Carnegie Mellon University

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Neuroscience Institute at Carnegie Mellon University strives to be a community that is academically and intellectually rigorous, as well as being diverse, inclusive and respectful to all of its members. We aspire to promote a collegial professional environment in which all individuals can thrive and do their best work with community support and free from harassment, intimidation or disrespect.

The Neuroscience Institute is overseen by both the Mellon College of Science (MCS) and the Dietrich School of Humanities and Social Sciences, both of which value Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Specifically, our efforts align with the values and goals outlined by Dietrich College.

Diversity

We understand and value that every individual is unique. We see this uniqueness shaped by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs and other life experiences and ideologies. 

Equity

At CMU, we are intentional about eliminating barriers that have prevented full participation and increased access to resources and networks for underrepresented groups across our student, faculty and staff populations.

Inclusion

We believe that every person at CMU should feel as though they belong here. We are learning how to involve more unique perspectives and actively invite participation from historically underrepresented groups in order to make our community a better place for all. 

Progress Highlights

Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

Each spring, the NI seeks diverse, creative, and collaborative early-career applicants for its Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. NI Fellows receive an annual stipend of $55,000, full benefits, and a professional development fund of up to $5,000 per year. The program seeks to bring new perspectives and voices to our community; researchers already in CMU laboratories are ineligible. Up to two fellowships (renewable annually, typically for two years) are awarded per year.

CNBC Early Career Research Seminar Series

The Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), an important training partner of NI, hosts an Early Career Research (ECR) Seminar Series. This series features traditionally underrepresented and minority neuroscientists at early career stages (senior graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early-stage faculty), who are actively conducting exciting work in fields relevant to the CNBC community. A main goal of the seminar series is to create a platform for outstanding young scientists from diverse backgrounds to share their research and network with the CNBC community.

Community Outreach

Teen Brain Workshop: This event was sponsored by the Heinz Endowments. The event explored implications of the latest brain research for schools, parents and community groups serving youth.

BrainStorm: Three regional high schools worked on a project with scientists at Carnegie Mellon University's interdisciplinary neuroscience venture.

Early Brain Development Workshop: This brought together researchers and early care and education practitioners to leverage the latest brain research to improve services and overcome policy challenges.

Faculty Hiring

The NI is in the process of developing a set of strategies to transform the culture and climate of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to make it more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. We aim to transform how CMU defines and finds diverse talent, by engaging with trainees from under-represented groups before they are on the job market and implementing best practices in hiring and recruitment that embed diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles in every aspect of our processes.

Three cores in our initiative support changing how CMU connects to a more diverse pool of talent in order to recruit a less homogeneous faculty; supports faculty who have been hired so that they succeed, regardless of their backgrounds, identities, or research topics; and validates our processes in faculty recruitment, hiring, and development.

Research Opportunities for Undergraduate Students

We advertise research opportunities are for undergraduate students studying neuroscience at CMU. The opportunities may be paid or un-paid on a case-by-case basis, and some may qualify for work-study. By highlighting these research positions on our website, we aim to surface the opportunities that would otherwise remain implicit and available only to students who are already emboldened to seek them.

We also are making plans to implement training for undergraduate students about how to approach faculty to pursue opportunities such as these. This training will come in the form of presentations that will be presented to students in seminar courses and/or made accessible online.

PIER: Program in Interdisciplinary Education Research

The NI provides sponsorship to CMU's Program in Interdisciplinary Education Research (PIER), which is an interdisciplinary pre-doctoral training program funded by the Institute of Education Sciences at CMU that is aimed at preparing a new generation of researchers who will be:
  • Grounded in cutting-edge theories and methodologies in cognitive and developmental psychology, statistics, human-computer interaction instructional technology, Education Policy and Economics.
  • Familiar with many of the fundamental problems facing education in America.
  • Committed to applying their skills and knowledge to solving those problems.

GEM Fellows

We participate in the GEM Fellowship Program, which recruits high quality underrepresented students looking to pursue Master’s and Doctoral degrees in applied science and engineering.

Resources

How can we do better? 

We welcome creative suggestions for how we can make the Neuroscience Institute a more inclusive community. 

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