I want to get involved...

There are multiple ways that you can get involved with ongoing efforts to make the Department of Chemistry a more inclusive community and equitable place to work and learn.  The information provided below gives you some information on the groups leading efforts in the department and some current goals/action items for these groups.  We hope to update this site regularly to provide transparency in our efforts and progress within the department.

Department of Chemistry Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

This is the formal committee established by the Department of Chemistry to work towards diversity, equity, and inclusion within department.

Current members (2020-2021) in alphabetical order

Scott Daly (Faculty representative) scott-daly@uiowa.edu

Hoang Dang (Graduate student representative) hoang-dang@uiowa.edu

Tori Forbes (Faculty representative and committee chair) tori-forbes@uiowa.edu

Brenna Goode (Staff representative and liaison to departmental executive committee) brenna-goode@uiowa.edu

Shonda Monette (Staff representative)   shonda-monette@uiowa.edu

Chathuri Kaluarachchi (Graduate student representative) chathuri-kaluarachchi@uiowa.edu

Ramin Ordikhani Seyedlar (Graduate Student Advisory Board (GSAB) representative) ramin-ordikhani@uiowa.edu

Florence Williams (Faculty representative) florence-williams@uiowa.edu

DOC DEI Committee Action Items (2020-2021)

A) Ratify the Anti-racism statement and publish it on the Department of Chemistry website.  UPDATE:  Statement finalized and currently posted on the website.

B) Articulate current and potential inequalities associated with the graduate comprehensive exam and work with the graduate education committee to normalize a systematic evaluation to address issues. UPDATE:  A survey was developed that was distributed to graduate students to determine perceptions about equity for the comprehensive exam.  The results were summarized and sent to the Director for Graduate Studies and Graduate Education Committee.

C) Identify issues with time-to-degree and formal mentoring for graduate students.  UPDATE:  This action item was tabled until next academic year because priority was initially placed upon the comprehensive exam survey.

D) Gather feedback from the staff to improve communication with the faculty – Articulate issues and discuss path forward for the department.  UPDATE:  This action item was tabled until next academic year due to issues in scheduling.

E) Utilize the Departmental DEI website, listservs, flyers, and weekly bulletin to improve access to resources. UPDATE:  Representatives from the DEI graduate cohort developed a DEI resources flyer that is displayed in the department elevators/research groups/notice boards.  This flyer includes QR codes that link to mental health, employment, and LBGTQ+ resources, a comments section, and a place to anonymously report microagressions or other concerns.  

F) Develop an anti-racism workshop for DOC graduate students. UPDATE:  The DEI graduate cohort has taken the lead and developed slides for the event but have decided to table the workshop until Fall 2021.

G) Develop a recurring survey for Spring 2021 to evaluate DEI issues and efforts within the DOC. UPDATE:  The survey has been created, but we decided to wait until early next fall for the release due to concerns about low survey participation and burnout at the end of the spring 2021 semester.

H) Contribute events to the CLAS “The intersection of STEM and Race:  The UI experience.” event in March 2021.  UPDATE:  Hosted two colloquium speakers during March 2021 that presented on DEI efforts in chemistry and the DEI graduate cohort organized an Identity Awareness week.  


University of Iowa Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Graduate Cohort 

This group is open to all graduate students who are interested in addressing issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in chemistry and STEM. 


Establishment: We are a collective of Chemistry graduate students at the University of Iowa who want to help foster a healthier culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are students of various races, nationalities, experiences, ages, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities and more. Informally, we are an extension of the Committee for DEI at the department.

Motivation: We have formed this cohort in light of highlighted civil injustice in our country and in response to a consistent lack of support for graduate students of diverse identities. We acknowledge the heightened barriers for students with one or more marginalized identities and thus, we aim to offer a platform of support, networking, and opportunity that is accessible to all students.

Mission: We are working to do the following things:

  1. Educate students on concepts relating to identity, social justice, and equity
  2. Work as a bridge for underrepresented groups in the chemistry department to identify and address issues they face
  3. Implement protocols, programs, and fixing of existing initiatives within the chemistry department to create a space in which all can succeed

Membership: We have voluntary meetings every month to discuss DEI issues and plan initiatives. We stay connected through our Microsoft Teams page, where all our meeting resources are posted. To get involved, reach out to graduate student representatives via email (hoang-dang@uiowa.edu, chathuri-kaluarachchi@uiowa.edu, & ramin-ordikhani@uiowa.edu); anyone at the university can join the Teams page: “Chemistry DEI Cohort 2020.”

Representation: Three members of this cohort are chosen to be a part of the DEI committee. These members will be elected at the beginning of every year and voted upon by the DEI cohort.