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Our Lab Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement

We value the perspectives and contributions of a diverse representation of scientists, inclusive of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, neurodiversity, religion, class, nationality, and disability status. We are committed to actively cultivating a climate in which all of our faculty, students and staff are given an equitable opportunity to pursue scientific discovery in an inclusive and supportive environment.

Diversity Efforts in the Lab

In Fall 2020, our lab began holding regular diversity discussions as part of our ongoing efforts to educate ourselves and taking action to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in food science. Below is a short description of the goals that each team is working on, as well as some recent accomplishments.

Team A.1: Making the lab a more welcome space

Team A.1 is working towards creating a more welcoming space through positive messaging inside and outside of the workspace by using posters, t-shirts and social media.

  • Our team initiated a mentor/mentee program to create an inclusive and safe space for everyone in the lab, but especially for new incoming members.

Team A.2: Promoting lab values

Team A.2 is generating the diversity, equity and inclusion guidance documents for the lab, including an anti-racism corrective action plan. We also collate the various activities and initiatives of each Diversity Team, and summarize them here on the lab webpage.

  • Our team wrote the lab's Statement of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and designed the lab's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion webpage.

Team B: Increasing lab member awareness

Team B is focused on increasing the personal awareness of the lab by identifying speakers, workshops, and relevant resources to educate lab members on various topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Through these resources, we hope to encourage dialogue and increase understanding to help create a more inclusive lab space. Recently, our team:

  • Hosted Anthony Sis (DEI Learning Consultant, Department of Inclusion and Workforce Diversity at Cornell University) for a workshop with our lab group focused on inclusive language. 
  • Organized a lab meeting to discuss part of Cornell’s history of indigenous land dispossession. Resources for this discussion were accessed from the Cornell University and Indigenous Dispossession Project, which can be accessed here.

Team C: Increasing lab member diversity through active recruiting

Team C aims to increase undergraduate student, graduate student, post-doc and staff diversity in the lab by (i) improving hiring transparency and advertising; (ii) developing a clear "career" progression plan for undergrads; (iii) hiring 1 - 2 new undergraduate students with new process in Fall 2021; (iv) improving advertising and communication of positions open for grad students (advertise to targeted schools); (v) offering workshops on “how to apply” to graduate school; (vi) improving summer scholar program; (vii) improving advertising and communication of post-doc positions (advertise to targeted schools; LinkedIn, social media in general; clarify that international applications are welcome); and (viii) improving advertising and communication of positions, e.g., make it clear that we will help people move to Cornell (advertise to targeted schools; LinkedIn, social media in general).

  • Team C has recently identified diversity student organizations at Cornell, which will be reached out to identify possible candidates to join the lab.
  • Martin (team member) also recently acquired leadership of the summer scholar program within the Department of Food Science to revise the recruitment practices for this program.

Team D: Promoting DEI through K-12 outreach initiatives in food safety, food science, and STEM

Team D is working with Ali Manning and her Food Science 4 Kids program. Ali is a former summer scholar in the FSL/MQIP lab and recently started her company, Umami Food Consulting. Food Science 4 Kids was started in 2020 and the outreach team looks to help Ali expand the program and reach more underrepresented groups through sponsorships from the lab.

Team E: Promoting DEI through extension

Team E is promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the food industry through multiple initiatives, including: (i) re-designing our webpage to make it more accessible to individuals with different abilities, and (ii) translating training videos and materials into Spanish language to make them more accessible to Spanish speaking food industry workers. Recently, our team:

  • Developed an Introductory Course on Food Safety Principles in Spanish that is currently being offered to the food industry.
  • Developed a Basic Dairy Course in Spanish that is currently being offered to the food industry.