Gilliam Advisers’ Projects

Karla Kaun

“The Gilliam Fellowship program provided me and my mentee with the knowledge and language to understand and counter challenges that underrepresented students in the sciences face. We have incorporated monthly discussions in my lab on topics related to diversity and equity in an effort to educate ourselves and create an inclusive lab environment that is comfortable for people of diverse backgrounds and outlooks. I also used the knowledge I gained from the Gilliam mentor training workshops to develop a series of workshops for faculty in my department to become informed on how to create and maintain an inclusive and diverse work environment. Faculty that participate in the workshops have mentioned that they see a visible change in the confidence of their underrepresented mentees.”

Karla Kaun, PhD, Gilliam Adviser
Brown University

Tracy Johnson

“One of the challenges in graduate education that we would like to address is the dearth of intentional and effective mentor training. While nearly all graduate mentors approach their mentorship with the best intentions, there is little specific training provided to faculty at the beginning of their careers. One idea is to hold a symposium focused on effective mentoring for faculty. This will take place in conjunction with a seminar visit from Dr. Beronda Montgomery, a biochemist who has also written extensively about mentoring. We will be working closely with the Deans of life and physical sciences as well as the Dean of the School of Medicine to incentivize faculty participation.”

Tracy Johnson, PhD, Gilliam Adviser

Ben Major

“Two of my graduate students were awarded HHMI Gilliam Fellowships. Being a part of the Gilliam community has been substantial for myself, my university and for my students. With matching institutional support, I am using the Gilliam Diversity and Inclusion funds to ensure that tenure-track faculty searches include a minimum of one candidate from an underrepresented group. To date, this has resulted in several job offers as well as providing faculty candidates with invaluable interview experience and new academic collaborations. More personally, I have benefited immensely from the Gilliam training in faculty mentorship and inclusive excellence, with increasingly rewarding mentor-mentee relationships. Not only do my students and I talk about research and the various paths to realize their career aspirations, we discuss many aspects of diversity, equality and inclusion in science and in our community. Undoubtedly, the HHMI Gilliam Fellowships, mentorship training and Gilliam support network has and continues to empower my science, the effectiveness of my mentorship and ultimately the success of my students.”

Ben Major, PhD, Gilliam Adviser
Washington University in St. Louis

Christina Hull

“I chose to focus my initial dissemination efforts from the Gilliam Adviser training on teaching the faculty in my department about culturally aware and inclusive practices. We then developed strategies to increase equity, diversity, inclusion, and wellness at both the laboratory and departmental levels in our department and interleaved them with the goals of the School of Medicine and Public Health in which our department resides. We created a standing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee that is responsible for continuing education of the faculty on DEI topics that now takes place at every monthly faculty meeting. This approach has been recognized by the SMPH leadership, and other departments are being encouraged to do the same. Through this data-driven, peer education approach, faculty are given relevant information they need in both an efficient and continuous manner, leading to improved faculty engagement and participation. Faculty learn specific actions they can take to improve mentoring and create a more inclusive culture in science. Most importantly, they appear to be discussing cultural awareness regularly and taking individual actions to effect positive changes in our graduate training environments.”

Christina Hull, PhD, Gilliam Adviser
University of Wisconsin-Madison