Scripps Explores Connections between Diversity and Science in New Lecture Series

DEEP Connections lecture series and several Black History Month-inspired virtual events to focus on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the sciences

A new lecture series is bringing conversations about equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in science to the forefront at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Students, faculty, staff, and members of the public are invited to participate in the DEEP Connections (Developing Engagement through Existing Pipeline Connections) lecture series, as well as several other virtual programs offered throughout February in recognition of Black History Month.

DEEP Connections explores the intersections of diversity and science by highlighting the scientific endeavors of traditionally underrepresented and marginalized scholars who are also advocates for advancing EDI in the fields of earth, ocean, and atmospheric sciences. The series came to fruition in late January 2021 thanks to efforts by the Scripps Equity, Diversity & Inclusion team.

“The DEEP Connections lectures were designed to provide an in-depth look at how communities within science, research, and academia can step up to the plate to foster a positive and welcoming climate for all,” said Scripps Director Margaret Leinen. “Diversity of perspectives and expertise are assets, especially when it comes to dealing with issues that are so closely connected with society—whether it’s climate change, overfishing, or the impacts of oceans on human health. We need all hands on deck, and we need all scientists to feel welcome when they get here.”

During the inaugural DEEP Connections lecture, speakers Dawn Wright (Esri; Scripps Director’s Council), Billy M. Williams (American Geophysical Union), and Brandon Jones (National Science Foundation) spoke about their paths through science, some of the obstacles they’ve encountered as underrepresented scientists, and their work to combat systemic racism and create positive change within their respective organizations. (View the full lecture here.)

DEEP Connections flyer for Feb. 2, 2021 event

The next DEEP Connections event will take place virtually on Feb. 2 at noon, followed by a Q&A. Featured speakers Aradhna Tripati (UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability; Center for Diverse Leadership in Science), Vernon R. Morris (NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences; Howard University), and Hendratta N. Ali (Fort Hays State University) will discuss their scientific and EDI-related work.

Other virtual events offered by Scripps in February include a two-part Black History Month seminar, “Excellence and Equity are Not Mutually Exclusive,” sponsored by the Oceans and Atmosphere Section of Scripps and organized by PhD candidate Tashiana Osborne and researcher Art Miller.

“It was important for us to organize this two-part seminar to feature and discuss the current state of affairs and calls to action involving justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) efforts within the department and university. We also wanted to spotlight and develop meaningful collaborations transcending oceans and borders,” said Osborne. “My hope is that, with more hands on deck dedicated to active roles and clear steps necessary to achieve collective JEDI goals, we can raise the standard for ‘excellence’ both internally and internationally.”

“Ocean Corps,” part one of the seminar series, is scheduled Feb. 5 from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Researchers will discuss their work with the Coastal Ocean Environment Summer School in Ghana (COESSING) and efforts to build a global Ocean Peace Corps. Speakers include Scripps researchers Drew Lucas, Anna Savage, and Osborne, COESSING co-founders Brian Arbic (University of Michigan) and Joseph Ansong (University of Ghana), and other colleagues.

“SIO JEDI Visions,” part two of the series, is scheduled Feb. 23 from 12–2 p.m. Faculty and community members from Scripps and UC San Diego will lead discussions on university justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts and visions. Featured speakers are UC San Diego Provost of Eleanor Roosevelt College Ivan Evans and several from Scripps including Keiara Auzenne, Amina Schartup, Jennifer MacKinnon, Danielle McHaskell, Carly Ellis, and Peter Yao, with introductory remarks by Director Leinen.

Additionally, Scripps is hosting an Institutional Seminar, titled “Black Excellence at Scripps,” on Feb. 16 at 1:30 p.m. The seminar will feature alumni and current students and staff speaking about their experiences at Scripps. A virtual timeline of Black contributions to Scripps will also be revealed and discussed.

These upcoming EDI-focused lectures are part of a multi-pronged approach by Scripps to attract, retain, and support a diverse faculty, staff, and student body with the goal of reflecting California demographics and achieving institutional excellence. The field of geosciences is among the least diverse in science, with only 10 percent of doctoral degrees in geosciences going to recipients of color, and less than 4 percent of tenure-track positions being held by people of color at the country’s top 100 geoscience departments. As a global leader in research, Scripps is dedicated to improving these statistics.

Learn how you can get involved in supporting EDI efforts at Scripps by visiting the Community Engagement page, and stay informed about upcoming events by visiting the events calendar.

UC San Diego is also offering several virtual programs throughout Black History Month. This year’s theme is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity,” which explores the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States. For a complete list of events, please visit UC San Diego’s Black History Month website.

More broadly, Black in Marine Sciences is an organization that aims to change the cultural experience of Black people in marine science. Learn how you can get involved by following #BlackInMarineScience on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to check out BIMS Bites, a weekly YouTube series featuring Black scientists presenting a five-minute bite into marine science topics.

About Scripps Oceanography

Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego is one of the world’s most important centers for global earth science research and education. In its second century of discovery, Scripps scientists work to understand and protect the planet, and investigate our oceans, Earth, and atmosphere to find solutions to our greatest environmental challenges. Scripps offers unparalleled education and training for the next generation of scientific and environmental leaders through its undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs. The institution also operates a fleet of four oceanographic research vessels, and is home to Birch Aquarium at Scripps, the public exploration center that welcomes 500,000 visitors each year.

About UC San Diego

At the University of California San Diego, we embrace a culture of exploration and experimentation. Established in 1960, UC San Diego has been shaped by exceptional scholars who aren’t afraid to look deeper, challenge expectations and redefine conventional wisdom. As one of the top 15 research universities in the world, we are driving innovation and change to advance society, propel economic growth and make our world a better place. Learn more at

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