Advocacy

#SafeAtWork Campaign Chair, Graduate Women in STEM

  • About the campaign:
    • “The #SafeAtWork campaign is a call to arms that encourages graduate women to center the basic right which we deserve and which Title IX protects: our right to be safe at work. We call out sexual violence as an issue which is deeply entrenched in university culture, and which will demand commitment from everyone in the community to combat. We aim to prevent further violence by breaking the silence, giving people tools to disrupt harmful behaviors, and calling on faculty and graduate students to take responsibility for cleaning up their departments.”
  • Launched the campaign in August 2017 around a special edition of GWIS Quarterly Magazine (GQM), entitled “Broken Silence: Student Accounts of Sexual Violence in STEM.”
    • Issue consisted of stories written in about sexual violence in academia, as well as editorials on the subject of sexual violence.
    • I aided in designing the survey to collect responses, served as editor-in-chief in publishing the magazine, and wrote the letter from the editor
  • Managed the organizational social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) throughout the campaign, starting conversations around our campaign hashtags: #BrokenSilence, #CleanUpYourDepartment, #Disrupt, and #SafeAtWork
  • First major campaign event was a large Town Hall entitled “#MakeItSafe”, included student-led workshops and a Q&A with administrators
    • Aided the campaign team in developing four workshops from the ground-up, aimed at educating and empowering graduate students and faculty around sexual violence issues: “Know Your Rights,” “Male Allyship,” “Peer Defense,” and “What to Do When Graduate Students Say #MeToo”
    • Organized Q&A with the Chancellor, Provost, Dean of the Graduate School, and the Deans of the College of Natural Science and the College of Engineering
    • Employed the software PollEverywhere, allowing students to respond to the panelists’ answers in real time, and displayed these responses for the room. This allowed student voices to be heard during the panel and gave feedback on each question to bring back to administrators
  • Met with administrators on all levels to discuss the graduate student perspective on sexual violence and new policies to combat this problem on campus
  • Press and interviews about the campaign can be found below and on my public communication page.

Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual Violence in STEM, Graduate Women in STEM Representative

  • Formed in response to the #SafeAtWork Campaign, this task force was convened by UMass Chancellor Subbaswamy to craft solutions for sexual harassment and violence in STEM graduate programs
  • Focused on the role of power dynamics, perception of reporting process, repercussions and subtle retaliation, and prevention beyond training
  • First steps taken by the task force include:
    • Examining the faculty hiring process
    • Implementing a policy prohibiting relationships between students and supervising faculty
    • Making Title IX website accessible and understandable
    • Understanding where training is failing and developing new training methods
    • Identifying weak points in the reporting process

Title IX Education Subcommittee: Graduate Women in STEM Representative

  • Representatives from campus offices and organizations collaborate to raise awareness among students of their rights under Title IX and the resources which are available to them should their rights be violated
    • Included implementing a new, more interactive Title IX training, campus poster campaigns, and changes to websites and online resources
  • Specifically as the representative for Graduate Women in STEM (GWIS), I am working with several members of the team to craft a flow chart specifically for graduate students to navigate the Title IX reporting process. The process can be complicated, involving many offices with varying levels of confidentiality, and there is a huge variety of possible outcomes. We hope to communicate this more effectively in plain language so that students feel more confident through the reporting process. We also plan to have the flowchart translated into a few common languages to serve international students.

Chemistry Department Equity and Diversity Committee, Graduate Student Representative

  • Comprised of representatives for undergraduate and graduate students (both domestic and international), teaching and research faculty, and staff to investigate the department culture from all perspectives
  • Held separate listening sessions for each group to anonymously report the feedback to the committee. These listening sessions have already
    • Revealed areas which need improvement, such as classist attitudes from research faculty towards teaching faculty and staff, and unequal treatment of domestic and international graduate students
  • Plan events which bridge disparate department populations
  • Publish a quarterly department newsletter, The Reaction Times, focused on the traditionally less celebrated members of the department: staff, teaching faculty, and graduate students