In 2017, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS) enrollment numbers at Oregon State University showed that 75% of the enrolled undergraduate and graduate students and 82% of the teaching faculty identified as white. These statistics motivated three graduate students to explore the roots of this disparity in enrollment and to support students of color within the college.
The co-founders organized the first workshop, titled, "Unpacking Diversity" with Jane Waite of the Social Justice Education Initiative. Their hope was to initiate an understanding of retention issues within our college and larger science community. In response to the positive reception, this grew to become the "Unpacking Diversity" seminar series, open to all members of our community (students, faculty, staff, admin). Thus, the Unpacking Diversity Professional Learning Community (PLC) was founded in Spring 2017. Since then, they have continued to host this discussion series to highlight diversity, social justice, race, and discrimination especially in the geosciences.
ARCS Foundation Oregon is pleased to co-sponsor the May 2021 keynote event featuring Dr. Aradhna Tripati, faculty of Earth and Space Sciences at UCLA. She has demonstrated excellent leadership in advancing diversity and inclusion. Four of the current organizers for the event are ARCS Scholars Adrienne Chan, Erin Peck, Thi Truong, and Sophie Wensman and they have thanked ARCS Oregon for our support through a video.