Diversity and Belonging

Principles of Community

The Glaunsinger Lab is dedicated to creating a culture of belonging, in which people of all backgrounds are welcome and can thrive as scientists and as individuals.  We think that scientific excellence and creativity are best achieved through the collective efforts, approaches and ideas of a diverse lab group and we are thus committed to recruiting, mentoring and supporting diverse students and postdoctoral scholars. Lab members’ engagement in outreach activities is highly valued as we work towards inspiring future scientists and increasing equity in STEM. 

We acknowledge that our research space and UC Berkeley at large is housed on appropriated Chochenyo Ohlone Land, which remains of great importance to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and other familial descendants of the Verona Band. We benefit from and are grateful for our continued use of this land.

Highlights of Lab Engagement

Want to participate in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives? Check out this sample of opportunities seized by Glaunsinger lab members:

Azra Lari currently serves as a postdoc representative on the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology’s DEIB Committee. The committee’s mission is to intentionally foster institutional equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging by creating educational opportunities, raising awareness, and providing strategies and tools to improve DEIB at all levels within the department. In this role, Azra has planned, led, and/or facilitated departmental workshops and community discussions centered on these topics.

Leah Gulyas volunteers at Lawrence Hall of Science to bring hands-on biotech training for local K-12 students and community outreach. She has also served as a mentor with Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS) to bring science programming to underserved schools and ESL classrooms, and volunteered with Future Advancers of Science and Technology (FAST), bringing intensive mentorship to diverse and underserved high school students over several months to develop a science project.

Sahil Shah is currently serving as a grad student representative on the Center for Computational Biology’s DEI committee. As a member, he has helped coordinate DEI panels, workshops, and trainings for the broader CCB community. Sahil is also passionate about helping underrepresented communities gain a quality education, which led him to become a lecturer at Mount Tamalpais College — a community college that aims to educate the incarcerated population at San Quentin State Prison. Here, he teaches math and biology courses to help students obtain their Associate’s degrees.

Pictures of Michael Ly and iMCB banner with slogan "because we're all model organisms"

Michael Ly was the 2020 Conference and Mentoring Team Lead and Assessment Team Member for inclusive MCB. Most recently, he helped to facilitate the 3rd Annual iMCB Conference called “Building a Sense of Belonging.”     

Azra Lari and Jessica Tucker participated as discussion leaders for the First Generation affinity groups to wrap up the conference.

Picture of Chris Duncan-Lewis at conference

Chris Duncan-Lewis participated as a graduate student coordinator for NIH Bridges to Baccalaureate (B2B) Program Summer Research Coordinator in the MCB department. This training program provides transfer students from local community colleges the opportunity to train in academic research settings and conduct research in UC Berkeley labs as B2B Fellows. Additionally, Chris has attended multiple conferences to help recruit minority scientists to join the MCB graduate program, including:  2016-2018 Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and 2018-2019 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS).

Picture of Jessica Tucker at B2B poster session

Jessica Tucker served as a 2019 B2B summer mentor to a local community college student. Additionally, Jessica is currently serving on the MCB Wellness Committee, a group of faculty, staff, and students working together to plan wellness programming and events, with a focus on mental health.

Picture of Allison Didychuk with Graduate Women in Science emblem

Allison Didychuk was named National President (2020-2021) of Graduate Women in Science, a 501(c)(3) scientific society that has sought to empower women in science for 99 years. She has been an active member of this program since 2013.

Picture of Chloe McCollum with Project Short emblem

Chloe McCollum is participating as a graduate student mentor in Project Short, providing feedback on essays and applications for graduate school with the goal of combatting socioeconomic and systemic inequalities in the medical and graduate school admissions processes.

Picture of Ella Hartenian and Shivani Khosla

Ella Hartenian has volunteered with BASIS, plus organized a graduate student effort to participate in Alameda Community Learning Center Science Fair Judging from 2014-2019. In the lab, Ella has participated in hands-on mentoring of undergraduates from diverse backgrounds, including Shivani Khosla through the Biology Scholars Program, a program that challenges the popular view about who can and should do science.

picture of Britt Glaunsinger

Britt Glaunsinger has served on the PMB equity committee, as an iMCB student mentor and presents workshops on science communication to many student and postdoc groups including DEIB-focused student programs. She worked towards developing and implementing a departmental hiring pipeline to minimize implicit biases present in the faculty hiring process and developed a new junior faculty mentoring program in PMB. She is an executive committee member of the Inclusive Faculty Mentoring program in the life sciences. She has participated in numerous career development panels for undergraduate and graduate students and postdocs, and co-authored a report on the Future of Graduate Education at UC Berkeley that emphasized the importance of a holistic approach to mentoring.


Michael Ly created a new Slack channel for the lab to have open discussions about material related to social injustice and/or cultural identity (ex. aspects of identity that are often ignored/invisible or may be associated with negative stereotypes). Here are the things our group read/watched/listened to the 2020/2021 academic year:

Links and resources to check out

Counseling and Resources for Berkeley students, faculty, and staff

Organizations and Offices for Berkeley students, faculty, and staff

Mentoring Organizations

Get involved in the conversation!

  • Plant and Microbial Biology Department: Diversity, Equity, and Belonging Book Club (contact department for details)
  • ESPM Course 290-023

Undergraduate Resources