The NSF Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology (CSN) is a community of scientists who embrace people with diverse identities and cultural backgrounds. The CSN is dedicated to dismantling racism and all other forms of harassment or discrimination, both within our center and in the broader academic community. We strive to create a welcoming and inclusive climate where all our members are empowered to be their authentic selves and enabled to apply their individual creativity and passion. We are committed to advocating for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), DREAMers, immigrants, international students and scholars, women, the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, first-generation college students, veterans, people from low socioeconomic status and disadvantaged backgrounds, and any other underrepresented groups, as well as people at the intersection of these identities. Furthermore, we are dedicated to providing resources and access to opportunities that will help each of our members to thrive in their education and chosen career path. We will actively promote and support people from these and any other historically excluded groups through multi-campus collaboration and mentorship, by developing antiracist policies and practices, and by preparing the next generation of scientists to be advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the scientific community and beyond.

Operations within the CSN seek to develop and implement “best practices” for research and workforce training. Our efforts to build a diverse workforce of scientific leaders are enhanced by four primary activities:

  1. Recruiting. The CSN seeks to attract a diverse pool of scientists into the center. Some of the mechanisms we use include:
  • The CSN Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and Research Experience for Veterans (REV) Programs
  • Working with McNair and other diversity-oriented programs on our individual campuses
  • Providing resources to CSN faculty to attract a diverse pool of outstanding talent to our program
  • Providing support for CSN members to give talks at four-year colleges, minority-serving institutions.
  1. Training and awareness. The CSN provides training opportunities for graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff with the goal of creating the next generation of scientific leaders. Opportunities include:
  • Seminars and workshops aimed at career advancement for all CSN participants.
  • Development of written and oral communication skills emphasizing how to communicate to non-scientists and diverse audiences.
  • Short DISC (Diversity Innovation Safety Communication) moments at each weekly CSN seminar
  1. Supporting and retaining. The CSN supports all CSN members in their efforts to become the next generation of scientific leaders. Strategies for support and retention include:
  • Creating and maintaining a welcoming climate
  • Monthy enter-wide and small-group professional development opportunities
  • Networking opportunities
  • Supporting new CSN members through “buddy” program and on-boarding committee
  • Support/mentorship by faculty, staff and students.
  1. Assessment. The CSN evaluates the effectiveness of our programs and uses this information to develop and implement “best practices” in our goal of developing and training a diverse workforce to carry out cutting-edge multidisciplinary science. Some of the tools we use for assessment include:
  • Annual surveys of center climate
  • Evaluations of each professional development opportunity
  • Biannual evaluations of each research project

We believe that the best possible decision-making occurs when all voices are heard. We are committed to the long-term goal center of center membership that reflects the diversity of the US population.