Our Commitment

Carnegie Science believes in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion for every member of our community and throughout the scientific enterprise. We recognize that persistent inequalities— including pervasive racism and sexism—continue to limit participation in science. At the Observatories, we affirm our responsibility to oppose all forms of discrimination and harassment and hold ourselves accountable for making our physical and virtual workplace environments welcoming and supportive to everyone. We believe that efforts such as these are necessary to achieve excellence and to help the fields of astronomy and astrophysics better reflect the diversity of the world at large.

In support of this larger initiative, and in continuation of the Observatories previous efforts to improve our own workplace, starting in 2019 we have drafted and continually maintained a local DEI Action Plan. In 2021, we launched a formal Observatories DEI standing committee composed of employees from a variety of roles, selected by the Director and the Committee Chair.

Summer students in the Observatories auditorium


We strive to organize DEI training and programs that are relevant to our community; to recognize time and effort spent advancing DEI goals, particularly among our support staff and early career researchers; and to foster a culture of mentorship where everyone feels welcomed and supported. These initiatives include a focus on improving our onboarding efforts, creating professional development opportunities, being intentional about planning speaker invitations, and advancing programs to enhance inclusivity and belonging.

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Young Open House attendees participate in an activity


The Observatories maintains an active public outreach program designed to share our work with the general public, provide science education activities and resources for students and educators, and to connect our scientists with communities in Pasadena, Los Angeles, and beyond. These efforts can advance DEI goals by helping individuals of all backgrounds and demographics to see science as a welcoming and accessible pursuit. 

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2023 CASSI Interns

Summer Students

Each summer, we welcome a diverse cohort of 15-20 undergraduates from colleges and universities in California to join Carnegie astronomers in collaborative original research projects. CASSI interns participate in an educational program that includes over 60 activities designed to improve students' fluency and ease with scientific communication and scientific computing. At the end of the summer, nine out of 10 CASSI interns feel more comfortable presenting their research than they did at the start of the program and 10 out of 10 feel more prepared for future work in astronomy.

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Our DEI Efforts Run Deep

high school students learn about dark matter in the Carnegie Observatories VizLab as part of a DEI Mini-grant funded project

In 2021, Carnegie  launched an Institution-wide mini-grant program as part of an effort to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion work throughout the organization and our surrounding neighborhoods. Several members of the Observatories community have received mini-grants to advance a variety of DEI-related initiatives. 

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.

Touring the Carnegie Observatories machine shop.

Some of grants went toward developing new STEM programs and activities. Postdoc Allison Matthews used mini-grant funding to provide under-served Pasadena elementary school students with personalized, hands-on astronomy activity kits and Ethan Nadler partnered with Los Angeles-based arts education organization Create Now to make dark matter visualizations. Other grants, such as one awarded to Outreach Coordinator Jeff Rich, expanded an existing program to bring local Pasadena students to the historic Mount Wilson Observatory.

Chair Gwen Rudie and the DEI Committee received a grant to strengthen internal relationships as we emerged from the pandemic. This project facilitated lunchtime conversations and trust-building between different cohorts of employees on campus.

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John Mulchaey
"I'm proud of how the Observatories community is working hard to build a campus culture that welcomes and values everyone. It is through this work that we can identify the next generation of scientific leaders and help to advance talented individuals from ever-more-diverse backgrounds." 
- John Mulchaey, Observatories Director & Crawford H. Greenewalt Chair

Committee Members

Raised hands

Action Plan

The DEI Committee presented a detailed action plan to the Director and the greater Observatories community. It set forth a series of recommendations to be carried out on timescales ranging from six months to five years. These include items such as the creation of two awards recognizing DEI efforts, increasing Spanish-language outreach and communications products, establishing gender-neutral restrooms, enhancing mentorship programs, and improving onboarding processes.

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Clipboard with Diversity Equality and Inclusion written on it


The Observatories DEI Committee welcomes suggestions from the community for ideas for programs, initiatives, or areas of focus for its efforts. Please feel free to contact any member of the committee individually by any mechanism that is most comfortable for you, to submit an anonymous suggestion in the Chair's on-campus mailbox, or to use this form to share your thoughts. 


Suggestion Form

Former Committee Members