Harvard University COVID-19 updates

Department News

Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Kicks Off New Semester with Engert Lab Open House

Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Kicks Off New Semester with Engert Lab Open House

The MCB Community Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB) is leading off the new semester with an Engert Lab Open House on Friday, September 2 at 2:45 PM and a Friday lecture by researchers from the Engert Lab at 4:00 PM on September 2.

Visitors to the Engert Lab Open House will be able to take a tour of the lab, where they’ll be able to look through microscopes and meet with researchers and students from the lab. The event is open to everyone and geared toward non-scientists, including university students and staff who may not have had the opportunity to hear about MCB’s research firsthand. The afternoon will be capped off with a poster session and a TGIF social, starting at 5:00 PM.

The Open House and the Friday Lecture were organized by Hanna Zwaka and Kumaresh Krishnan, who are both scientists in the Engert Lab, and the DIB task force’s working group on Community Engagement, following a successful initial Open House by the Bellono Lab last semester.

For the past two years, the DIB Task Force has been bringing together MCB undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, staff, and faculty, including the MCB Chair, together for discussions and projects aimed at fostering inclusion and belonging across the department. At the start of each semester, some members of the task force rotate out, while new voices rotate in. This semester, Associate Director for Faculty Service Michelle Cicerano, who contributed greatly to coordinating the task force in its early days, is stepping out, while HR Administrative Fellow Priscilla Johnson is joining and will handle task force administrative duties going forward.

“I am grateful to Michelle Cicerano for her vision, dedication and action in making this task force a reality and for the CTF members past and present that have contributed to the success of the CTF,” Johnson says.

“My passion for DIB comes from my personal experiences as a multiracial, first-generation American, being in educational and professional settings where I often struggled with my own identity,” Johnson adds. “It is through experiences that I came to value opportunities for mentorship, safety and support which are key elements in the CTF…I am hopeful for another transformative year with the CTF focusing on increasing recruitment and retention, transparency,  and promoting community engagement, safety and support.”

New recruits to the task force also include graduate student Luis Aldama of the Hekstra Lab, postdoc Andi Kautt of the Hoekstra Lab, and incoming Assistant Professor Jeeyun Chung, whose appointment starts in January 2023.

The MCB Department would like to thank the outgoing members of the DIB task force for their efforts and welcome the new task force members to the group!

Click here to register for the Engert Lab tour