facade of rackham graduate school

NERS receives Rackham Diversity Grant

The grant will help strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the department

The upcoming school year is already off to a good start for the U-M Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences (NERS). Thanks to a proposal submitted by NERS DEI Lead and Rackham Faculty Ally, Professor Carolyn Kuranz, the department has been awarded a Rackham Faculty Allies and Student Ally Diversity Grant.

Kuranz will use the $6,700 award to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion in NERS graduate programs and within the department in general. According to Rackham’s website, they encourage Faculty Allies and their programs to approach this grant as an opportunity to experiment with new and innovative activities, events, and projects that promote diversity and address the needs of their increasingly diverse graduate student cohorts.

In her proposal, Kuranz stated that, “We are primarily focused on creating a more inclusive environment through a deliberate effort to ensure that our community is a place where differences are welcomed and encouraged, different perspectives are respectfully heard, and where every individual feels a sense of belonging.”

To strengthen DEI within the department, Kuranz has put together a series of events and activities. The planning of these events will be shaped by student input and any NERS student with ideas may contact Kuranz directly. The events include:  

  • Student Achievement Celebrations: held monthly to acknowledge student achievements and foster research discussions between students and faculty
  • Post Candidacy Lunch: held biannually for recent candidates to offer guidance and support for students progressing through the less structured years of the graduate program
  • Climate Townhall: held for graduate students to discuss specific climate issues and concerns within NERS
  • Department Admissions Workshop: diversity experts will provide faculty training in holistic graduate admissions 
  • Department Mixer: a social event for the entire department including faculty, staff, and students
  • Women in NERS Lunch: biannual event for graduate student women and women faculty members to discuss climate issues and concerns in the department with special attention to issues concerning women

More information about these events—including which are held virtually and which are held in-person—will be released on NERS events page. 

“A healthy climate of diversity, equity and inclusion is critical to solve the nuclear engineering challenges of the future,” said Kuranz. “The Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences has a history of academic excellence and now we must go further and create a supportive and equitable climate for our students and future nuclear engineers.”

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