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Chemistry GSA Announces Initiatives to Create a Highly Inclusive Environment

29 June 2020

The Chemistry Graduate Student Association (GSA) has announced that they will launch a series of action items in response to the current events surrounding the abhorrent police brutality that lead to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many other Black and African Americans across the country.

“As a department within STEM, it is critical that we work to support one another as exceptional scientists regardless of race, sexual identity and orientation, gender, or any other defining characteristics. As a unit, we all need to take a moment to reflect on our own implicit biases and inertia,” notes GSA president Lily Mawby.   

In support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, the GSA has launched a series of external and internal initiatives, which are detailed below. 

“Our goal is to make our department, college, and hopefully University as a whole, a more welcoming and comfortable place for Black students and POC,” adds Mawby.  

Broad Initiatives

  • Purchasing masks, for those interested, from a Black-owned business who supports both the BLM movement and pandemic aid charities 
  • Organizing a fundraiser to support the BLM movement with other student organizations in the college 
  • Once safety permits, the GSA will host and participate in outreach events directed towards lower income, Black, and other minority communities focused on providing STEM opportunities to young students. 

Internal Initiatives 

  • The GSA will collaborate on events with the newly chartered Penn State Chapter of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) 
  • The GSA will help to implement the addition of implicit bias training in CHEM 500 
  • The GSA is connecting with the Black Graduate Student Association for further collaborations 

These plans will be implemented in the near future. The GSA encourages all members of the chemistry community to join in and participate. Furthermore, The GSA welcomes suggestions and ideas in regards to creating  a bias-free, comfortable, and welcoming atmosphere for marginalized minorities, especially Black and African American students. Please visit the GSA’s website for more information