Broadening Participation Committee

Committee Email:

The goal of the BP committee is to increase the diversity of SICB and the field of integrative biology at all career stages, in terms of gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, ability/disability, and socioeconomic background. The BP committee works to increase the diversity of SICB by providing travel awards to help underrepresented attendees defray the costs of attending the annual meeting, hosting a workshop and an evening social at the meeting, and organizing a one-on-one meeting mentorship program. These events and programs are open to all SICB members.

  • Guidelines for Broadening Participation in SICB (PDF, adopted January 2019)
  • SICB BP Mentorship Matching Survey for the 2020 meeting
  • SICB BP Travel Award Application Form (Deadline: Oct. 17, 2019)

  • BP Mentoring Workshop at the 2018 meeting in San Francisco

    Approximately 50 SICB attendees took part in the BP workshop at noon on Saturday, January 6th, entitled "Beyond Traditional Mentors: Mentoring Moments and Networks." This interactive workshop was led by Dr. Claire Horner-Devine, a consultant and workshop leader who focuses on professional development programs for early career scientists from underrepresented groups in STEM. Participants completed mentoring maps and assessed areas where they are receiving the mentoring they need and areas in which they need to develop more mentoring relationships. They developed a set of tools to pursue mentoring in areas where they want support and a plan to develop their mentoring networks, with concrete steps to take in the weeks following the workshop. 86% of those who attended the workshop said they would recommend it to others, and many commented that they would like to see mentoring become a topic that is more consistently addressed by SICB. For those who were unable to attend the workshop, we have posted presentation materials, mentoring worksheets, and other references here: (thank you to Claire Horner-Devine for providing these materials!)

    o   When it come to mentoring, the more the merrier, by Kerry Ann Rockquemore

    o   Kitchen Cabinet of Mentors, by Owen Sutkowski

    Additional references about diversity and inclusion in science:

  •     A recent piece about the importance of inclusion in science
  •     A great recent piece on the importance of counterspaces and intentional community for minority scholars.

    BP Travel Awards

    Broadening Participation Travel Awards are intended to allow students, post-docs, and faculty members who are underrepresented and/or who enhance the diversity of experiences and perspectives within their field, geographic region, or institution to attend the SICB annual meeting, by helping to defray the costs of travel, lodging, and registration.  Awards are typically capped at $500. Applicants will be asked to submit an on-line application (available at in early fall of 2019) and to have one letter of recommendation submitted on their behalf. Please note that the application process for the BP award is separate from other SICB awards such as the Charlotte Magnum Student Support Program. In addition, BP travel awards are not restricted to students, and we are especially interested in ensuring that post-doctoral and junior faculty members have the support they need to attend the SICB meeting.

  • SICB BP Mentorship Matching Survey for the 2020 meeting
  • The BP Committee was fortunate to receive a generous donation in 2017 from the Gans Collections and Charitable Fund, Inc., a foundation established by renowned vertebrate morphologist and functional anatomist Carl Gans, to provide additional support for our travel award program. To learn more about the foundation and additional opportunities for conference travel grants, please visit

    Meeting Mentorship Program

    The Broadening Participation Committee is again coordinating a meeting mentorship program for the 2019 meeting, in which junior SICB attendees will be matched to a more experienced student, post-doc or faculty member, who can provide networking opportunities, tips for getting the most out of the meeting, and general career advice. Mentors and mentees will be asked to contact each other before the meeting, to attend several talk/poster sessions or social events together during the meeting, and to contact each other after the meeting. If you are interested in potentially serving as a meeting mentor and/or mentee at the 2020 meeting, please check read the attached guidelines for mentors and mentees.  If you are willing and able to participate in the program as described in the guidelines, please fill out the mentorship matching survey which will be posted on this site in early fall of 2019.  Thank you for your interest in the BP Meeting Mentorship Program!

    Committee Members

    Terms start at the end of the annual meeting of the year indicated.

    Chair Rita Mehta 01/2019-01/2022 
    Member Nicholas Burnett 01/2018-01/2021 
    Member Shayle Matsuda 01/2019-01/2021 
    Member Crystal Reynaga 01/2020-01/2023 
    Member Gabriel Rivera 01/2015-01/2023 
    Member Alyssa Hernandez 01/2021-01/2024 
    Member Thomas Stewart 01/2021-01/2024 
    Ex Officio - Chair, SPDAC John R Hutchinson 01/2019-01/2022 
    Ex Officio - Program Officer Jake Socha 01/2020-01/2022 
    Ex Officio - President-Elect L Patricia Hernandez 01/2021-01/2023 

    BP Contact - Committee Chair
    Rita Mehta