Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion

The Diversity Committee is devoted to promoting access, increasing diversity and fostering inclusivity within the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University. The Faculty Committee was formed in 2013. The Diversity Committee now includes a postdoc and a graduate student representative. We always do much more than we can talk about, but we always accomplish less than we would like. We are committed to updating these pages going forward, so stay tuned and reach out to us, as many of you have been doing, to remain involved.

Should you need to bring issues to the attention of the University that transcend but include our Department, send an email to this address with a copy to us. If you like to remain anonymous, go here. Also note the resources offered by the Princeton University's Ombuds Office.

News & Upcoming Events

August 2020: The Department has advertised an opening for an Assistant Professor in the area of Global Geophysics.
Diversity and inclusion are central to Princeton University's educational mission and its desire to serve society. Members of the Geosciences Department have a deep commitment to being inclusive. We believe that commitment to principles of fairness and respect for all is favorable to the free and open exchange of ideas, so we seek to reach out as widely as possible in order to attract the ablest individuals as students, faculty, and staff. A diversity statement is part of the application.
Faculty serving on the Search Committee will be receiving training on how to reduce unconscious bias in the academic hiring process. 

7-11 December 2020: Attending the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting?
Check out the Special Sessions B029 on Field Safety: A Necessary Ingredient for Success, GC031 on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within Earth System Modeling,  SY013 on Diversity and Inclusion in Polar Science, ED015 on Expanding Opportunities in the Geosciences: Exploring Examples of Geo-STEM Learning Ecosystems that Promote Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, ED003 on Advancing Equity and Inclusion of LGBTQ+ Scientists, ED010 on Climate Literacy: Reaching Broad Audiences Through Informal Education, Youth Initiatives, Community Impact work, and Media, ED017 on Growing and Diversifying the Earth and Space Science Federal Workforce, ED027 on Sharing Their Science: Enabling Scientists in Public Engagement and Virtual Engagement Efforts.

26-30 October 2020: Going to the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting?
Watch for the (inter)national Day of Anti-Racist Action in Geoscience on Tuesday October 27, 2020.

29 September 2020: Geosciences Department Seminar by Dr. Kuheli Dutt, Earth Institute, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University. The title of the presentation is: Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in the Geosciences. Abstract: The geosciences are among the least diverse STEM fields, with little to no change in racial diversity over the last few decades. The less diverse a field, the greater the reliance on stereotypes and implicit biases, which in turn disproportionately impacts marginalized groups such as women, people of color, and LGBTQ+. Progress towards diversification can only come with a concerted shift in mindsets and a deeper understanding of complex topics such as race, especially in a predominantly White field. This session will provide insights and guidelines on advancing diversity and inclusion in the geosciences, with a focus on understanding systemic racism in the geosciences.

August 28 2020: Faculty attends Engaging with Students around Race and Racism, a workshop by Professor Mark Anthony Neal, in the series Inclusive Leadership: Workshops for Department Chairs and Academic Deans organized by the Faculty Advancement Network. The full video of the workshop (sans the break-out sessions) is posted here. Professor Neal's presentation by itself can be found here.

August 27 2020: Graduate students attend Fostering Inclusion, by Regan Hunt Crotty, as part of the Graduate School Orientation. Thursday at 1pm.

Old News & Past Events


July 20, 2020: Ibram X. Kendi speaks on How to Be an Antiracist.

July 14-15, 2020: Experiences of Black STEM in the Ivory: A Call to Disruptive Action. This two-day event will bring together students, staff, faculty and leadership from five different academic institutions across the country to share their unique perspectives on the current barriers facing Black scholars in STEM fields with the goal of inspiring and challenging participants to take action to address racial inequities in STEM.

July 10 2020: First Townhall Meeting, for all members of the Department of Geosciences. On the agenda: report of past activities, ongoing initiatives and future plans, introduction of new members and new Committee membership structure, solicitation of new ideas, open forum. The event was attended by 68 students, staff, researchers, and faculty.

July 4 2020: The following Letter, written and signed by Faculty, was sent to President Eisgruber and the senior members of the University administration. Read more on some of the ensuing controversy.


