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Three PhD Students Honored with SMD Equity and Inclusion Award

 URMC Diversity Award winners - 2021

From left to right: Raven Osborn, PhD candidate in Translational Biomedical Sciences, Katherine Andersh, PhD candidate in Neuroscience, and Briaunna Minor, PhD candidate in Microbiology,  received the 2021 Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Equity and Inclusion during SMD Opening Convocation on Sept. 20.

The School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD) welcomed students, honored excellence, and marked the official start of a new academic year with Opening Convocation held on Sept. 20.

Convocation is a time when we come together to celebrate the many accomplishments of our School of Medicine and Dentistry faculty and learners,” - Mark Taubman, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of URMC, and Dean of SMD

 “The individuals we recognize today are a testament to the superb teaching and mentoring, top-notch research, outstanding academic performances, and excellence in patient care and community service that occurs in our School day in and day out.”

This year’s event marked the first time honoring students with the new Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Equity and Inclusion. Established in 2021, this award recognizes an SMD student or student group for outstanding effort in advancing equity and inclusion. Nominees must demonstrate a sustained passion for and commitment to promoting equity and inclusion through their research, institutional, administrative, and/or other service-related efforts. It is expected that nominees’ efforts show a demonstrated impact upon the communities they serve.

In its inaugural year, this award was given to Raven Osborn, Katherine Andersh, and Briaunna Minor, all PhD students and executive board members of the University’s Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering (ADSE).

Over the past year, they have been instrumental in advocating for a more welcoming and inclusive learning environment across the Medical Center and the University by leading the charge with the graduate student addendum to the Actions Speak Louder demands.

“They demonstrate their tremendous courage and commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion with their willingness to publicly challenge the status quo and hold institutional leadership accountable,” says Rick Libby, PhD, senior associate dean for Graduate Education and Post-Doctoral Affairs.

Osborn, president of ADSE and a PhD candidate in Translational Biomedical Sciences, says the public acknowledgment is great, but what’s even better is knowing the lasting effect the program’s work will have on the University.

“Honestly, the programs and the institutional changes that are coming out of the work are really the rewards,” she says. "I care about my community. I care to make sure that people who come in who have a similar background as me, if they are good enough to get into Rochester...they can actually flourish as scientists."​

The mission of the ADSE is to increase the representation and visibility of underrepresented groups in the STEM fields. The goals are to connect scientists across our campus, showcase non-traditional career paths and minority experiences in academia, industry, government, and educate students at all levels about opportunities in STEM. 

On that same evening, the ADSE as a group received the URSMD Trainee Diversity Award, which recognizes the exceptional contributions and accomplishments of URSMD trainees (medical students, graduate students, residents, fellows, postdocs) who foster a diverse and inclusive SMD community.

Congratulations to Raven, Kate, and Briaunna!