The Diversity Enhancement Committee is vested in the recruitment and retention of talented graduate students to the Neuroscience Training Program. Members of the committee include students and faculty who work together to fulfill these goals. The different roles of this committee include attending area recruitment fairs, helping coordinate the Program’s participation in the undergraduate summer research opportunities program, and sending representatives to recruit the best and brightest diverse minds from a wide array of student research conferences and colleges including those that enroll large numbers of historically marginalized students. Our future endeavors will include arranging visits by students from high schools and colleges.
In order to promote retention, the committee meets to discuss student experiences and needs. The committee plans the Diversity Enhancement Lecture Series to bring in speakers from underrepresented groups from around the country and coordinate a Welcome Meet-Up each August so that incoming students can connect with current students who answer questions, share resources and tips for enjoying life in Madison.
The committee is also engaged in efforts to further enhance the retention of historically marginalized students by establishing a mentoring program to improve the personal and professional mentorship that students can have access to.
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Corinna Burger, Chair
Corinna Burger is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology. She has been a member of the Diversity Enhancement committee since 2008 and participated in the recruitment of talented students from various universities in Puerto Rico to various graduate programs at UW. She has hosted 14 URM undergraduate students for summer research opportunities since 2009.
Ozioma Okonkwo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. He has been a member of the Diversity Enhancement Committee since 2018. He has held leadership roles in several diversity programs including serving as the Leader for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) study Diversity Task Torce. He is passionate about amplifying the perspectives of persons from underrepresented groups.
Brad Postle is a Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry. Since 2011 he has been PI and Director of the NSF-supported Psychology Research Experience Program (PREP), which each summer brings URM undergraduates from around the country for mentored research projects in UW–Madison laboratories. As Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience he has introduced novel initiatives to call attention to and counteract longstanding patterns of systematic undercitation of research by women neuroscientists.
LaTasha Crawford is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences in the School of Veterinary Medicine. She has been a member of the Diversity Enhancement Committee (DEC) since 2019. She is also a member of the newly formed Equity/Diversity working group tasked with developing strategies to address emerging needs of NTP students and faculty which fall beyond the scope of the DEC. She was a first-generation college student and is also a member of an ethnic group that is underrepresented in biomedical research and veterinary medicine.
Jayshree Samanta is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Biosciences in the School of Veterinary Medicine. She has been a member of the Diversity Enhancement Committee since 2019. She has mentored 4 URM undergraduate students and hosted one URM student through the Biological Signals summer research opportunities program since 2018.
Raghu Vemuganti Title/Dept and years in program: Professor and Vice Chair for Research; Neurological Surgery; joined UW/NTP in 1996; Joined DEC committee in 2019
Student committee members:
Alejandra Canales is a PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Training Program. She has been a member of the committee since 2019. She is passionate about working to make the systems and structures in science and academic spaces inclusive for people from historically marginalized backgrounds.
Grace George is a 3rd year in the Neuroscience and Public Policy Program. She joined the committee in 2019 and joined to help current students feel understood and appreciated.
Jasenia Hartman is a 6th year PhD student in NTP. She has been a member of the Diversity Enhancement Committee since 2017.
Neuroscience Diversity Enhancement Lecture Series
To see the list of past speakers click here.
Science and Medicine Graduate Research Scholars (SciMed GRS)
The Science and Medicine Graduate Research Scholars Program is a fellowship program that has been established to enhance the experiences and opportunities of underrepresented graduate students at the University of Wisconsin in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the School of Medicine and Public Health. Click here to learn more.
There are multiple opportunities for funding allocated to minority students, please check out our Funding Opportunities page to learn more.
UW-Madison Bioscience Initiative for Recruiting and Networking (BIRN)
The BIRN program connects UW-Madison bioscience faculty, staff, and graduate students with faculty, advisors, and prospective underrepresented minority (URM) students from other institutions and/or geographic areas. For more information on BIRN, click here.
Integrated Biology Science Research Opportunities Program (IBS-SRP)
IBS-SRP brings junior and senior undergraduate students interested in research careers in the biological sciences to UW-Madison for 10-weeks in the summer for a hands-on research program. The program is designed primarily to give students from other colleges and universities a chance to experience the richness of research at UW–Madison in one of eight disciplines including a neurobiology section hosted by the NTP. For more information on the program and how to apply click here.
UW Graduate School and Campus Diversity Resources
UW Campus Climate
UW-Madison has created a website dedicated to discussing and improving our campus climate, the website and more information on these efforts can be found here.
Reporting Incidents of Hate & Bias
Campus information on reporting incidents of hate and bias can be found here.