5 February 2019: Faculty, post-doctoral researchers, graduate students, and staff attend the streamed Webinar Departmental Climate and GeoEthics presented by David Mogk (Montana State University). Summary: Responsible conduct of scientists is as important as the responsible conduct of research to maintain the health of the scientific enterprise. This webinar explores the nature of personal interactions and how they impact individuals in academic departments. Principles of professionalism (trust, responsibility, respect, fairness, and justice) will be introduced followed by examples of (un)professional behaviors that impact the "climate" of a department (e.g., microaggressions, implicit bias, bullying, sexual harassment, among others). Suggestions will be made on ways to assess your departmental work climate (e.g., strategies for empowering bystanders; climate surveys), and concrete examples will be provided on how to prevent (or mitigate) threatening situations should they arise. Final reflections on where, and by whom, appropriate professional behaviors should be taught in the Earth Science curriculum will be addressed.





Jan 13-15 2017: Faculty delivered lectures at the APS Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP), in the session Hot Topics in Physics (and Related Fields), and postdoctoral researchers and graduate students organized and led lab tours of Guyot Hall. The Department, and individual members on its Faculty, contributed financially towards making this conference, which attracted 230 female undergraduate physicists to our campus, a success.

2016-2017: Faculty members from Geosciences took an active role in the organization of the on-campus APS Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP)


October 27-30 2016: Geosciences Faculty and University staff attended the National Society of Black Physicists 2016 Conference: The Value of the Minority Physics Student: A Talent Source for America’s Technical Future, at Fermilab in Batavia, Ill. Geophysics faculty participated in panel discussions, and conducted resume-workshopping sessions with undergraduate attendees.


February 25-28 2015: Geosciences Faculty and University staff attended the National Society of Black Physicists 2015 Conference: Re-Visioning the Future of Scientific Leadership, in Baltimore, Md. Geophysics faculty presented the poster Geophysics: Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts.


23 April 2014: Circulation of the plan Increasing Diversity in the Department of Geosciences, written by the Geosciences Diversity Committee, and endorsed by all Geosciences Faculty members.


26 November 2013: Birth of the Geosciences Diversity Committee, chaired by Jorge Sarmiento.

September 2013: Princeton University releases the report of the Trustee Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity

Workshops & Training Opportunities

Princeton offers an array of courses and workshops taught by internal and external speakers. Consult the Employee Learning Center under Diversity & Inclusion for specific offerings. Specific examples from past courses taken or lectures attended by our Faculty and Staff are: Engaging with Students around Race and Racism by Mark Anthony Neal, Inclusive Teaching for a Diverse Scientific Workforce by Allison Gammie,  Leveraging Diversity, Challenges and Opportunities, by Sharon Fries-Britt, How to be A Male Ally to Women in STEM, by Chris Kilmartin, Creating an Inclusive Classroom: Ideas from Whistling Vivaldi, by the McGraw Center for Teaching & Learning Inclusive Teaching at Princeton series...

The Committee welcomes input and news about upcoming events, so that we can effectively and widely share them.

Reading Suggestions

The University, Social Justice, and Free Inquiry,  by Mark F. Bernstein (Princeton Alumni Weekly, 9 Sep 2020).

If you want more women in your workforce, here’s how to recruit, by Emma Pierson et al. (Nature, 26 Aug 2020).

What Black scientists want from colleagues and their institutions, by Virginia Gewin (Nature, 22 Jun 2020).

Race After Technology, by Ruha Benjamin (Polity, 2019).

Invisible Labor, by Eric Anthony Grollman (Inside Higher Ed, 15 Dec 2015).

Initiatives & Activities

Predoctoral Fellowship Initiative

The Geosciences graduate program participates in the Predoctoral Fellowship Initiative. Members of groups that have been historically and are presently underrepresented in the academy are encouraged to apply as part of their application for the Ph. D. program. We are eager to make this program a success, and we advise you to speak to us early about your eligibility. Contact our graduate program administrators so they can give you appropriate advice and connect you to one of our Faculty members or others in the Department knowledgeable about the application process. 

Graduate Application GRE Scores

The Geosciences graduate program no longer uses GRE scores in making admission decisions. Do not submit your scores - they are not accepted. Our assessment of applicants has always been holistic, but it has now evolved to including a standardized online interview with a small group of faculty advisors. Domestic applicants are encouraged to visit us on campus at any time during the application process. If your application has been shortlisted we will provide financial assistance to make that happen.

Graduate Application Fee Waivers

The Geosciences graduate program is committed to making sure that application fees do not impose unnecessary financial hardship on our applicants. The Graduate School now has an easy way for applicants to request fee waivers. Contact our graduate program administrators if you have any questions or experience any issues with this aspect of your application.

Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows Program

The Department is eager to promote applicants for the Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows Program, which recognizes and supports scholars who can contribute to the University’s diversity, broadly defined, including members of groups that have been historically and are presently underrepresented in the academy or in particular disciplines, such as racial and ethnic minorities and women in STEM. The Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows Program is meant to encourage early-career scholars to pursue a career in academia by supporting their postdoctoral work at the University. Please directly contact a prospective Faculty mentor at any time, irrespective of posted deadlines, so that we may coach you on your application, and help you direct it to the right place.

Princeton Women in Geosciences

The Department supports the activities of the Princeton Women in Geosciences (PWiGS). Their primary mission is to increase the retention and boost the morale of women in the Earth Sciences through the development of an active peer network and the fostering of mentorship. PWiGS strives to create a support system for female scientists at all career levels that values academic achievement and satisfaction, promotes work-life balance, and initiates positive conversations about both.

Seminars & Lectures

The Department maintains a very active schedule of workshops, seminars, lectures, and other events by visitors from the world at large, both academic and professional. Seminar organizers and event coordinators rotate among Faculty, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students. Contact them with your suggestions for speakers that will enhance our commitment to diversity, access and inclusion, and reach out to one of our Committee members if you have ideas, suggestions or specific requests that you would like to put our keep on our collective agenda. 

Public Service

The Department supports and encourages its members, including undergraduate students and graduate students, to engage in public service. Many of these activities are centrally coordinated at the University level, but our Faculty and staff are eager to help you find meaningful opportunities with domain-specific angles, and will support and recognize your individual and collective engagement. Students, talk to your advisors - and do contact one of our Committee members if you have any questions related to this important aspect of your education.

Outreach Events

Our Faculty are keen on participating in outreach events where we can share and amplify the message of the Geosciences being a vibrant, active and societally relevant field of research and education open to all. Inquiries, e.g., requests for speakers, mentors, advocates, and facilitators, from membership organizations serving underrepresented communities, undergraduate conferences, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, community colleges, and other such entities, are very much welcomed, and can be directed to one of our Committee members for further follow-up.

Service and Outreach Award for Graduate Students

The Department is soliciting nominations, including self-nominations, for a newly instituted award, provisionally named the "Geosciences Service and Outreach Award for Graduate Students".

Up to two awards may be given per year. Honorees will be chosen by the Department Diversity Committee (faculty, postdoctoral and undergraduate, but not graduate representatives), from nominations received on a running basis, with an annual cut-off early in the Fall Term.

The awards, which consist of a monetary prize and an official notice in the Departmental records and publications, are intended to recognize, and thereby stimulate, broader impacts - in the form of service (including but not limited to diversity), outreach, and advocacy beyond the traditional definitions of "research" and "teaching".

Nominations consist of a single PDF (strictly limited to one page) with the (1) name of the candidate, (2) a brief citation suitable for editing into publication, and (3) a short narrative strengthening the motivation for the nomination.

Any member of the Geosciences Department may lead a nomination. Nominations can (but need not) be co-signed for endorsement by others from inside or outside the University Community, providing their name and contact details. Multiple independent nominations of the same person will be jointly considered. Nominations not resulting in an award will be carried over to the next nomination period.

The cut-off date for the 2020 Awards nomination process is Monday September 7th, 2020. All Geosciences and AOS graduate students currently enrolled, and all Geosciences and AOS Ph. D. graduates of the Class of 2020, are eligible. Nominations are to be sent via email to Ms. Dawn Reading at reading@princeton.edu.

Departmental Demographics

 The Office of Institutional Research maintains a public Diversity Dashboard with demographic data at the University level.

Here are the most recent data for our Department as identified by the search term "Geosciences" in the database to which direct public access is restricted: FacultyPostdocGraduateUndergraduate | Doctoral. Comparisons on doctoral degree completion with other research-intensive universities by Race/Ethnicity and Gender. Please contact Shawn Maxam with any questions or to request access.

Departmental Code of Conduct for Field Work

At one point or another, even the most theoretical geoscientist ventures out into "the field" for research or education. Princeton University's Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities apply while traveling every bit as much as on campus. The added provisions for responsible conduct and leadership in the field are spelled out in a document that is signed by all field trip participants prior to departure, a survey of all participants is conducted after every field experience, and a permanent record is kept.

Other Ways to Give

Advocacy relies on spending time and effort. Money goes a long way, too. In this section we'll be posting a number of initiatives that you can support monetarily—if you wish and have the means to do so. Drop us a line if you know of particularly worthy initiatives that you might like highlighted here.

Committee Members:

Supporting the Committee:

Former Committee Members: