Harvard iGEM Diversity Statement

Harvard College iGEM seeks to establish a community of creative synthetic biologists from a variety of disciplines and values earnest curiosity, courtesy, and contribution among our team, board, and club members. To this end, we remain firmly committed to increasing diversity so as to sponsor a vibrant intellectual community for the pursuit of synthetic biology. We welcome all students to be members of the Harvard iGEM team who are in good standing and currently enrolled in Harvard College, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or physical disability. With the goal of going above and beyond, Harvard iGEM actively recruits for a diverse student body, providing any interested in synthetic biology with the opportunity to learn, and seeks to represent the diversity in the synthetic biology field by promoting various guest speakers, diversity-centered events, and programming with other organizations to this end.

Diversity and Inclusion at Harvard iGEM

The principles of diversity and inclusion begin at Harvard iGEM from the very moment of entry. Our organization utilizes a comp process, in which individuals interested in the iGEM competition attend lectures covering themes ranging from gene circuits and logic gates to BioBricks and biology as an engineering discipline to human practices and their role in iGEM. Our comp process recruits people from a diversity of backgrounds and we ensure a targeted approach by approaching various student affinity groups on campus about their desire to participate in the iGEM comp. During the comp process, our members are brought into the iGEM framework via attendance at various Harvard iGEM events that highlight the accomplishments of diverse individuals in synthetic biology, ranging from former iGEM team members from other universities to faculty in synthetic biology. Our club’s team and board selection framework also incorporates diversity through our requirement of diversity statements and we are constantly in the process of expanding our commitment to inclusion. Currently, we are embarking on the exciting venture of partnering with other student organizations to create joint diversity-promotion events as well as creating an internal iGEM mentorship network so that those interested in iGEM can get in contact with past iGEMers, learn about the iGEM experience and receive advising. As many of our compers are the first in their families to embark on the venture for science, our mentorship network can also ensure that they have access to a free educational network that may not have been there before. Additionally, our club has taught science at Boston public schools, and participates in scientific promotion activities such as the Cambridge-Wide Science Fair so as to ensure that children from diverse backgrounds can also see themselves in science.

Diversity and Inclusion in iGEM

We should all recognize the importance of building an open and welcoming scientific community. A more diverse community involved in creating knowledge and technology is more likely to produce a more equitable and representative system. Every individual, regardless of background or experience, should have an equal opportunity to engage with scientific knowledge and technological development. Everyone should be able to share their opinions on the societal implications of research.

For more information about Diversity and Inclusion in iGEM, please visit the Diversity and Inclusion Hub.