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The UNC SOM Rising Star Program to Increase Faculty Diversity

Program Director: Ms. Darian Blakey

Co-directors: Dr. Ashalla Freeman and Dr. Jose Rodriguez-Romaguera

The UNC SOM’s Rising Star Program’s main goal is to increase diversity among faculty members in the basic sciences, with a specific focus on groups historically minoritized in the basic sciences. This program provides training to postdoctoral fellows from underrepresented groups to help them excel during the faculty interview process by exposing admitted fellows to the same components that they will experience during the faculty job interview process. This includes job talks, chalk talks, and multiple one-on-one faculty interviews. Participants will also attend workshops on the faculty environment and negotiating hiring packages. We will be doing a monthly webinar series over the next couple of month to recruit candidates to the program. The webinar series is open to all (especially postdocs). For more details on the program and the webinar series please see the link below. This program is sponsored by the School of Medicine Vice Dean for Research, Dr. Blossom Damania, the SOM Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship awarded to PhD Student Hernan Mendez and Dr. Kathleen Caron.


The Level the Playing Field Group

Founder: Mr. Nehemiah Stewart

Level the Playing Field is a three phase program tailored towards recruiting, training, and ultimately placing black students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) and Primarily White Institutions (PWI’s) into influential career positions.

In our inaugural year, I have worked extensively with faculty, staff, and alumni from UNC, Duke, and NCCU to provide workshops, internships, and funding for 12 black students from the three universities. In the following years, we will work alongside the DEI department at UNC Chapel Hill to scale the program to other university systems.