Departmental Diversity Seminar Series

African American man giving a public speech.

The Departmental Diversity Seminar Series provides STEM and STEM-relevant academic departments across the university the opportunity to seek funding support to invite scientists from racial, ethnic, or gender groups underrepresented in their STEM discipline to campus to give talks using the department’s existing seminar infrastructure (time slot, room, advertising etc.).


The series aims to increase diversity in academia by exposing CWRU students with STEM aspirations to role models that share their racial, ethnic, and/or gender identity. Showcasing the accomplishments of scholars in STEM disciplines who belong to marginalized groups will broaden the awareness of issues related to diversity within the STEM disciplines and provide opportunities to expand professional networks or initiate new collaborations. Ultimately, the series hopes to enrich the diversity within the pools of faculty candidates and deepen the diversity of faculty across the Case Western Reserve campus, and across the globe.


    1. Mini-Bioreactors to Elucidate Bacterial Communication in the Vaginal and Upper Respiratory Tract with Corine Jackman Burdan
      Sept. 14, 2023
      Learn About the Sept. 14 Event
    2. Mechanoregulation During Neurogenesis and Cancer: An Ancient Molecule Controlling Stem Cell Differentiation and Motility with Chrystian Junqueira Alves
      Oct. 26, 2023
      Learn About the Oct. 26 Event

    2022/2023 Seminars

    1. Long-range Transport and Interactions of Charged Colloids under Aperiodic Electrodiffusiophoresis with Carlos A. Silvera Batista
      April 20, 2023
      Learn About the April 20 Event
    2. Microfabrication Approaches to Control Stem Cell Fate and Function with Quinton Smith
      March 23, 2023
      Learn About the March 23 Event
    3. Frontiers in Chemistry with Makola Abdullah, President, Virginia State University
      March 2, 2023
      Learn About the March 2 Event
    4. Using Macrophage Polarization for Enhanced Delivery and Diagnostics with Elizabeth Wayne
      Feb. 14, 2023
      Learn About the Feb. 14 Event
    5. Functionally Stratified Encoding in a Biological Gyroscope with Brad Dickerson
      Feb. 9. 2023
      Learn About the Feb. 9 Event
    6. Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Seminar featuring L. Sebastian Bryson: "Using Satellite Soil Moisture Data for the Prediction of Landslides"
      Dec. 2, 2022
      Learn About the Dec. 2 Event
    7. Raymond F. Boyer Lecture Series Macromolecular Science Colloquium featuring Marcelo Marucho
      Nov. 11, 2022
      Learn About the Nov. 11 Event
    8. Addressing Racial and Phenotypic Bias in Emerging Non-invasive Neurotechnologies featuring Jasmine Kwasa
      Oct. 4, 2022
      Learn About the Oct. 4 Event
    9. BAFI Research Seminar with Kelly Shue, "Noisy Experts: Discretion in Regulation"
      Sept. 30, 2022
      Learn About the Sept. 30 Event
    10. Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative Departmental Diversity Seminar featuring Macarius Donneyong
      Sept. 22, 2022
      Learn About the Sept. 22 Event

    Request a Speaker & Program Details

    STEM and STEM-related academic departments can request funds from the Office of the Provost to host a seminar speaker from groups underrepresented in their STEM discipline. The requests will be reviewed by a panel of faculty with expertise in underrepresented STEM recruitment and engagement.

    Take Me to the Request Form

    Seminar speakers may be from any level along the STEM career pathway (from graduate student through full professor) and will be compensated with a modest honorarium depending on stage of career pathway

    Seminar speakers must agree to give two talks:

    • a one-hour science talk on their research or scholarship; and
    • a one-hour discussion with students, where the speaker shares their scientific journey, obstacles overcome, words of wisdom, etc., and answers questions from the student audience.

    All STEM and STEM-relevant academic departments at CWRU are eligibility to request funding to host a speaker. Host departments should aggressively recruit students at all levels to attend both seminars. Special effort should be made to encourage underrepresented students and postdoctoral researchers in host department to attend both seminars.

    The following are allowable expenses that host departments can charge to the Departmental Diversity Seminar Series program:

    • Travel
    • Housing
    • Meals
    • Refreshments for both seminars
    • Refreshments for post seminar reception
    • Speaker honorarium

    **Note: The maximum allowable funding request by host department per speaker is $3000.

    Questions? Contact Jocelynn Clemings in the Office of the Provost at

    Q: Would it be possible to expand this program to include students/scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences? 
    A: We do not currently have plans to expand this program to include students/scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences. This initiative was first presented by members of our STEM faculty who saw a need to improve diversity in the STEM disciplines specifically. We want to be true to that intention and remain focused on STEM for now.

    Q: Are student groups eligible for funding support through the Departmental Diversity Seminar Series?
    A: Unfortunately, student groups are not eligible for funding. Students should work with a faculty member or department chair who could ultimately submit the request.

    Q: Are these seminars expected to be in-person only? 
    A: No. Seminars may be in-person, remote or a combination. That said, we would anticipate a smaller budget given any virtual offerings.

    Q: When will we be notified on whether we will be permitted to host a seminar? 
    A: Requests are received on a rolling basis and response times will vary. 

    Q: How are funds dispersed?
    A: All speaker costs should be charged to the host department's OPR account. These transactions should be highlighted on a financial report and sent to Jocelynn Clemings ( and  Todd Rasmussen ( for processing. A corresponding credit will be journaled back to the host department up to the approved amount.

    Q: When should funds be used?
    A: Funds may be used at the discretion of the Office of the Provost, until termination of the program.