Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Diversity and inclusion have become increasingly important to companies and universities looking to stay competitive and recruit more quality talent. Research has shown that more diverse teams do higher-quality, more widely cited scientific research. Supporting diverse teams once they have been built may require changes to workplace culture in order to create a truly inclusive environment. The Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace panel focused on the successes, opportunities, and challenges of building and maintaining diverse teams.  Panelists will discuss individual and institutional approaches to creating inclusive spaces and celebrating diversity in research.   

Babak Momeni   Assistant professor of biology at Boston College

Babak Momeni

Assistant professor of biology at Boston College

Babak Momeni is originally from Iran. He received a B.Sc. and a M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology (Tehran, Iran). He went on to Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA) and received a M.S. in Physics and his PhD in Electrical Engineering, working on integrated optical devices. He was a postdoctoral research associate at Georgia Tech from 2007 to 2009, before joining Shou Lab at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle, WA) as a postdoctoral fellow in Quantitative and Synthetic Biology. He started his current position as an assistant professor of biology at Boston College in 2015. His lab studies microbial interactions and the collective behaviors in microbial communities with applications in human microbiota and environmental bioremediation. He is a recipient of a Life Sciences Research Foundation fellowship (2012-2015; sponsored by Moore Foundation) and a recipient of an Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research (2018-2020; sponsored by Smith Family Foundation). He has also been a member of eLife early-career advisory group (ECAG) since its inception in 2014. In this capacity he has been exploring best practices for evaluating scientific contributions, as well as current challenges and opportunities for incorporating diversity in science

Claudia Astorino   Evolutionary biologist and biological anthropologist at Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY

Claudia Astorino

Evolutionary biologist and biological anthropologist at Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY

Claudia Astorino is an evolutionary biologist and biological anthropologist pursuing her Ph.D. in Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Her research interests include sexual dimorphism and dental evolutionary development within humans, fossil hominins, mammals, and fossil vertebrates. Claudia is a proud member of the LGBTQIA community and identifies as intersex, genderqueer, and a lesbian. She has advocated for intersex human rights as the former director of Organization Intersex International's (OII) US chapter and the founder and co-organizer of NYC's Annual Intersex Awareness Day events. She has raised awareness about intersex issues via writing (The Guardian, Everyone Is Gay, Autostraddle), public lectures (NYU, Columbia, Bluestockings Books), and filmed interviews (First Person PBS Digital, Circa News). Claudia advocates for diversity in STEM as a Steering Committee member of gAyAPA, a group serving LGBTQQIAA members of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Sanae Elshourbagy   Educator and community liaison at Boston University

Sanae Elshourbagy

Educator and community liaison at Boston University

Dr. Sanae ElShourbagy Ferreira is a creative scientist and passionate advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in representation in the STEM workforce. She has 10+ years of experience studying disease prevention from the perspectives of nutritional epidemiology, genetics, metabolism, community health, and drug development. Dr. Ferreira holds a Ph.D. in Nutrition & Metabolism from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) where her work identified predictors of racial disparities in childhood obesity to help inform targeted clinical practice of chronic disease prevention. While at BUSM, Dr. Ferreira founded the BU Women’s Professional Development Committee to foster a culture of connection and community and a safe space supporting women in STEM, starting with trainees in biomedical sciences and broadening to include all advocates supporting advancement of women in STEM across the university. In her current roles at BU as an educator and community liaison broadening experiences in scientific training, she enjoys building inspiring connections and cultivating networks that facilitate interdisciplinary learning. Dr. Ferreira is an incoming AAAS Science Technology and Policy Fellow at the National Institutes of Health in the Office of the Director where she will continue to contribute to important work shaping our understanding of and clinical practice addressing environmental influences on child health outcomes. As a visual artist and contributor on numerous platforms, Dr. Ferreira is a firm believer that science is for everyone and invites you to bring your diverse experiences to the table to share your story. Connect with Dr. Ferreira on Twitter (@dietribebys).

Tyrone Porter   Associate Professor at Boston University

Tyrone Porter

Associate Professor at Boston University

Tyrone Porter, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at Boston University (BU). Additionally, he is the Associate Director for the Nanotechnology Innovation Center and Co-Director for the NIH-funded Translational Research in Biomaterials training program. Dr. Porter earned his doctorate degree in Bioengineering from the University of Washington in 2003. He was awarded the Frederick V. Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship and the R. Bruce Lindsay award from the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) in 2003 and 2008, respectively, and in 2017 he was inducted as a Fellow of the ASA. His research interests lie at the intersection between biomedical ultrasound, materials science, biophysics, and nanomedicine. Under his leadership, the Nanomedicine and Medical Acoustics Laboratory (NanoMedAL) at BU has made significant contributions to the use of ultrasound for noninvasive ablation of solid tumors, permeabilizing biological interfaces for drug delivery, and triggering drug release from stimuli-responsive nanocarriers. Recently, Dr. Porter and his team began exploring the blood-brain barrier (BBB), including the causes and effects of BBB breakdown as well as strategies for delivering therapeutics across the BBB for treating brain disorders. Throughout his academic and professional career, Dr. Porter has been a major advocate for diversity and inclusion in academia. As a Faculty Fellow for Diversity & Inclusion at BU, Dr. Porter works with the Associate Provost for Graduate Affairs on increasing diversity and promoting an inclusive environment in the graduate programs.

Shana Rochester   Postdoctoral researcher at Boston Universty Wheelock College of Education and Human Development

Shana Rochester

Postdoctoral researcher at Boston Universty Wheelock College of Education and Human Development

Dr. Shana E. Rochester is an inaugural AACTE/Holmes Postdoctoral Associate in the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development at Boston University. She earned her B.A. in psychology from Spelman College, and her M.A. in educational studies and Ph.D. in education and psychology from the University of Michigan. Shana’s scholarship, supported by the Ford Foundation, focuses on how family-based educational programs and schools can support the academic and social development of pre-K—Grade 3 learners from racially/ethnically minoritized backgrounds and under-resourced communities. Dr. Rochester’s work investigates the multiple contexts in which development takes place (e.g., home, informal settings, schools) and explores how children’s cultural knowledge and out-of-school experiences can be leveraged in ways that improve their learning. In her postdoctoral role, Shana collaborates with museums (e.g., Museum of African American History) to identify research-informed strategies for family engagement. She is currently pursuing a certificate in museum studies alongside her postdoctoral responsibilities and has co-taught a community-based research methods course in partnership with the Boston Children’s Museum.