Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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Climate and Diversity

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Climate and Diversity within the BMB department

Climate and DiversityWe understand diversity to refer to the ways in which individuals may differ according to race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, class, and religion, among other factors.

We understand climate to refer to the way it feels to be at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, as faculty, student, or staff.  It's the way people interact with each other.  It's the working and learning environment.  It's the extent to which each individual is valued and respected independent of the factors listed above.

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has a standing Committee on Climate and Diversity charged with seeking to improve the climate in the department, to increase the diversity of our faculty, students, and staff, and to create opportunities designed to increase the diversity of the next generation of academic scientists.

Initiatives currently underway:

The BMB Climate and Diversity Committee sponsors several events each year to provide opportunities for interaction amongst those within our diverse department. Some of these events include coffee/tea socials, and most recently the BMB Mainstage series, which features short stories told live.

This committee aims to make the BMB department a supportive and inclusive environment by improving mechanisms for collecting and responding to feedback on concerns within our community. This includes identifying effective routes of communication for individuals reporting concerns, and ensuring that those concerns are addressed. There are several links below to additional resources, however if you are unclear of where to start please contact one of the department ombudspersons (Maria Krasilnikova,, or Ola Sodeinde,

Ongoing efforts are focused on providing easy access to workshops on harassment training and multi-cultural awareness and are hosted in partnership with various Penn State offices. The committee also encourages positive actions of all members of our department, and recognizes exemplary efforts by nominating a BMB member for the yearly Eberly College of Science Climate and Diversity Award.

Contact us:

The efforts of this committee are always a work-in-progress! Suggestions for the committee are always welcome and can be directed to the committee Chair, Claire Thomas (

2018/2019 BMB Climate and Diversity Committee:

Claire Thomas, Chair
Emily Bell
Joyce Jose
Scott Showalter
Ming Tien
Hemant Yennawar
Erin McCarthy
Molly Rathbun
Tammy Housel


Additional Resources and Training:

Trainings to consider

  • Bystander Intervention Trainings: this is a new approach to help advocates for a positive climate know what to do when they see bias or discrimination. Sign up here
  • CAPS students in distress workshops: counseling and psychological services has online and in person trainings to help recognize when students need help and what to do. Sign up here

Additional Resources

Resources for students or helping students