Skip to main content

Equity and Inclusion

We are committed to a safe and supportive environment for all people, including underrepresented or marginalized groups. There are many resources available both in our department and the broader Penn State community that exist to provide a sense of community and support during your time here at Penn State.

Compiled by Mallory Molina, last updated 3/18/2024


Diversity Graduate Luncheon

Once a month the Center for Outreach and Inclusion has a lunch for graduate students of color in STEM fields. There are usually speakers at the lunch that talk about issues relating to diversity in academia, networking possibilities, and career opportunities both inside and outside of academia. It is also a nice way to make connections to students outside the department.


Communities of Identity and Support in the Graduate School

There are discussion groups for people with different backgrounds and experiences (for example, the Women of Color Empowerment (WOCE) group). These groups talk about issues relating to the specific identity being addressed, and involve undergraduate and graduate students from all departments on campus. There are also Commissions on Racial/Ethnic Diversity (CORED), which include commission groups for Women, Adult Learners, and LGBT Equality. Other programs include American Indian Leadership Program, Africana Research Center, the Black Graduate Student Association, and Northeast Alliance for Graduate Education, among others. A full list of resources, which include travel funding, and opportunities can be found at the website for the Office of Graduate and Educational Equity Programs (OGEEP) and the CORED website.


Alfred P. Sloan Scholars Program

The Penn State Sloan Scholars Program provides funding for underrepresented students to pursue doctorates in mathematics, science, and engineering. We are one of eight universities in the country that have this scholarship program. The program provides additional money meant for research purposes, such as conference travel, computer equipment, and research supplies. 


Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA)

BGSA was established in February of 1986 to provide a cross-academic line-and-support network for African American graduate students. They provide opportunities for professional development, networking, fellowship and involvement for their members.


STEM Open House

The STEM Open House is an opportunity for underrepresented junior and senior undergraduate students to visit Penn State and get a feel for the campus and the opportunities offered here. All meals, hotel accommodations, as well as travel costs are provided. These students interact with current graduate students, as well as departments they are interested in, to see what life here could be like.


Educational Equity Units and Programs

Penn State Educational Equity offers a wide variety of offices and programs that provide support for many marginalized groups, including veterans, children of migrant workers, people with disabilities, and more. The Paul Robeson Cultural Center in particular provides programs and services related to social justice and the integration of diverse perspectives, experiences, and cultures.


Office of Global Programs

The Office of Global Programs provides advising and support for international students. They also provide strategic, consultative, and administrative support to the students and their advisors at Penn State.


SACNAS @ Penn State

We have a chapter of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) at Penn State. The chapter was founded in January 2018, with a mission of providing underrepresented/minority groups with opportunities for professional development, presenting/conducting research, networking and general engagement in the sciences.


Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity

The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity provides a comprehensive range of social events, workshops, education, information, and advocacy services to create and maintain an open, safe, and inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, and queer students at Penn State University. If you would like to learn more about the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, you can contact Winter Parts.


Students with Psychosis

Students with Psychosis is a non-profit organization that has evolved into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, extending its reach globally to serve students and advocates through community-building and collaboration. It was founded in 2018 by Cecilia McGough, then a undergraduate astronomy major at Penn State. She shared her experiences with schizophrenia at TEDxPSU in 2017. 


Physics and Astronomy for Women (PAW+)

PAW is a student club dedicated to advancing the status of women in Physics and Astronomy. They host multiple types of events, including professional development workshops, outreach activities, social events, lunches, and monthly tea breaks. They also have a mentoring program both for undergraduate women and first year graduate women.


Towards a More Inclusive Astronomy (TaMIA)

TaMIA is a discussion group about issues of equity and inclusion in astronomy led by several graduate students and a post doc. TaMIA meetings occur twice a month, with opportunities for both a safe space for discussion among underrepresented or marginalized groups and a broader discussion with the whole department. The purpose is to have a structured, supportive space to talk and learn about these issues in a way that centers the experiences of those most vulnerable to the issue at hand. If you would like to learn more about TaMIA, you can contact Winter Parts.


Women+ in Astronomy

Women+ in Astronomy meets weekly for cookies and coffee in the afternoon to build community in the department and hold informal discussions about topics related to barriers and successes of women in astronomy. They have started a library of resources related to women in academia that is housed in and open to all members in the department. Finally, they meet with female colloquium speakers to talk about their career paths and to get their advice on career-life balance, networking, navigating a male-dominated science, and other issues.


Additional suggestions for ways that the department can become more inclusive and supportive are welcome. To become involved in these efforts, or for more information on the available resources, please feel free to contact:

James Tutt

Mitch Wages

Emma Spadaro