Photograph of the words diversity, equity and inclusion on a clipboard.

Washington, DC—In an effort to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion work throughout the organization and our surrounding communities, Carnegie has awarded 10 projects with inaugural DEI mini-grants.

“The mini-grant program launched last fall and was designed to enable Carnegie faculty, postdocs, and staff to obtain funding for small-scale projects that help advance our local and institutional DEI goals,” said Associate Science Deputy Anat Shahar, who with Science Deputy and Observatories Director John Mulchaey oversees Carnegie’s DEI efforts.

The mini-grant program provides up to $5,000 to support DEI-related projects, ideas, or collaborations including, facilitating community conversations about DEI efforts, arranging for creative installations and performances, planning local school and community college outreach efforts, and partnering with HBCUs and MSIs.

“We were thrilled with the response to this program and with the quality of the first round of applicants,” added Mulchaey. “We hope these first 10 mini-grant recipients inspire creative new ideas for the next round of submissions.”

The winning mini-grants run the gamut of eligible ideas from art exhibitions to community building to student support and school outreach programs.

Many of the grants focus on improving access to STEM programs and activities. Both Adrien Burlacot from the Department of Plant Biology and the Department of Global Ecology's Wu Sun received grants to support joint internships between the two Palo Alto-based departments and the Carnegie Academy for Science Education in Washington, D.C.. At the Observatories, Allison Matthews will use a grant to reach under-served Pasadena elementary school students with personalized, hands-on astronomy activity kits and at the Earth and Planets Laboratory Johanna Teske will use a grant for computing support for undergraduate interns.

Several grants focus on the intersection of art and science. Plant Biology’s Selena Rice will expand the Plant Cell Atlas initiative's existing art exhibition partnership with HBCUs to showcase the work of historic Black plant researchers. Another Plant Biology program, run by Elena Lazarus, will advance an existing program to organize screenings of and panel discussions about science-related films. At the Observatories, Ethan Nadler will partner with Los Angeles-based arts education organization Create Now to make dark matter visualizations.

EPL’s Suzy Vitale and the Observatories Jeff Rich will both their grants for community outreach. Vitale will organize a Science in Your Backyard event for Washington, D.C., area science lovers and Rich will expand an existing program to bring local Pasadena students to the historic Mount Wilson Observatory.

The Observatories’ Gwen Rudie’s grant is also focused on strengthening community relationships, but with an inward gaze. Her project will facilitate lunchtime conversations and trust-building between different cohorts of employees on campus.

“This is a great batch of recipients, and we look forward to hearing their reflections as their projects progress,” Shahar concluded.

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