Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)

GCB is committed to being a supportive environment for students and faculty of all backgrounds. This commitment extends through our teaching, mentoring, community outreach, and recruitment of scholars from groups minoritized in STEM. We are responsible for challenging inequities in higher education and providing scholars from diverse backgrounds with the opportunity to thrive. This means we will continuously educate ourselves about EDI-related matters, improve GCB based on what we learn, and welcome feedback regarding our practices.

We affirm, first and foremost, that our students should feel free to express themselves in non-English languages in classrooms, laboratories, offices, and other shared (including virtual) spaces without fearing consequences or reprimand for doing so.

In parallel, we recognize that English is important as our lingua franca for teaching and conducting research. As such, we encourage our students to communicate with their colleagues in English about their studies, and, when using a non-English language, to be considerate of others in the same space who do not use the same language. This helps to create a welcoming environment for individuals of all language backgrounds.

Additionally, we will not tolerate any degree of harassment—in English or any other language—towards our students. This applies to language that promotes hostility or discrimination based on (but not limited to) the following:

  • Race, ethnic/national origin, or citizenship status
  • Sex, gender identity/expression, or sexual orientation
  • Religion or creed
  • Veteran status
  • Marital or socioeconomic status
  • Pregnancy status
  • Physical ability or mental health
  • Age
  •  Educational background

As a GCB student, if you experience any language-related obstacles, harassment, or discrimination in an academic context, please contact any of the individuals or groups below to report the situation. International students may also contact the International Student & Scholar Services for assistance.

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Open Houses

In the fall, GCB hosts Open Houses, which are information sessions to give an introduction to and answer prospective applicants’ questions about genomics, computational biology, bioinformatics, and the GCB application process. GCB faculty and current students participate in these sessions. Session dates for 2021 are October 13 and November 4, 7pm ET. More information can be found here.

Summer CompBio Preview (SCBP)

In the summer of 2021, SCBP was launched to give undergraduate students a chance to learn about computational biology in both lecture and hands-on research settings. More information can be found here.

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(Under construction!)

Faculty and Peer Support for Pre-Dissertation Students

GCB maintains various initiatives to help first-year students adjust to Penn, Philadelphia, and graduate-school life. More information about these initiatives can be found under Resources > For 1st and 2nd years > Support From Faculty and Upper-Year Students.

Tutoring

Tutoring resources are available to students in addition to instructor and TA office hours.

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Diversity Action Plan at PENN Genomics (DAPPG)

DAPPG is an NHGRI R25-funded program that aims to “increase the number of underrepresented students choosing a career in genome sciences and genomic medicine by providing opportunity for hands-on genomics research” (from DAPPG website). The program is open to undergraduate and post-baccalaureate scholars. GCB faculty members Maja Bucan and Junhyong Kim are the directors of DAPPG. Most DAPPG faculty mentors are affiliated with GCB, and GCB students who are funded by the Computational Genomics T32 training grant teach mini-courses as part of DAPPG.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Learner (IDEAL) Research

IDEAL aims to promote inclusion, diversity, and equity among research trainees in the Perelman School of Medicine through hosting summer undergraduate and post-baccalaureate programs, recruiting trainees from diverse backgrounds, and advocating for current trainees. More information can be found here.

Current GCB representatives in IDEAL:

  • Faculty: Mary Regina Boland, Marylyn Ritchie, Ben Voight
  • Students: Jenea Adams, Amy Campbell
Biomedical Graduate Student Association (BGSA) Student Groups
NGG-GLIA ACTION Against Bias

The ACTION Against Bias committee within the Neuroscience Graduate Group’s Graduate-Led Initiatives and Activities is “dedicated to recruiting, supporting, and celebrating a diverse NGG student body, and to training NGG students to recognize and fight against bias and structural inequities that exist within both their research and their community” (from website).

Penn Medicine Groups/Initiatives

Other organizations can be found under Resources > Overview > Identity/Cultural based support.

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The EDI committee is composed of GCB faculty and students who create initiatives, work with other GCB committees, and partner with organizations in the broader Penn community to ensure an equitable learning environment for all GCB students. The committee is led by one faculty chair and two student co-chairs. A list of current committee members can be found here.

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