The Recognize, Inform, Support, Elevate ( RISE) initiative from WiO identifies four main areas where we can specifically help underrepresented groups in Optics, such as racial, ethnic and gender minorities and those identifying as LGBTQ+.
Aims to increase awareness of historical and present contributions made to the field of Optics and recognizing barriers that prevent students from starting from the same place as some of their peers. This will be accomplished by spotlighting optical scientists from underrepresented groups throughout the building through posters, informational slides and invited talks. Specifically, language barriers will be addressed by advocating for multilingual information about the college being provided on the website. Other barriers will be addressed as needed. The RISE initiative will work on identifying these barriers by creating a safe space for all underrepresented groups through open forums for student feedback.
Aims to close the gap between a student’s knowledge of what it means to be an undergraduate or graduate student in Optics and how the experience is different for a student of an underrepresented group. These will be accomplished by a series of targeted workshops focusing on technical writing, how to give a presentation tailored to your audience, the what and how of grad school, how to be an ally (LGBTQ+) and how to be a co-conspirator (for peers of different racial and ethnic backgrounds than yourself). As well as participating in various educational outreach events where the target audience will include members of underrepresented groups.
Aims to provide academic and mental health support for Optics students. Academic support will be done through open study hours, and quals study sessions, and student of color networking sessions. Mental health support will be provided with targeted workshops on imposter syndrome, and first generation guilt. Mental health awareness will be specifically targeted with emails and flyers to destigmatize having open and honest conversations about mental health and where to seek guidance.
The apex of the RISE initiative is the aim to elevate the status of the underrepresented groups at OpSci by building confidence through being recognized, informed and supported in a way that contributes to the student’s success and elevating the representation of these groups in the college by working with faculty and staff in the college.