Strategic Initiatives

“I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy."
~  Marie Curie


Quick Links

Representatives     Current DEI-Related Activities/Collaborations     DEI Campus Groups     Current/Upcoming Events    


The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) is committed to making environmental sciences more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Our commitment will involve conscious actions to attract, recruit, and retain faculty, students and staff from underrepresented demographics in geosciences.  Thank you for your willingness to participate and engage our entire community.

By establishing a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Collaborative (DEIC) in August, 2020, UMCES provides a forum for a community of practice and will partner with the Faculty Senate as well as the Executive, Administrative, Staff, and Graduate Student Councils to effect institutional changes promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Establishing the Collaborative with an appropriate structure highlights our institutional values and communicates our commitment to our partners and funders.  President Goodwin's Charge to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Collaborative outlines his vision and commitment to DEI initiatives at UMCES.

Given the level of interest and commitment across UMCES to this critically important issue, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Collaborative was established to be an inclusive and open space.  The purpose is to coordinate, convene, and ensure everyone can contribute within their specific interests and without an undue burden on their time or mental energy.  All members of the UMCES community are encouraged to participate in any DEI initiative that resonates with them.

The UMCES Principles of Conduct (POC) was formally approved by all levels of UMCES shared governance in late 2021. Representative of UMCES' institutional values of diversity, civility, and respect, the POC outlines the conduct expected at all times by all members of the UMCES community.


The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Collaborative is an inclusive and open process.  Its purpose is to coordinate, convene and ensure everyone can contribute within their specific interests without an undue time burden.

Angela Richmond, Director of Institutional Research and Assessment
Larry Sanford, UMCES Vice President for Education
Amy Griffin, Assistant to the VPE

Unit Directors (2 representatives, 1-year appointments that are rotated)
Dave Nelson, Director, Appalachian Laboratory
TBD, Director, Horn Point Laboratory

Faculty (Min. 4 representative with 1 from the Faculty Senate, 1-year renewable appointments)
Mark Castro, Appalachian Laboratory
Lora Harris,  Chesapeake Biological Laboratory
Rosemary Jagus, Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology
Genny Nesslage, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory / CBL DEI
Judy O'Neil, Horn Point Laboratory and Faculty Senate
Cindy Palinkas, Horn Point Laboratory / HPL DEI

Research Assistant (Min. 1 representative, 1-year renewable appointments)
Annie Carew, Integration and Application Network / IAN DEI
Claire Nemes, Appalachian Laboratory / AL DEI

Staff (Min. 2 representatives, 1-year renewable appointments with 1 from the Staff Council)
Kevin Bruce, Maryland Sea Grant / MDSG DEI
Kurt Florez, UMCES Chief Information Officer and Staff Council
Nina Lamba, Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology
Anita Shelton, Maryland Sea Grant

Graduate Students (Min. 2 representatives, 1-year renewable appointments with 1 from GSC)
Isabel Sanchez-Viruet, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory and GSC
Laura Wiltsee, Horn Point Laboratory

Current UMCES Diversity-Related Activities and Collaborations

  • NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC): IMET, our Baltimore unit, supports 3 to 4 graduate fellows per year, for up to three years each, using funds from the NOAA-supported LMRCSC. The LMRCSC aims to train the next generation of marine scientists from underrepresented communities. Current LMRCSC graduate fellows are working with mentors at IMET and CBL.
  • IMET Undergraduate Summer Internship: Annually, IMET hosts a 9 week summer internship program for students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the marine sciences. The program includes laboratory work and a variety of science seminars.
  • Maryland Sea Grant Research Experience for Undergrads (REU): The REU Program has intentionally diversified over the last few years, pulling in more students from backgrounds underrepresented in the marine sciences. Of note, LatinX students have been increasingly represented as have other students of color. Additionally, women now represent the majority of REU interns.
  • Centro Tortuga: Centro Tortuga is committed to developing partnerships among research and non-research institutions and government and nonprofit institutions to build a sustainable and effective education center focused on Puerto Rico’s coastal ecosystems. The project includes a diverse interdisciplinary team of scientists and educators from both the mainland United States and Puerto Rico. The team and center are committed to increasing marine science learning opportunities for underrepresented and underserved students.
  • Campus Climate Assessment Survey: UMCES is actively working with two outside organizations to conduct a comprehensive campus climate survey. We hope to use  this data to make recommendations for improvement, including potential future training.
  • PROMISE AGEP Participant: UMCES has actively participated in the Summer Success Institute over the last few years.

UMCES DEI-Related Campus Groups

  • Appalachian Lab (AL) DEI subgroup - students, faculty, and staff meet biweekly during the academic year and weekly during the summer to discuss and implement actions that promote a more welcoming, equitable, and inclusive lab environment and enhance our relationships with the broader western Maryland community.
  • Cheapeake Biological Laboratory (CBL) American Association of University Women (AAUW): Our chapter is committed to promoting and celebrating diversity at CBL, encourage personal growth of chapter members, provide respectful and open discussion platforms for members of the CBL community, and fostering within members an attitude of confidence, self-advocacy, and support towards self and members of the CBL community. We will plan on having monthly meetings through the summer 2021 on the third Tuesday of each month at 11 am.
  • HPL Society for Women in Marine Science (SWMS): The Society for Women in Marine Science (SWMS) provides a framework for discussion, networking, and mentoring for young marine scientists. Our overall mission is to increase the visibility and retention of women in marine science, build inclusive professional networks, and create a community of marine researchers who acknowledge and address the difficulties facing women and minorities in the marine field.
  • Integration and Application Network (IAN): A small committee of science communicators at the Integration and Application Network meets on Friday afternoons to discuss DEIJ initiatives that can be undertaken at the IAN level. We have a DEIJ mission statement on our website and are discussing paths forward on an environmental justice index for the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET): IMET has an integrated program to significantly contribute to the Diversity Equity and Inclusion in Environmental Science. Russell Hill and Monica Gellene provide updates during faculty meetings about this program and the UMCES DEIC meetings.
  • Maryland Sea Grant (MDSG): The Maryland Sea Grant DEI committee meets each Friday. The committee works hard to ensure meetings are a safe space for dialogue, and discussions include policy and hiring practices, training for MDSG staff and Extension around DEIJ issues, and speakers and webinars about DEIJ topics. The committee helped craft language for the MDSG website and revised strategic plan, revised some hiring and fellowship recruiting practices to be more inclusive, and has intentionally focused on recruiting underrepresented members for panels and reviews. We list major religious holidays on our calendar and avoid planning meetings on those days.
  • Unlearning Racism in Geoscience Movement: Members of the UMCES community participate in three separate URGE pods using the journal-reading and policy design curriculum and guidance offered by the Unlearning Racism in Geoscience movement (  These three pods were organized around learning and policy creation at the Horn Point Laboratory, Maryland Sea Grant as part of a National Sea Grant program pod, and as part of the SEAS Islands Alliance.  Because of the different institutional structures of these organizations (an UMCES unit and laboratory, Sea Grant, and a collective impact Alliance focused on broadening participation), each pod developed unique policy deliverables that are specific to the missions, visions, values, and specific implementation needs of each URGE pod. The topics of the URGE deliverables are universally valuable to explore and apply across the institution whether related to recruitment and hiring policies or incorporating elements of social justice into community engagement.

Current and Upcoming Events

UMCES DEIC Meetings: Third Friday of Month, 1-3pm

UMCES DEIC: We are In the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
~Theodore Roosevelt