Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


We* define diversity as the structural and social differences that form the basis of inequality, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic class, disability, religion, citizenship status, and country of origin. We are concerned with how differences in power and opportunities align with social categories and identities, and how these differences distinguish individuals and groups in ways that privilege some and constrain others.

Our mission has three main thrusts:

  1. Culture: Establish a climate inclusive of all students regardless of social category or identity such that we all have equitable opportunity, access, and support during our time as PhD students.
  2. Policy: Advocate for institutional policies that support an inclusive climate, recruit and retain diverse students, faculty, and staff, and ensure everyone can contribute to and benefits from department culture.
  3. Transparency: Assess our progress and share our findings towards achieving equity for marginalized community members by administering surveys, collecting and evaluating department-wide data, holding department-wide meetings, and inviting formal, informal or anonymous feedback.

*Adapted from Barnard College Diversity & Inclusion Mission Statement (link).

DE&I student working group contacts

  • Anthony Abel (he/him/his), DE&I Co-Chair, anthonyabel@berkeley.edu

Anonymous contact form

  • Helen Bergstrom (she/her/hers), DE&I Co-Chair, helen_bergstrom@berkeley.edu

Anonymous contact form

  • Sarah Yang (she/her/hers), sarah.yang@berkeley.edu

Anonymous contact form

Anonymous comments

Anonymous contact forms are available to anyone who wants to share a comment, concern, or suggestion about anything relating to the CBE department or GSAC.

These forms are intended to complement our formal and informal feedback systems (climate survey, GSAC meetings, etc.) by providing an anonymous means of communication. Anonymity may be desired by members of our community who wish to share something sensitive or are otherwise concerned with having their name attached to a comment or suggestion.

Each of the above forms are managed only by the person it is associated with -- no one else has access. They are responsible for exercising their best judgment on how to proceed with the information they receive. Unless otherwise requested, they may discuss comments with other members of the working group, and may forward the information to relevant parties (e.g. the faculty Equity and Inclusion officer, currently Markita Landry). Comments reporting harassment, discrimination, or assault are by necessity forwarded to OPHD.

If you prefer a different contact method, GSAC also maintains an anonymous comment form here, which is managed and accessible only to the GSAC president (currently Lorena Grundy).

We note that GSACs ability to effect change is limited by our ability to act collectively. We are developing a similar anonymous reporting process that goes directly to the department, who would likely be able to implement change more rapidly.

Ongoing efforts

  • Establish department funding to enable students to attend conferences for underrepresented minority (URM) students and faculty.
  • Host ~semesterly URM-focused events to provide education, establish resources, or create space for organizing.
  • Collaborate with CGLC (Department of Chemistry) to host monthly diversity and inclusion focus groups
  • Collaborate with College of Engineering and engineering student groups to aid URM student community and recruitment
  • Administer and report on yearly climate survey to the department
  • Draft a strategic plan in collaboration with the department and invite review and oversight by the Office for Equity and Inclusion
  • Implement holistic metrics for graduate student admission which considers the differential access, opportunity, and support for students from marginalized communities
  • Incorporate DE&I efforts into faculty performance and tenure reviews
  • Develop an anonymous bias and microaggression reporting procedure to make the department aware of challenges students face
  • Establish yearly, department-wide, SVSH prevention training
  • Increase graduate student salary commensurate with soaring cost of living in Berkeley


  • Acquired funding to attend the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) annual conference in 2019
  • Hosted a Women’s Brunch with guided conversation between female faculty and students on challenges faced uniquely by women in STEM
  • Won seed grant funding from the PATH to Care Center to establish monthly diversity and inclusion focus groups with CGLC
  • Established a DE&I committee with two assigned faculty members (details TK on department website)
  • Earned a $2,000/yr salary increase (to $36,000/yr) beginning in the 2019 academic year