MPLS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Fellows 2020-2021
We are delighted to announce this year’s inaugural cohort of MPLS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) Fellows who have been selected to help advance ED&I work within the Division.
We were overwhelmed by the positive response from applicants across our departments, and reviewed many outstanding submissions. While we initially envisioned selecting four Fellows, given the high number of strong applications, all of our departments have agreed to help fund this scheme to enable us to select 10 Fellows (one representative from each department).
We look forward to working closely with these Fellows this year! Find out more about them below (listed alphabetically). If you’re interested in getting involved with our work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Department of Computer Science
Abdul is a DPhil student in the Computer Science Department working on the application of AI to Law. His principal areas of interest include computational law, digital rights and algorithmic due process. He has a background in Philosophy and Mathematics. Prior to his doctorate studies, Abdul trained as a lawyer with experience in privacy and IP law, working on corporate transactions and the GDPR implementation. He also has advisory experience leading the UK Parliament inquiry into the human rights risks arising from advancements in technology and World Bank projects on improving the effectiveness of DFID aid disbursements.”
Departments of Earth Sciences and Zoology
Gwen is a 4th-year DPhil student in Earth Sciences and St John’s College whose research investigates species’ responses to environmental change in past periods of Earth history. Gwen’s work to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion aims both to inspire scientific innovation and to pursue social justice. This advocacy draws on values of intersectional feminism, queer collective organising, and the disability activist principle that there should be ‘nothing about us without us.’
Dr Maria Christodoulou
Department of Statistics
Postdoctoral Researcher in Biostatistics
I am a Postdoctoral Researcher in Biostatistics in the Department of Statistics. As an ECR representative in one of the smallest departments in the Division, I had to be a Jill-of-all-trades to support my fellow postdocs, and through this I learned extensively about their primary concerns and the reasons many chose to leave the academic environment. My primary motivations for wanting to serve as an ED&I Fellow are to actively effect change that will reduce the dropout of talented diverse researchers, and to ensure that the unique needs of researchers in smaller departments are adequately represented.
Department of Materials
Hello! My name is Shazeaa, I am currently a DPhil Student in Materials Science. I am so grateful to have been offered this new role and ecstatic to get started! I have been involved with ED&I initiatives at the college, department, and divisional level, using my experience of being a women of colour in STEM. I hope to continue to work on making Oxford a more progressive space in the hopes people feel like they belong here. Oxford is the people who are here, and we deserve to all feel included.
Department of Chemistry
Hi! I’m Ndi, a final year organic chemistry DPhil student from South London. Being a working-class British-Nigerian, Oxford is a far cry from the environment I grew up in. So naturally, adapting to the university’s competitive setting was more difficult. As an ED&I fellow I hope to bring more awareness to issues faced by students from underrepresented demographics. I believe this is crucial for fostering an inclusive environment where students from all backgrounds can thrive.
Departments of Zoology and Plant Sciences
Communications, Alumni Relations, and Outreach Assistant
Aym Maidment works in the Communications teams across the Departments of Zoology and Plants Sciences. They have an intersectional perspective as a queer disabled person, and are particularly keen to advocate for a more equal system for neurodiverse students and staff members, and for a more compassionate harassment procedure. They believe that ‘accessibility is choice’, rather than providing binary solutions to intersectional problems, and are consistently working to provide as many access options to the academics and students they support as possible.
Geoffrey is a DPhil candidate in algebraic geometry at St Peters' College and the Mathematics. He is the immediate former DPhil student representative in the Mathematics Departmental Committee where great strides were made on Equality policies including an action for 2020/21 year to consider target scholarships to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion. He is the founder and director of Mfano Africa, a mentorship scheme targeting pre-doctoral Africa Mathematics students. He holds the idea that improved outreach policies and revamped collaboration strategies will go a long way in making Oxford a more accessible study and work destination.
Dr Izzi Floyd Mear
Department of Engineering
Teaching and Design Engineer
I am part of the teaching support group in the engineering department. I spend most of my time teaching coding and other technical skills in undergraduate laboratories, supporting the next generation of engineers. I’m an LGBT+ Role Model, as in the words of Sally Ride, I strongly believe ‘you cannot be what you cannot see’. As an EDI Fellow I plan to draw on my experiences of navigating academic spaces as a non binary, mixed race person and implement changes that improve the experiences of marginalised members of staff and students.
Dr Lucy Taylor
Department of Zoology
Junior Research Fellow
I am a Junior Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology. My route into academia was not a straight line. Amongst other things, I did not complete my A-levels and became allergic to my study species half way through my DPhil. These experiences underlined the importance of good support and training. I set up and now coordinate the Zoology Graduate Support & Mentoring Scheme in my Department. I’ve also written three career columns for Nature. As an MPLS ED&I Fellow, I would like to focus on improving mental health in all levels of academia.
Dr Aprajita Verma
Department of Physics
I am a Senior Researcher in Astrophysics and am interested in the complex situations that can give rise to inequities in academic environments. Having acted as a confidante or mentor for dozens of early career researchers, I am aware of how inequities and bias can affect careers and well-being. As a MPLS ED&I Fellow, I am keen to contribute to positive cultural change in our division. Some potential targeted actions include facilitated learning circles to encourage open discourse on discrimination and bias that can develop empathy and allyship, and to introduce safe spaces for BAME staff to discuss inclusion issues such as workplace advisors and discussion fora across MPLS departments.