Messersmith Lab Statement on Diversity

We are an interdisciplinary group of scientists and engineers interested in understanding structure/processing/property relationships in biological materials, and in developing new materials to solve important problems in healthcare, the environment and everyday life.

We welcome and value the perspectives, experiences and contributions of all group members regardless of their ethnicity, race, nationality, gender identity, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, religion, and culture. We strive to identify and openly discuss issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, through individual self-reflection and collectively through regular group discussions.

Tangible examples of DEI activities that we participate in, either individually or as a group:

  • on a regular basis (usually biweekly), we set aside time at group meeting to discuss issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging
  • we offer summer and academic year research opportunities for members of groups traditionally underrepresented in some fields or to those who have faced barriers to entering higher education altogether, using our own lab resources as well as through participation in institutional programs such as the Amgen Scholars and the Bioengineering Scholars programs
  • we participate in STEM outreach programs run by organizations or community groups that are designed to enhance opportunities and outcomes for underrepresented students at all levels
  • we will conduct an annual lab climate survey to identify areas for improvement

We embrace the following best practices:

  • we expect new lab members to share the values listed here
  • recruitment of new lab members is done holistically, taking into consideration many things: passion for learning and discovery; prior experiences; academic interests and background; personal attributes; fit to our group culture
  • we ensure each junior trainee has a direct mentoring relationship with a senior lab member
  • we offer junior trainees the opportunity to present their research findings to the group
  • we support the professional development of group members through participation in research conferences
  • we encourage and support non-academic career choices, for example, science policy, writing, industry, non-science careers, etc.
  • we acknowledge that we all make mistakes, and that we can learn from our mistakes and take action to improve ourselves



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