Diversity & Outreach

Diversity and Inclusion

Here at Carolina, we pride ourselves on our commitment to diversity and inclusion.  The Office of Graduate Education and the BBSP program embrace diversity of both people and thought to foster an environment in which all students can succeed.  We encourage collaboration between people from all walks of life to develop and implement innovative ideas.

Our pledge to increase diversity and inclusion in biomedical research and education encompasses a wide range of services and programs including the UNC Initiative for Maximizing Diversity (IMSD). UNC-IMSD is a NIH-funded program with the goal of increasing the number of scientists from groups historically underrepresented (UR) in the biomedical sciences that attain PhDs in biomedical disciplines and continue on to successful scientific careers.  We aim to provide our UR students with the individualized training – academic support, professional development, community, and mentorship – they need to ensure timely graduation and become self-confident, highly competitive scientists.  Since UNC-IMSD began in 2006, the percentage of UR students matriculating into biomedical PhD programs has increased from 6% to ~20% (for the BBSP 2013 class).  UR scholars are succeeding at UNC with a retention rate of over 80%, and their success is greatly enhanced by the tremendous support available through IMSD.

All (UR and non-UR students) are welcome in our IMSD community.  Our IMSD family of over 70 scholars provides a support system that enriches the graduate career of each participant.  The IMSD community meets monthly for socials and lunches and annual events including a retreat, research symposium, and holiday dinner.  Visit the IMSD website to learn more about the program and connect with our inclusive community of scholars.

Through our Diversity Affairs Office, we offer to pay the BBSP application fee for qualifying UR applicants.  To learn more about this resource, please contact the Director of Diversity Affairs at imsd@unc.edu.

UNC is a progressive institution with an increasingly open and inclusive environment.  The LGBTQ center is very active on campus and has developed a SafeZone training program to build awareness of and skill for working with people of all gender and sexual orientations.  In 2012, because of the efforts of this group and the openness of the UNC administration to concerns of all students, the campus approved gender non-specific housing for undergraduates.  HAVEN/Safe@UNC offers an interpersonal violence awareness and prevention program, and Opening Doors is a national diversity/inclusion training program sponsored by the School of Medicine but open to anyone on campus, including graduate students.  Many staff in the Office of Graduate Education have participated in these SafeZone, HAVEN and Opening Doors training programs to become allies for all students, including those who are differently-abled, with various gender and sexual orientations, struggling with interpersonal violence or mental health concerns or from different religious backgrounds.

UNC also has a variety of centers and programs for specific interests groups including women, ethnic groups, international students and more.  See the right hand side of this page for links to the many Diversity and Inclusion programs/services available to UNC students and staff.

Science Outreach

The goal of Science Outreach at UNC is to build a bridge between our research community and local schools.  Through a variety of of unique, interactive educational programs, we aim to bring research principles and scientific discovery from the laboratory into the K-12 classrooms of North Carolina and beyond.  This occurs through providing educational resources to teachers, presenting scientific workshops in local classrooms, and exposing students to rewarding careers in scientific research.  At the most basic level, science outreach is about providing opportunities for scientists, teachers, and students to interact and collaborate.

Science Outreach at UNC is heavily driven by our active and dynamic graduate student community! During our flagship outreach event, NC DNA Day, over 80 UNC graduate students and postdocs visit NC high schools to share their love of science with the next generation of researchers. Getting involved in science outreach is a great way to foster your own excitement for science, to communicate promising scientific advances to the public, and to demonstrate a “broader impact” of your work that is increasingly critical to funding agencies.

Visit our Science Outreach page for more information about some of the outreach opportunities available to you as a graduate student at UNC!