Episode from the podcastFun Time Program

Balancing Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics with Diversity, Inclusion and Equity in Academia with Christina Roman

Released Tuesday, 12th January 2021
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Christina Roman is a sixth year PHD candidate studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics with a focus on RNA structure using x-ray crystallography and protein engineering in Dr. Joseph Piccrili's lab at the University of Chicago.
In her spare time, Christina has also been serving as a race and pedagogy graduate coordinator at the University of Chicago helping students, faculty and administrators develop more racially inclusive teaching practices and programming. Before that she served as the president of her local Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native American's in Science (SACNAS). She also co-founded a graduate student organization called the Graduate Recruitment Initiative Team (GRIT) which seeks to improve the recruitment and retention strategies graduate programs use to recruit and train diverse students.To learn more about Christina's work, you can follow her on Twitter @CR_FabEngineer.
Christina Roman
Lab Members | Piccirilli Lab (uchicago.edu)
Grad students DJ Speed and Christina Roman receive HHMI Gilliam Fellowships | UChicago Biosciences
Graduate students organize to provide face masks and first aid supplies for protesters - UChicago Medicine
Graduate Recruitment Initiative Team (GRIT) | UChicago Biosciences
Graduate Recruitment Initiative Team (GRIT) grows to the PSD and beyond | University of Chicago Department of Chemistry (uchicago.edu)
Resources for Black People Experiencing Racial Trauma
Anti-racism resources for white people
How to Be an Anti-Racist - Ibram X. Kendi
White Fragility - Robin DiAngelo
2:53 - The elevator pitch for Christina's PhD program
5:05 - Why take pics of RNA?
8:32 - Is her research funded by the NIH?
9:05 - Where do you see yourself going with this research?
11:16 - How do you see your work changing our response to future viruses?
14:18 - Why having a better understanding of RNA is so important
15:01 - Did RNA exist before life?
16:05 - John wanders off to the "primordial soup theory."
17:29 - Can we ever watch evolution in a petri dish?
21:33 - Making science research approachable for the general public
22:24 - Christina's work in Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
25:47 - How navigating race in academia became like a second job
28:50 - How is this work changing things for future students?
30:56 - what would a "perfect" academia look like to Christina?
33:40 - What tactics and resources might be useful for diversity training?
34:38 - What would diversity training look like within logic-based subjects?
35:36 - Is there a consistent diversity training manual for professors?
37:04 - Why is talking about race/ diversity in all subjects important?
40:58 - How do we reach people who haven't had the exposure to learn?
42:14 - What can universities do to empower professors?
45:13 - How can prospective students vet schools for diversity?
51:34 - Where does she see this curriculum going?
54:06 - Does she see herself staying involved with this work?
56:20 - Any go-to resources?
1:02:06 - How important is empathy?

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