offers a transformative reframe or innovative solution to a problem
– Sharing creative ideas for further study that fosters healing within the community
A peer mentoring program specifically for self-identified underrepresented minority PhD students. First year PhD students are matched with 2nd year+ PhD students to foster peer support and community.
Higher Education Internship for GRAD Diversity & Inclusion
Together with the Chicago Center for Teaching and Learning, UChicagoGRAD oversees and facilitates the work of five graduate interns conducting work on behalf of graduate diversity and inclusion to inform programs, practices, and policy here at UChicago. For more information, contact Joseph Butler at email@example.com.
Race & Pedagogy Working Group
The Race and Pedagogy Working Group at the University of Chicago is a community of scholars and educators interested in exploring the intersection of pedagogy and racial justice across disciplines. Our aim is to foster a community of scholars and educators committed to addressing race as a subject of both practical and theoretical interest in our classrooms. To that end, we organize events and assemble resources that encourage the cultivation of new pedagogical tools and approaches for thinking about race across the disciplines.
The Race and Pedagogy Working Group is supported by The Chicago Center for Teaching and Learning, UChicagoGRAD Diversity & Inclusion, and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.