UF Chemistry DEI Initiatives

We are proud that our Department is implementing initiatives as we strive towards our goals. Some of these efforts include:

  • Black Friday Newsletters in celebration of Black History Month
  • Profiles Celebrating our Black Alumni and Colleagues in celebration of Black History Month
  • Graduate Student Peer Mentoring Program (contact Prof. Boone Prentice or Shahbaz Gardezi with questions)
    • Graduate school can be a big adjustment, especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. At UF Chemistry, incoming students are matched with a current graduate student mentor who serves as a peer point of contact for questions about UF and Gainesville.
    • Graduate mentors and mentees meet frequently to discuss the adjustment to graduate school life and help to promote a sense of graduate community! This included a welcome kick-off event at Lake Wauburg for our inaugural fall semester in 2021, which we hope to repeat annually! Our graduate student mentors serve as ambassadors who bring their energy, enthusiasm, and compassion to help welcome our new students!
  • American Chemical Society Project SEED Program (contact Prof. Steven Harris with questions)
    • An 8-week summer research internship opportunity that seeks to expose economically disadvantaged, high achieving high school students to chemistry research.
    • Originally scheduled for 2020, but cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our department will be accepting 6-8 students for the inaugural 2022 program.
  • Elimination of GRE scores as a requirement for graduate student admission (contact our Director of Graduate Students, Prof. Aaron Aponick, with questions)
    • The financial burden associated with taking and studying for the GRE can limit access and exclude students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Additionally, there is evidence that GRE scores do not correlate with graduate student success.
    • In further consultation with the Graduate Selection Committee and the Graduate Studies Office, our department has removed the GRE requirement for program admission.
  • Virtual Recruiting Weekend for International Prospective Graduate Students (contact our Director of Graduate Students, Prof. Aaron Aponick, with questions)
    • Despite the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, a serendipitous discovery was the success of our department’s 2020 Virtual Prospective Student weekend for domestic students!
    • While we will return to in-person Recruiting Weekends for domestic students as soon as it is safe to do so, the Graduate Studies Office will continue holding a Virtual Recruiting Weekend for international students so that these prospective students can learn about our program, UF, and Gainesville!
  • International Student Handbook (contact Doory Dan with questions)
    • We have produced a handbook for international students to help their transition to UF, Gainesville, and the USA. Check it out here!
    • The handbook includes resources with information on visas, obtaining a driver’s license, local transportation, lifestyle, apartment searching, applying for a social security number, passports, UF campus organizations, taxes, what to expect from local weather, common societal interactions, social life in Gainesville, emergency numbers, and more!
  • Attentiveness to Diversity in Faculty Hiring
    • Numerous studies have shown that defining evaluation criteria from the outset reduces the effects of implicit bias based on race and gender that disproportionately affect minorities, allowing for more equitable evaluations during hiring. As such, objective metrics for faculty candidate evaluations are formulated by each search committee and approved by the Department Chair before any faculty job opening is posted.
    • Each faculty search committee now contains at least one DEI Committee member who serves as an advisory member. The role of the advisory member is to help ensure that all underrepresented minority candidates are considered/discussed and that they are fairly evaluated, aiding in equity and accountability.
  • Travel Awards (coming soon!)