Past 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

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.

2016 Juneteenth Observance

Special Lecture:

E.E. Just’s Broad (and Hidden) Influence on the Development of Modern Biology

Speaker: Dr. W. Malcom Byrnes

2015 Juneteenth Observance

A Century of Black Life, History and Culture

Ernest Everett Just:
An African-American Life in Science

Speaker: Dionne Hoskins, Fishery Biologist, NOAA and Associate Graduate Professor in the Marine Science program at Savannah State University

2014 Juneteenth Celebration — Commemorating the End of Slavery: Emphasizing Education and Achievement and Presentation of John K. Bullard Diversity Award to Lionel E. Hall, Jr.

Civil rights in education and the opportunity to participate in science were among the topics discussed at the 2014 Woods Hole Juneteenth celebration, sponsored by the Woods Hole Black History Month Committee and the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative on Thursday, June 19th, 2014 in the MBL’s Speck Auditorium.

The celebration began with a keynote presentation by Waldo E. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D., MSW of The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Dr. Johnson, an associate professor, focuses his research on examining male roles within African American families, especially young African American males and nonresident African American fathers within impoverished urban families.

During the celebration longtime MBL employee Lionel Hall was presented with the 2014 John K. Bullard Diversity Award, given every other year to an individual in the Woods Hole community who plays a significant role in making the community more inclusive and more welcoming of people of all backgrounds.

A panel discussion concluded the afternoon events. Panelists included Bradford Brown, a NOAA scientist now retired with a lifelong interest in civil rights, both personal and professional; Jacqueline Fields, a trustee at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and former faculty member at Wellesley College; Chinonye “Chi Chi” Nnakwe, Director of Graduate Diversity Recruitment in the Office of the Provost, University of Chicago; and Ben Gutierrez, a research scientist in the Coastal and Marine Geology Program at the U.S. Geological Survey in Woods Hole and program course coordinator for the Woods Hole Partnership Education Program. Dr. Harold Bibb, Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences and Associate Dean Emeritus of the Graduate School at the University of Rhode Island, served as moderator.

The panelists discussed civil rights from a variety of perspectives, including their own experiences in their lives and careers and efforts to promote diversity and inclusion as the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the 60th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education in 2014.

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States, dating back to its origin in Galveston, Texas, when Union soldiers enforced the Emancipation Proclamation and freed all remaining slaves in Texas on June 19, 1865. Celebrations today focus on African American freedom and emphasize education and achievement.

China at the MBL 1920-1945.  On July 12, 2013, Lijing Jiang and Kate MacCord, both doctoral students in the history of science at Arizona State University, gave a talk on their ongoing research into Chinese scientists who worked at the MBL from 1920-1945, and the impact the connections they made had on the development of scientific institutions in China.  The event was sponsored by the MBLWHOI Library and the MBL Community Archives Project.

International Bread Tasting.  An international bread tasting event was held on July 26, 2013, from 3 to 5 pm on WHOI’s Quissett Campus.  Members of the Woods Hole scientific community had the chance to sample over 20 different kinds of bread baked by local bakers.  In addition, King Arthur Flour’s Education Department was on hand to give tips and tricks on bread baking and to talk about the history of bread.  Organized by the Woods Hole Diversity Advisory Committee, the purpose of the event was to celebrate the rich variety of tastes and textures global diversity has created from the basic concept of bread.

MBL-ICB-FAPESP Joint Courses

Working together with the Brazil Institute of Biomedical Sciences (ICB) and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), the MBL now offers courses on the Biology of Parasitism and Neural Systems & Behavior in Brazil.  These programs are designed to provide advanced graduate students, postdocs, and independent investigators from South America the opportunity to interact with a host of eminent faculty members in formal lectures and informal discussions.  Housed at the Juquehy Beach Hotel in São Paulo, students are taught basic background information as well as the latest in research developments during these week-long courses.  Funding is provided by São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), São Paulo School of Advanced Sciences (ESPCA), and the University of São Paulo (USP).

SACNAS, an organization devoted to advancing Hispanics, Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, just completed another successful national conference in Seattle, WA, from October 11-14, 2012.  The theme of this year’s program was “Science, Technology, and Diversity for a Healthy World.”  MBL’s Director of Education Bill Reznikoff was there as well as David Burgess, Professor & Chair of Biology at Boston College and Chair of MBL’s Committee on Courses.  When asked about the conference, Dr. Reznikoff said he had a chance to do a lot of networking especially with colleagues from Puerto Rico.  He also had the opportunity to visit with three former REU students of the MBL’s “Biological Discovery in Woods Hole” summer program.  For more information about SACNAS, visit their website at

Re-signing of the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative’s Memorandum of Understanding

The leaders of the six scientific and educational organizations in Woods Hole pose for a photo after signing an updated Woods Hole Diversity Memorandum of Understanding. From left: Dr. Russell W. Brown, deputy director of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center and director of the Center’s Woods Hole Laboratory; Dr. Walter Barnhardt, team chief scientist at the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center of the United States Geological Survey (USGS); Dr. Gary G. Borisy, president and director of the Marine Biological Laboratory; Dr. Eric A. Davidson, executive director of the Woods Hole Research Center; Dr. Susan K. Avery, president and director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; and John K. Bullard, president of the Sea Education Association

On June 25th, 2012, Gary Borisy, MBL President and Director, along with the leaders of five other scientific and educational organizations in Woods Hole, renewed the commitment to building a diverse and inclusive scientific community by signing an updated Woods Hole Diversity Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at a ceremony at the Sea Education Association.

The MOU was first signed in July 2004, and, while the leadership at all six institutions has changed since then, the group’s commitment to support the Woods Hole Scientific Community Diversity Initiative has strengthened over time.  The renewal of the Diversity MOU reaffirms the institutional commitments to work together to attract and retain a more diverse workforce, one that represents the changing demographics of the nation and the international community.

John K. Bullard Diversity Award Established

A surprise presentation was made at the meeting as John Bullard, outgoing president of SEA, was honored by his fellow lab directors as the first recipient of an award named in his honor, The John K. Bullard Diversity Award. John Bullard was recognized for his leadership, vision and commitment to diversity in the Woods Hole science community and for his role in forming the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative. The award will be given every other year to an individual in the Woods Hole community who plays a significant role in making the community more inclusive and more welcoming to people of all backgrounds. Bullard was presented a plaque, and a second plaque with the name of all the recipients will be kept at the current recipient’s institution.