The Graduate Student Organization Series features profiles of social, professional, and affinity groups for graduate students to help you expand your personal and professional communities. This week meet GSDS: Graduate Students for Diversity in the Sciences!

By Chava Nerenberg, Graduate Programming Assistant
Friday, September 25th, 2020 - 9:30am

The Graduate Student Organization Series features profiles of social, professional, and affinity groups for graduate students.

This week's article features Graduate Students for Diversity in the Sciences.


The mission of the Graduate Students for Diversity in Science is to create a student community and to promote diversity and inclusion of race, gender identification, culture, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status and thought in the STEM fields.

GSDS is composed of an interdisciplinary group of young scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). The cornerstone of the group lies in recognition of cultural heritage and diversity of many exceptional scientists who have set foundations through research in their respective disciplines and across many boundaries. The group aims to promote underrepresented group participation in the sciences and foster an inclusive atmosphere that celebrates diversity. GSDS tackles this using a combination of lecture series and outreach events.


By means of generous support from the Dow Foundation, GSDS conceived the Dow Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series. Through these seminars, GSDS honors the outstanding accomplishments of world renowned scientists who belong to underrepresented groups or have achieved success in a country that they have adopted as their home, as well as scientists who have made considerable impact in improving the climate of diversity of STEM. The Dow Foundation Lecture Series provides the setting for scientific and social interactions between students, professors, and industrial scientists by hosting open receptions for all invited speakers.

Through partnerships with local California State Universities (CSU), GSDS also hosts select undergraduate students to visit the campus and meet our graduate students, faculty, as well as the invited Dow Distinguished Lecturer. In the same vein, GSDS members have the opportunity to visit various CSU campuses to speak to undergraduates about their experiences in our reverse site visits. GSDS hopes to be able to provide CSU students with an experience that illustrates the path of a scientific career and encourage those interested to pursue a PhD in a STEM field.


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Timnit Kefela (she/her): Co-President

Serena Seshadri (she/her): Co-President

Melanie Adams (she/her): Treasurer

Simone H. Stewart (she/her): Marketing Director

Jasmine Childress (she/her): Lecture Series Director

Sheila Kulkarni (they/them): CSU Outreach Director

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