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Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Faculty, staff, and students of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences are committed to the principles of a diverse and inclusive academic community. We are further committed to taking the actions needed to build and sustain such a representative community. Our program values all backgrounds and perspectives, particularly as they contribute to our shared goals for quality research, education, and professional development. The department actively fosters an inclusive environment and has established several new programs with this aim – these include a Vanderbilt chapter of Association for Women Geoscientists, a new partnership with Tennessee State University called Earth Horizons that builds geoscience career pathways for under-represented students, and our faculty leaders hosting an Earth Educators’ Rendezvous workshop to broaden participation of underrepresented minorities in the geosciences. These department level activities are complemented by college-level efforts through the Russell G. Hamilton Graduate Leadership Institute.

Vanderbilt and EES are second to none at ensuring you feel welcome, included, and are an essential contributor to the community.  We cannot wait for you to join us!

Earth Horizons

Earth Horizons is a partnership between TSU and Vanderbilt that aims “to strengthen the pathway for minority students entering into geoscience careers and graduate programs to address these issues”. More information about the program and how to join can be found at

AWG- Association of Women Geoscientists

The Vanderbilt chapter of the Association for Women Geoscientists is dedicated to addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in both our department and geosciences as a whole. This extends not only to those of gender identity, but also race, sexuality, and physical ability, among other intersectional identities. The chapter currently sponsors the departmental Unlearning Racism in the Geosciences (URGE) pod, and is in the process of developing a series of graduate student-led inclusivity seminars focused on fieldwork.

Our chapter is led by Kat Turk (president), Kelsea Best (vice president), Sarah Williams (coordinator), and Genna Chiaro (treasurer). Chapter leadership can be reached at

Academic Pathways

The Academic Pathways program is designed to prepare recently graduated doctoral students (Ph.D., Ed.D., etc.) and/or a law degree (J.D.) for competitive academic careers. The need is particularly acute to develop faculty candidates who come from diverse racial, ethnic and other backgrounds and experiences, as differing experiences, views and perspectives are of exceptional value for academic institutions in their research and educational roles.

EES’s Isaiah Bolden had this to say about the program: “Though my time as a Fellow just began in January, numerous aspects of the program have allowed me to hit the ground running with my proposed postdoctoral research on Caribbean climate change reconstructions. My mentor (Dr. Jessica Oster), my host department (Earth & Environmental Sciences), AP program staff, and other past and current AP fellows have been incredibly welcoming and supportive of me and my research interests. I have been able to expand my network (as much as one can during a global pandemic) of mentors and collaborators, and I have even begun to plan a field research season for Fall/Winter 2021 (fingers-crossed)…I am thrilled that the Academic Pathways program provides infrastructure to develop and receive feedback on the numerous professional skills, from research to writing to teaching, necessary for a career in academia. I hope to incorporate these experiences into my own mentorship strategies for future students/postdocs”.

More can be read about Academic Pathways here.

Leadership Alliance

Vanderbilt is a member of The Leadership Alliance, a consortium of 31 institutions of higher learning dedicated to increasing diversity in doctoral programs and on college and university faculties. The Alliance collaborates in a number of programs, from undergraduate research to national symposia, to increase the participation of historically underrepresented groups in higher education. Vanderbilt is a participant in the Alliance’s Summer Research Early Identification Program (SR-EIP) and maintains a summer research program for undergraduates who are racial/ethnic minorities, women in the sciences and engineering majors, or who are from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Students accepted for Vanderbilt’s Leadership Alliance group will work with a Vanderbilt faculty member, as a research assistant in either a laboratory project or a research project appropriate to a humanities or social science field.  Access the SR-EIP application here.