Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion


The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) and the University of Chicago have numerous organizations and initiatives engaging with equity, diversity, and inclusion matters. They offer methods for reporting, student and faculty ombudspersons, and opportunities for our community members to become involved with EDI work.


Organization Leads Details
National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), PME Chapter Susan Okrah Chapter established in 2020.
Society for Women Engineers (SWE), PME Chapter Abigail Lauterbach Chapter established in 2017.
Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), PME Chapter Cyrus Zeledon Chapter established in 2020.
PME Committee for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Matthew Tirrell, Andrew Ferguson, Rovana Popoff, and rotating members Established in 2019 as a way of combining and sharing information, efforts, and responsibilities around diversity, equity, and inclusion. Initial members were those either who individually took initiatives to organize in this area or who had responsibilities in this area. Mandate to be refined.
Women in the PME Sophia Huang, Ande Hesser  
  • University of Chicago Policy of Unlawful Harassment & Discrimination
  • UMatter—Student Resources for Resolution: This site provides information and resources about gender-based misconduct, and the University resolution process.
  • Bias Education & Support Team (BEST): Bias is a pre-formed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons who possess common characteristics, such as skin color, or cultural experiences, such as religion or national origin. The University urges anyone who has experienced or witnessed a bias incident to report it to BEST.
  • Perspectives: The Staff and Faculty Assistance Program (SFAP) is provided by Perspectives Ltd. to assist you and your family members with the challenges of daily living. The program is confidential, available 24/7 and provides Telephone/in-person counseling (office on campus with locations throughout Chicagoland and NW Indiana) among other services.
  • UChicago Student Wellness: UChicago Student Wellness is committed to promoting the mental health and well-being of UChicago undergraduate and graduate students by providing accessible, high-quality, culturally sensitive mental health services. We also provide outreach and consultation to the University community.

Please see below resources on policy and reporting bias for PME community members.

Award description: The PME EDI Seed Grant program provides small internal awards to support initiatives that contribute and are aligned with the PME EDI Mission. All PME personnel (undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs, staff, faculty) are eligible to submit proposals. Partnerships with external non-PME personnel and organizations are permitted.

Eligibility: All PME personnel.

Submission window: Rolling (no deadline).

Duration: Flexible – can be a one-time event or support a program for up to one year.

Award size: Up to $1000.

Allowable expenses: Funds must be utilized to advance EDI activities benefiting PME. Support cannot be used to support normal operating activities, personnel salaries, or dissertation research projects.

Evaluation merit criteria: Proposals will be evaluated by an awards subcommittee of the PME EDI Committee according to the following criteria:

  1. Potential of the proposed activities to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion and positively impact the PME community
  2. Organization, rationale, and quality of the proposed activities along with articulated objectives, and definitions and mechanisms to measure success
  3. Qualifications and suitability of the PME team (and non-PME external partners) to execute the proposed activities
  4. Appropriateness of the budget for the proposed activities

Proposal preparation: Proposals should be prepared using this template and submitted via email to pme_edi@uchicago.edu.

Program implementation: Funded proposals must be implemented within one year of the award and run for an implementation period of no more than a year.  Funding recipients are required to submit a terminal evaluation of their program and present their findings at an annual EDI meeting.

Contact: Prof. Andrew Ferguson, Deputy Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: andrewferguson@uchicago.edu

Related programs: The Office of the Provost administers a number of grants to advance the campus-wide Diversity & Inclusion Initiative. The Physical Sciences Division maintains a PSD Inclusive Climate Grant program for PSD personnel.

Applying for grants and fellowships is a critical skill in every graduate student's professionalization by providing the durable skills necessary to become independent grant seekers and competitive applicants in the future. The resources provided by UChicagoGRAD will enable you to become well versed in navigating databases and curated lists of awards, assessing fellowships and fit, and preparing a competitive application. To access the links below, as well as other information and fellowship opportunities, please self-enroll in the Canvas course page.

Please note that the lists at the above links are not exhaustive of all Diversity and Inclusion fellowships available to students. For more opportunities, search databases by personal identity characteristics, and relevant keywords. (Tips on searching for fellowships)

Students may also schedule appointments with UChicagoGRAD for individual fellowship advising.

Student Ombudspersons are responsible for understanding relevant student resources, policies, and processes, and for offering peer support for navigating those resources, policies, and processes should a grievance or conflict arise. Their role is not to take sides in a conflict, to serve as an advocate, to conduct investigations, or to engage in adjudication. Instead, they will be a confidential and informal resource for students who are interested in discussing and addressing any PME-related concern or difficult situation.

The specific duties of the PME Student Ombudsperson are:

  • to be available to peers bringing forward problems, issues and complaints;
  • to be knowledgeable about resources and policies relevant to students;
  • to sort out the relevant facts and issues associated with a complaint;
  • to refer complaints to the appropriate deans within the PME and/or to offices within the University;
  • to suggest remedial steps in the settlement of a complaint;
  • to work with the student and the appropriate administrator or faculty member in seeking a satisfactory resolution;
  • and to call attention to any injustices and abuses of power or discretion.

The PME Student Ombudsperson(s) can be used as a first step, last resort, or at any point in a grievance. The University of Chicago Office of the Student Ombudsperson is also a resource for PME students who would prefer to work with someone outside of the division.  In addition, PME Faculty Ombudspersons work with the entire PME community -- staff, students, and faculty.