The Biophysics community of Johns Hopkins University recognizes that inclusive excellence is best achieved when the education and research mission is accomplished by a diverse group of faculty, staff, and students working together in a welcoming and supportive atmosphere. The spring of 2020 was marked by reminders that racial inequities affect all aspects of society—including scientific education and research—and we are redoubling our efforts to remedy inequalities in our environment.
PMB and Race Equity Action Items
In the spirit of nurturing a more diverse and inclusive community, we are committed to a wide range of specific actions. We have taken many so far but are striving to improve. The Biophysics Race and Equity Group (as described below) welcomes feedback and suggestions at any time, as does the PMB Steering Committee as a whole.
Recruitment and Admissions
- We have eliminated the requirement for the GRE for admission. #GRExit!
- We use a holistic approach to the review of applications.
- We encourage applications from students of diverse backgrounds by regularly attending SACNAS, ABRCMS, and NOBCChE, and have instituted fee waivers for those attending these conferences.
- We send programmatic brochures and “Dear Colleague” letters to a wide range of undergraduate institutions, including a curated HBCU and HSI list.
- We establish liaisons and partnerships with MARC programs and BUILD institutions, maintain a presence at recruiting fairs in PUIs, HBCUs, and HSIs; participate in Leadership Alliance activities; and support faculty presentations at schools with high enrollment of URM students.
- We are a member of the Institute for Broadening Participation and reach applicants through the Pathways to Science website.
- We take advantage of the National Names Registry to reach additional URM students.
- We host a table at the Education & Career Opportunities Fair of the annual Biophysical Society Meeting.
- We host personalized visits for interested undergraduate students who happen to be in the Baltimore area. During such a visit like, a prospective student can meet with faculty and students and see our labs. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to indicate your interest.
- We participate in the “Second Look Weekend” program to recruit URM applicants.
- We promote our students for national and local graduate fellowships (HHMI Gilliam, Johns Hopkins Boggs, etc.) and various honors (Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society, etc.)
Biophysics Experience at Hopkins
- We foster an open dialogue and continued education regarding the insidious ways in which all forms of discrimination persist in both the larger academic enterprise and the biophysics community.
- We have established a Biophysics Race and Equity Group (REG) consisting of faculty, staff and students.
- The mission of the Biophysics REG is to foster a welcoming and inclusive climate that celebrates the contribution of each of its members, regardless of race.
- The Biophysics REG partners with the PMB steering committee to develop and implement anti-racist and anti-discriminatory policies.
- The Biophysics REG is invited to share its findings and recommendations with the Steering Committee during its biannual meetings.
- The Biophysics REG organizes regular events open to PMB students, faculty, and staff, and to all members of the Hopkins Biophysics community. These events include workshops, presentations from outside speakers, and discussions of books, films, and scholarly publications related to racism and inequity at large and in the STEM fields.
- The Biophysics REG is initiating an annual climate survey to assess the well-being of students.
- The Biophysics REG is open to all interested parties and welcomes new members at any time. Drop an email to email@example.com to indicate your interest.
- We promote the participation of community members at Hopkins-wide events around issues of racism and inclusivity.
- We promote attendance at the annual Diversity and Inclusion Conference.
- When opportunities for hiring arise, we seek the alignment of faculty and staff composition with local demographics.
- Our participating departments seek seminar visits by expert scientists of all backgrounds.
- The PMB students annually select a student-invited speaker.
Outreach to the local community
- We initiated and now run with partners a unique summer experience called Biophysics Research for Baltimore Teens (BRBT) that offers paid internships with hands-on research experiences for local high school students. After a “biophysics boot camp,” our Biophysics labs host students in their own labs during the summer.
- We invite BRBT high school students to present at the Annual Retreat of the Institute for Biophysical Research.
- We host interns from the BRBT group in our laboratories for additional experience throughout the academic year.
- We guide visits of the campus for students from the UMBC Meyerhoff Program and invite them to our annual biophysics retreat.
- We encourage participation in the STEM Achievement in Baltimore Elementary Schools Program (SABES), which offers outreach and tutoring to local Baltimore schools.
- We encourage participation in the Summer Academic Research Experience Program (Summer Academic Research Experience), which hosts local high school students from low-income and diverse backgrounds to conduct hands-on biomedical research.
- We invite high school students to the events of “Biophysics Week” hosted on our campus and organized by the Biophysical Society.