Promoting diversity, inclusion and equity at all levels

Image of female researcher for diversity & inclusion committee department efforts web page

Our mission is to leverage the transformative power of equity and diversity to advance excellence in teaching, research, and community engagement in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Minnesota. We focus on access and inclusion by continuously inviting and welcoming people to an environment where all have the opportunity to thrive, and enhancing the chemistry community by creating equitable and collaborative partnerships to better work together. Collaboration among people of all cultures and backgrounds enhances our experiences and contributes to excellence in teaching, learning, and research. We strive to promote a climate that celebrates our differences and strengthens our department by embracing and working to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Promoting community within and beyond the department

Strengthening Climate series

The Department of Chemistry has initiated a series of department-wide events in to promote a cohesive and welcoming environment for all members.

Preventing Harassment
December 14, 2017, 2-3:30 pm, Smith Hall 100
Malik Mitchell and Paul Ang from the Aurora Center
Included working through scenarios with live electronic anonymous questions.

Conflict Competency: Moving from Avoidance to Opportunity
May 14, 2018, 2-3:30 pm, Smith Hall 100
Julie Showers, Associate Vice President for Equity and Diversity

Bystander Intervention
December 13, 2018, 12:00 - 1:30 pm, Smith Hall 100
Interactive scenarios developed with us, Tina Marisam (Director of EOAA) and Illusion Theater Company, and acted out live with discussion that followed.

Mental Health
May 8, 2019, 1:00 - 2:30 pm, Smith Hall 100
Led by Matt Hanson from Boynton Health and Phil Buhlmann. Four scenarios were developed and filmed by our Community of Chemistry Graduate Students (CCGS).

Confronting Implicit (Unconscious) Bias
December 12, 2019, 12:00-1:30 pm, Smith 100
Introduction by David Blank, support from Stef Jarvi (Director of Education, Office for Equity and Diversity), included scripted and live-acted scenarios from Diversity and Inclusion Committee, one from the undergraduates.

Fall Welcome Event
The Department of Chemistry’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee hosts a Fall Gathering every year. All undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral associates, faculty and staff members are invited to stop in and learn about the work of our committee. Share your thought and ideas about what is working well or what is not. Come for the cake, stay for the conversation.

Spring Open House
Join us to discuss any issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion that you want talk about. Share ideas, concerns, questions and solutions.

Mental Health
The committee cares about mental health of the community, and together with the Community of Chemistry Graduate Students have offered three metal health surveys (2013, 2016, 2018) to the chemistry graduate students and post-doctoral researchers with the support of Boynton Health. Based on the outcomes, the committee has advanced several efforts, including forums, panel discussions, and PAWS (Pet Away Worries and Stress, with the help of CCGS and Boynton staff. Visit the Department of Chemistry's webpage on mental health at with helpful links to resources and the named os our mental health advocates.

Partnering with you
Finally, we are always looking to partner with other groups to promote your activities, work together on a difficult problem and brainstorm. Get in touch.

Diversity & Inclusivity Alliance

The College of Science & Engineering's (CSE) Diversity & Inclusivity Alliance is comprised of students, faculty, postdoctoral researchers, staff, and alumni from throughout the college. The goal of this Alliance is to improve the college's climate through advancement and practice of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). The Alliance brings members of the CSE community together to identify critical DEI issues, develop action plans, promote relevant events and trainings, implement effective DEI practices, and support DEI efforts at the department level. Join the Alliance Contact the Alliance at

Gaining research experiences

Undergraduate students gain invaluable research experience with our faculty and their research associates through:

Reaching out to young people

We are passionate about outreach and reaching K-12th grade students from diverse backgrounds.

  • Energy and U 
    • We bring more than 9,000 students to the University every year for a fun event that is packed with demonstrations geared toward teaching the first law of thermodynamics.
    • The program is designed to excite students about the idea of coming to college and pursuing a career in science and engineering.
    • A partnership with the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance is giving the show a higher degree of professionalism.
  • Chemists in the Classroom 
    • We conduct age- and grade-level specific chemistry demonstrations and discuss chemistry careers in local schools and at community venues.
    • Teachers receive materials and advice.
  • Chemists in the Library
    • Volunteers bring chemistry demonstrations to Minneapolis/Saint Paul area public libraries.
  • Cool Chemistry
    • We bring middle school girls to our laboratories for this annual event, where they meet our female chemists who lead them through hands-on experiments.
  • YWCA EUREKA! program
    • Eureka! is a five-year summer and school year program for girls focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), run in partnership with the College of Science & Engineering.
  • Summer experiences
    • We participate in the College of Science & Engineering's summer camps offering middle- and high-school students opportunities to learn about science careers.
    • Students get hands-on introductions to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
    • We offer one-day modules on polymers and solar energy.
  • Science Museum of Minnesota
    • Organize outreach activities at special events for Latinx in STEM, Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), and Chemistry Week
    • Learn more about one of these activities

Reaching out to science teachers

School science teachers are our best allies for promoting diversity in STEM fields. Many of our research centers offer summer programs for teachers where they learn about specialized topics, ranging from bio-plastics to microscopy and nanotechnology. Some of our faculty members have long-standing relationships with teachers in the metropolitan area, and those teachers often bring their students to campus for hands-on activities and demonstrations.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Allied

We are committed to providing an inviting and welcoming environment for all students. Annually, our department hosts Ally trainings for our students and faculty. Multiple department and committee members are also involved in oSTEM, a national society dedicated to educating and fostering leadership for lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, genderqueer, queer, intersexed, and asexual community (LGBTQIA+) communities in the STEM fields.

Several of our scientists are members of MN Queer Science, a network for the GLBTQA community in STEM fields at the University.

  • MN Queer Science has a strong outreach component, visiting student groups at local high schools to talk about research, science careers, experiences as LGBTQ scientists, and choosing and attending a college, and to perform exciting chemistry demonstrations.
    • High school students come to campus to consult about their self-designed science projects.
    • MN Queer Science discussions touch on analysis techniques common in other fields that inform chemistry-specific research endeavors, which have led to interdisciplinary research collaborations.

Women in Science


    • Diversity & Inclusion Committee
    • 139 Smith Hall, 207 Pleasant St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
    • Professor Erin Carlson, Diversity Committee Chair
    • (612) 625-2580