CMNS Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council

CMNS Dean Amitabh Varshney launched the CMNS Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council in September 2020 with the following statement: "Our college is committed to creating an educational and work environment that is rich in diversity, inclusive, and supportive of all students, faculty, and staff. This new Council will advise me and senior leaders in the college on issues, opportunities, and activities related to diversity, inclusion, equity and awareness in the college, including climate, recruitment, retention, and outreach."

Council Mission
Council Members 
Council Events
Department-level Diversity and Inclusion Committees

The CMNS Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council's mission for 2021-22 will focus on: 

  • Planning college events, including selecting speakers for the Dean's Voices of Inclusive Excellence Lecture Series and exploring an annual diversity summit with representatives across the college, to build community around the topics of diversity and inclusion;
  • Identifying the data needed to track the recruitment, retention and advancement of students, faculty and staff from underrepresented groups across the college;
  • Investigating effective mechanisms and best practices for the recruitment of graduate students from underrepresented groups;
  • Improving messaging on CMNS websites related to diversity and inclusion; and
  • Advising the dean and senior leaders in the college on short-term and longer-term actions and initiatives that would better embody and strategically advance our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

2021-22 CMNS Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council Members:

2021-22 CMNS Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council Members:
2021-22 CMNS Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council Members.


  • Janice Reutt-Robey, Chair of the CMNS Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council; Chair and Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry

  • Debbie Adam, Undergraduate, Biological Sciences & Spanish Language, Literatures and Cultures
  • Ricardo Arevalo, Associate Professor, Geology
  • Kate Atchison, Assistant Director of the Maryland Center for Women in Computing and the Iribe Initiative for Inclusion and Diversity in Computing, Computer Science
  • Aniket Bera, Assistant Research Professor, UMIACS
  • Courtney Butler, Program Coordinator, Health Professions Advising Office
  • Max Ehrlich, Ph.D. student, Computer Science
  • Gene Ferrick, Director of Operations, CMNS ** ex-officio
  • John Ficklin, Graduate Student, Biological Sciences
  • Cerruti Hooks, Professor, Entomology
  • Eugenia Kalnay, Distinguished University Professor, Atmospheric & Oceanic Science
  • Maia Karpovich, Graduate Student, Applied Mathematics & Statistics, and Scientific Computation (AMSC)
  • Sara Lombardi, Senior Lecturer, Biology
  • Cheri Meadows, Senior Development Officer, CMNS ** ex-officio
  • Ziqin "Grace" Ni, Ph.D. student, Geology
  • Chris Palmer, Assistant Professor, Physics
  • Errica Philpott, Coordinator, Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics
  • Mihai Pop, Professor, Computer Science & Director, University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies
  • Abby Robinson, Assistant Dean of Communications, CMNS ** ex-officio
  • Peter Shawhan, Professor, Physics
  • Abbie Svoysky, Undergraduate, Biochemistry
  • Abhirami Thaivalappil, Undergraduate, Biological Sciences
  • Katerina "Kaci" Thompson, Assistant Dean of Science Education Initiatives, CMNS ** ex-officio
  • Konstantina Trivisa, Professor, Mathematics & Director, Institute for Physical Science & Technology
  • Jai Upadhyay, Undergraduate, Computer Science and Management
  • Gerald "Jerry" Wilkinson, CMNS Diversity Officer; Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Graduate Education, CMNS; Professor, Biology ** ex-officio
  • Carl Womack, Director of Finance, Chemistry & Biochemistry


2021-22 CMNS Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council Events

"Black, Brown, Bruised: How Racialized STEM Education Stifles Innovation" with Ebony McGee, Professor of Diversity and STEM Education, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University. Tuesday, November 30, 2021. Drawing on narratives from hundreds of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous individuals, the speaker examines the experiences of underrepresented racially minoritized students and faculty members who have succeeded in STEM. Based on this extensive research, McGee advocates for structural and institutional changes to address racial discrimination, stereotyping, and hostile environments in an effort to make the field more inclusive. The lecture is based on McGee's book, of the same name, which was published in 2020.

"Just Because You Are A Pawn You Don't Have To Lose The Game" with Rita Colwell, Distinguished University Professor Emerita, University of Maryland. Thursday, March 3, 2022. In an era of science, technology, medicine, mathematics and social upheaval, equal opportunity and diversity are fundamental and critical to the survival of the human species. Much has been written and many actions initiated to address the issues associated with diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine) careers. Fundamentally, national security, social stability and economic vitality depend on all the talent of every nation in the 21st century being fully utilized in all dimensions if pandemics, climate change, and as yet unknown challenges are to be met. The personal paths of women in science illustrate the many obstacles women have had to overcome to succeed and they comprise a useful guide for changes required if all of the underrepresented will be able to prevail and, thereby, ensure the future. These paths and challenges will be discussed...and framed in personal experiences.

"INCLUSION 2022: A Summit in Pursuit of a More Diverse and Inclusive CMNS Community." Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Leaders and advocates for diversity, equity and inclusion from across the college will join together for lightning talks on instructional, mentoring and outreach programs that make a difference, plus breakout discussions on topics that include embracing inclusive teaching and learning in the classroom, creating culturally aware mentoring for students and faculty, building inclusive community through student groups, using data to guide change, busting biases in research groups, and more.


Department-level Diversity and Inclusion Committees in the College

Astronomy: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee
Atmospheric & Oceanic Science: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee
Biology: Biology DEI Committee
Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics: Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Chemistry & Biochemistry: Racial Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee
Computer Science: Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Entomology: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group
Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity Awareness: IDEA
Physics: Climate Committee


2020-21 Council Mission, Members and Events

2021-22 Council Mission, Members and Events