Diversity Events

On July 20, 2017, The Woods Hole Diversity Initiative presented the first annual Ambrose Jearld, Jr. Lecture on diversity and inclusion:

“Inclusive Excellence in Science: Race Matters”
Dr. David J. Asai
Senior Director, Science Education
Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Achieving science excellence depends on our ability to engage a diverse community of scientists that discovers creative solutions to difficult problems. The harder the problem, the greater the benefit of a diverse group of problem solvers (Scott Page, The Difference, 2007). If we can harness the energy and creativity of our nation’s diverse talent pool, science will get better. If we fail, then science has no future. As we work to increase the diversity in science, it is important to remember that diversity is not the same as inclusion. Diversity is a number. Inclusion is a feeling.

David Asai is Senior Director for Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) where he directs Undergraduate and Graduate programs. His team at HHMI is responsible for a number of initiatives including the HHMI Professors, Gilliam graduate fellowships, Medical Research fellowships, EXROP, and the Inclusive Excellence grants to colleges and universities. Before moving to HHMI in 2008, Asai was on the faculty at Purdue University where he was Head of Biological Sciences, and at Harvey Mudd College where he was Stuart Mudd Professor and Chair of Biology. Until 2010 when he closed his lab, his group studied the structure and functional diversity of dyneins in sea urchins and Tetrahymena thermophila.

Asai serves on several advisory committees including the Minority Affairs Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology, the steering committee of Understanding Interventions, the AAAS Committee on Opportunities in Science, and the NIH Advisory Committee of the Director’s Working Group on Diversity. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and a PhD. from Caltech.


The annual Ambrose Jearld, Jr. Lecture is sponsored by the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative to honor longtime NOAA Fisheries Service employee Ambrose Jearld, Jr. for his work in making Woods Hole a more diverse, inclusive and welcoming community. Jearld retired from NOAA Fisheries Service in 2016 after 38 years of service.