Dominic Mao, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies (CPB/MCB) and a Lecturer in MCB, will be reading the names of graduates in the Affinity Celebration Honoring Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Desi-American 2023 graduates. Mao’s participation came about through nomination by students of faculty who went above and beyond to create a safe and welcoming environment for all.
“I love it that these celebrations are student-led and supported by the university,” says Mao. “What a wonderful way to foster belonging by supporting students from historically marginalized communities to celebrate this huge achievement in their own meaningful way!”
Mao is of Chinese descent but was born and grew up in India, where he earned his Bachelor and Master’s degrees before moving to the University of Cincinnati for a PhD in microbial molecular genetics. He has a special interest in first-gen, low-income students and course-based undergraduate research experience. Mao is the program director of the Program for Scientifically-Inspired leadership, an international education outreach program he founded that brings together Harvard Undergraduates with underprivileged high school students in India.
Mao’s study breaks have brought multiculturality to MCB.
“I started study breaks for our students where everyone gathers once a week over snacks. The idea is to use it as an opportunity to check in with students and allow for peer-to-peer information exchange. To add an additional layer to the study breaks, I made them culturally themed — each week anyone from our community could volunteer to compile a list of snacks from a particular culture or region and we all get to learn something,” says Mao. Some themes have included authentic snacks from Indian households, Kosher food, and treats used to celebrate Chinese New Year.
“I am having fun and just being myself (who does not enjoy learning about unique snacks from all around the world),” says Mao. “This nomination to be a name reader tells me these little things are valued.”