A Diversity and Inclusion Statement from the PI of CRIS Lab (Dr. Sanchez)
I have a strong commitment to diversifying 1) the focus of our science (e.g., by studying marginalized populations who are often overlooked) and 2) the participation of scientists (e.g., by engaging in broadening participation efforts). Fostering diversity in my laboratory, classroom, as well as the broader university and the field of social psychology, is one of my core professional goals for two reasons: the many scientifically supported benefits that come from diversity in educational and professional settings (Antonio et al., 2004; Galinksy et al., 2015; Gurin et al., 2002; Phillips, Kim-Jun, & Shim, 2011) and the importance of reducing social inequalities in educational and economic outcomes. To achieve these goals, I spent three years serving as a member of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology’s Diversity and Climate Committee (SPSP-DCC) and an additional two years as the co-chair of this committee. On the SPSP-DCC, I coordinated, evaluated, and revised diversity-related awards/grants, policies and conference programming as well as designed and analyzed an organization-wide climate survey to provide SPSP with important information needed to tailor policies, procedures, and funding priorities to promote diversity and inclusivity. Most importantly, I served as an advocate and advisor to the board of directors at SPSP so that diversity and inclusion was a priority in organizational decision-making.
I have also spent 10 years serving and (often) chairing the Psychology Department Diversity and Climate Committee (Psych-DCC) at Rutgers. On the Psych-DCC, I created a faculty of color group, a new postdoctoral position focused on mentoring students from underrepresented groups, a new website consolidating resources for minority students, and developed a new infrastructure to ensure that advocates of diversity had a voice among the department leadership. I was then selected as a faculty fellow in the dean’s office to oversee and coordinate DEI activities across the nine departments that comprise the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences. In this role, I spearheaded a Race, Racism and Intersecting Inequality Diversity Cluster hiring proposal (that was funded by Office of the President) to bring an interdisciplinary group of five new faculty members to Rutgers. I currently serve as a coordinator of this cluster initiative to create the community necessary to make Rutgers a leading institution of researchers addressing race, racism and inequality. Moreover, this year, I am chairing the SAS DEI committee to develop a strategic plan to meet the address Rutgers University’s diversity priorities.
In addition to my DEI work at the university level, I actively mentor undergraduate students from underrepresented and disadvantaged communities in my laboratory through summer internship programs that serve to broaden participation in science such as McNair, Rutgers RISE, SPSP-SPUR and Rutgers Dorothy and David Cooper Fellowships. To provide some tangible data on my commitment to diversity, of the 23 honors theses students that I have mentored in my career, 13 of them were racial/ethnic minorities. Of the nine doctoral students that have graduated from my lab, four of them are members of racial/ethnic minority groups that are underrepresented in the field. I credit my diversity science approach for attracting these high-achieving students to my laboratory. I feel fortunate to continually have a laboratory that reflects the demographic diversity of students across several dimensions (e.g.., nationality, sexuality, race/ethnicity, gender) and together, we create a safe, intellectually engaging environment that facilitates new discoveries in science.
Antonio, A. L., Chang, M. J., Hakuta, K., Kenny, D. A., Levin, S., & Milem, J. F. (2004). Effects of racial diversity on complex thinking in college students. Psychological Science, 15(8), 507–510.
Gurin, P. Dey, E., Hurtado, S., & Gurin, G. (2002). Diversity and higher education: Theory and impact on educational outcomes. Harvard Educational Review, 72, 330-367.
Phillips, K., Kim-Jun, S., & Shim, S. (2011). The value of diversity in organizations: A social psychological perspective. In De Cremer, D; Van Dick, R & Murnighan, JK (Eds.), Social Psychology and Organizations (pgs. 253-272). New York: Routledge.