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2018-19 Innovation Grants

As part of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion's efforts to implement the ideas found in the 2017 Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Vision, and in partnership with Student Affairs, eleven innovative, grassroots projects received funding. 

We received 98 proposals from across the Davis campus, the professional schools, and the Health System, with a total ask of more than $425,000. With so many innovative ideas to build on the university’s commitment to diversity, it is clear we are moving towards a more inclusive campus together.

Below are brief summaries of the projects awarded funding this year. 

  • Women and Non-binary of color Scholars Inclusion Project
  • Project Leads: Jasmine Wade, Doctoral Student, Cultural Studies and Rashana Lydner, Doctoral Student, French
    The Women and Non-binary folks of color Scholar Inclusion Project (WOCSI) group hopes to seek funding to continue the program, which has been in effect for one year. We hope to continue to aid in the retention of women of color, networking across departments and campuses and in creating community. By creating reading groups between faculty and graduate students as well as a colloquium on navigating academia, a research symposium and networking events, we hope to continue to foster an environment of community between the present and future members of WOCSI.
  • African Diaspora Ambassadors
  • Project Lead: Sheryl Hicks, Associate Director California Recruitment
    African Diaspora Ambassadors will be the official volunteer program for UC Davis students from the African Diaspora. They will support Undergraduate Admissions recruitment, outreach and yield efforts, such as student panels, hosts for Aggie Senior Weekend, provide culturally sensitive campus tours and student panels, work with CADSS to provide facilities tours, visit their previous high school or community college, and table at African Diaspora-focused fairs in the local region.

  • Environmental Justice Living-Learning Community: Environmental & Agricultural Sustainability Education (EASE)
  • Project Lead: Erin Mross, First-Year Experience Coordinator
    Throughout the 2018-2019 academic year, we will take a group of first-year students living on our EASE Living-Learning Community through this pilot program to assess effectiveness and scalability for our other Living-Learning Communities. EASE students will participate in a For-Credit seminar which will also be a First-Year Aggie Connection in fall 2018. This seminar will focus on transitioning to the university and will be a retention tool, however will primarily be focused on environmental justice and promoting positive social change through agriculture and food.

  • Undergraduate Womxn in Economics Seminar Series
  • Project Lead: Anya Gibson, Undergraduate Programs Supervisor
    Women are underrepresented in the Economics program although they comprise the majority of the undergraduate population at UC Davis. By creating programming specifically targeting our women identified undergraduate students (womxn), the department is confident that this can promote a more inclusive, equitable campus. Using Harvard’s Undergraduate Women in Economics Project’s best practices, we propose to create eight seminar-style events led by womxn faculty in the department. By highlighting the research and experiences of successful womxn economists, these events would help undergraduate students develop confidence in their understanding of economics, promote research skills, foster mentorship and networking among peers, graduate students, and faculty, and discuss strategies for success in a male-dominated field.

  • Underrepresented in Medicine (UiM) Trainee Mentorship Program
  • Project Lead: Bethel Essaw, PGY-1, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
    We propose a series of monthly meetings for trainees that will include a short presentation by an invited speaker/senior mentor on specific topics followed by a time for discussion. Examples of topics include strategies in addressing stereotype threat, recognizing impostor syndrome, and how to respond to racism/discrimination from patients. Additionally, the group will be involved in recruiting diverse trainees by sending representatives to the LMSA and SNMA regional/national conferences to recruit medical students into UCD residency programs.

  • Audio Descriptions for Students with Visual Impairments
  • Project Lead: Joshua Hori, Accessible Technology Analyst, DIAAC ChairI propose that the University invests in AIRA to provide real-time audio descriptions for students with visual impairments. AIRA is device used in combination with a subscription service that allows students with low or no vision to participate in visual classroom activities in real-time without the support of an assistant. The translator or “Agent” communicates the visual information orally to the student through an ear piece so that the student has immediate access to course material.

  • ​​​​​​​“Documenting the undocumented”:  immigrant voices of the past and present
  • Project Lead: Mónica Torreiro-Casal, Lecturer at Chicana/o Studies
    ​​​​​​​The proposed project aims to engage students to examine current and past narratives from immigrant communities related to their lived experiences, perceived contributions and identified challenges as well as support systems of integrating these communities into society. This research would build on an IRB approved project we are currently conducting at UC Davis, entitled “Immigration narratives resisting anti-immigrant discourses in the US.” Through an anonymous online survey, we are gathering narratives from immigrants – some of whom may otherwise be afraid to speak out due to their immigration status.
  • Indigenous Caribbean
  • Project Lead: Beth Rose Middleton, Associate Professor, Department of Native American Studies
    "Indigenous Caribbean" proposes to create dynamic and engaged undergraduate curricula on the Indigenous Caribbean, including exploration of understandings of Indigeneity (as dependent upon factors of context, history, and phenotype) across the Caribbean; intersecting and divergent histories of distinct Indigeneities in the Caribbean space (African, Native, and others); contemporary Indigenous Caribbean political, environmental, and legal struggles; Indigenous Caribbean social movements; and Indigenous Caribbean culture, music, and dance.
  • Improving Clinical Outcomes for Underserved LGBTQ+ Populations Through Intersectional Capacity Building for Medical Students at UC Davis Student-Run Clinics
  • Project Lead: Esther H. Kang, MD Candidate
    Most UC Davis School of Medicine (UCDSOM) medical students work at Student-Run Clinics (SRCs) that provide care for culturally and linguistically diverse communities within the Sacramento area, making SRCs a unique opportunity through which we can provide culturally sensitive LGBTQ+ trainings to medical students. In this project, we aim to deliver a series of LGBTQ+ training workshops to first and second year UCDSOM students working in SRCs. In these workshops, we hope to create dialogue that considers the intersections of sexual, gender, racial, and ethnic identities, and in turn, cultivate lifelong learners who provide affirming, patient-centered care and drive change in health care.
  • New City Ideals 
  • Project Lead: Sheryl-Ann Simpson, Assistant Professor, Department of Human Ecology
    New City Ideals will bring together a group of UC Davis students and high school students living in public housing in Sacramento to participate in ongoing urban and environmental design research. Supervised by current academic research staff, this diverse group of youth and students will have an opportunity to engage directly in the research process by working alongside professional researchers. Exposing a diverse group of students to this process has the potential to encourage greater diversity in the research community.
  • Career Next Steps Series: Explore, Acquire, Connect
  • Project Lead: Eva Lee, Senior Career Advisor, Liberal Arts & Business
    Career Next Steps Series: Explore, Acquire, Connect is a professional development series comprised of networking opportunities and skills-building workshops for UC Davis first generation, women, and low-income students of color. Students will receive a Certificate of Completion, professional portfolio folder, business cards, and a LinkedIn photo upon completion of the series. Following are the four core components of this series: Career Chats, Diversity in the Workplace Panels, Salary Negotiation for Women Workshops, Land Your Dream Job: Uncovering your Strengths Workshops.