In the Department of Chemistry, we believe that diversity and inclusivity are integral to excellence and acknowledge that important work is being done by our students and postdoctoral researchers in this space. It is a pleasure to announce the inaugural recipients of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Awards, selected by the Chemistry Diversity and Equity Steering Committee in spring 2022. These awards of $500 were supported by the Martin P. Gouterman Endowed Fund in honor of Professor Gouterman’s activism for the LGBTQ+ community and his legacy to create “a more humane and inclusive scientific enterprise” (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 9760–9770).
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Awards
Sumaya Addish is a sophomore majoring in biochemistry and an aspiring scientist and healthcare provider. She conducts undergraduate research in the Musculoskeletal Systems Biology Lab of Associate Professor Ronald Kwon (Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine). She is involved with others in the Department of Chemistry to initiate the first NOBCChE (National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers) chapter in Washington state at the UW – an effort that would generate measurable and future impact for our campus community. Outside of the Department of Chemistry, Sumaya contributes to the global online reference center, BlackPast, by writing profiles of prominent Black people in STEM professions and articles on environmental crises in predominantly BIPOC areas in the United States. Sumaya’s work on BlackPast has the potential to educate any of its approximately two million visitors per year—a reach that can generate sustained impact. The Department of Chemistry recognizes Sumaya’s impact on our campus community and beyond with this Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Award.
Sarah Sweger is a doctoral candidate in the research group of Professor Stefan Stoll. She was nominated by Professor Brandi Cossairt who worked closely with Sarah on the Diversity and Equity Steering Committee in the 2020-21 academic year. Sarah is a DEI leader in the Department of Chemistry, at the UW, and in the community. In the Department of Chemistry, Sarah organized a workshop on microaggressions and microbullying and implemented a graduate student survey to inform actionable items for cross-committee work in the Department. As a Mentor Network Leader for the student group Inclusion in the Chemical Sciences (InCS), she matches incoming graduate students with current graduate student mentors and organizes panels and social events to facilitate the transition to graduate school and ensure student success in the program. At the UW, Sarah is a Training Specialist for the student-led program Empowering Prevention & Inclusive Communities (EPIC) where she leads skills-based, survivor-centered training for preventing sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Additionally, Sarah is a Department Steward for the UAW 4121 Anti-Discrimination Working Group and has volunteered at Jubilee Women’s Center, an organization that supports women who have experience poverty and trauma. The Department of Chemistry recognizes Sarah’s significant contributions toward creating a diverse and inclusive UW community through her leadership activities with this Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Award.
Tammi van Neel is a doctoral candidate and HHMI Gilliam Fellow in the research group of Assistant Professor Ashleigh Theberge where she develops tools and methods for studying cell signaling. She was nominated by Professor Theberge for her strong contribution to mentoring bioanalytical chemistry trainees and representing the UW Chemistry graduate program at meetings of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE). More recently, she is working with Dr. Tam'ra-Kay Francis and Professor Theberge to design a series on mentorship for STEM graduate students. The series, which began with a panel discussion in April, will highlight culturally responsive mentorship and inclusion. The Department of Chemistry recognizes Tammi’s significant contributions toward creating a diverse and inclusive UW community through her mentorship activities and their potential to generate sustained impact with this Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Award.
Tam’ra-Kay Francis is a postdoctoral research associate who was nominated by Assistant Professor Ashleigh Theberge.
Justin Ho, chemistry major
Nayon Park, PhC