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From the Director

From the Director

Kameron Kadooka standing in front of shrubbery.

Celebrating Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month

Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year from September 15 to October 15. Originally observed as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 as a time to celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. In 1988, Hispanic Heritage Week was expanded to Hispanic Heritage Month and retained September 15 as the start date to commemorate the independence of countries that now include Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. The month-long celebration also includes the independence days of Mexico, Chile and Belize.

Today, Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the resilience, contributions and cultures of Latinx, Hispanic and Latino-identified communities from around the world.

People of Hispanic origin make up 14% of Oregon’s population and constitute Oregon’s largest ethnic or racial minority group. Hispanics are also the second fastest growing group in the state. Here in the College of Science, students who identify as Hispanic make up about 13% of the student population and represent our largest ethnic or racial minority group.

While the Hispanic and Latinx community here in Oregon and at Oregon State make up a large percentage of our community, it is important to recognize and name that they are still targets of racism, discrimination and racist policies.

As our College works to create a place that is welcoming and inclusive for everyone, it is important to also celebrate and honor the many contributions of Hispanic and Latinx students, faculty, staff and alumni. In the coming weeks, the College’s social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) will highlight and celebrate scientific contributions, faculty, students and resources from and for the Latinx community.

Please join me this Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month as we create a more equitable and inclusive College and celebrate the rich contributions of the Latinx communities here at OSU.

Kameron Kadooka
Director of Equity, Access and Inclusion

About the Director

Kameron Kadooka is the Director of Equity, Access and Inclusion (EAI) for the College of Science. Kameron is an OSU alum with a Bachelors of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Science. He brings to this position nearly 9 years of experience as an OSU professional faculty member who has demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity and equity in his previous positions and successfully created partnerships and collaborations with colleges, departments, programs and external stakeholders.

Formerly, Kameron worked as the program coordinator for OSU’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program (LSAMP). LSAMP is a National Science Foundation program that works to support minority students in STEM, with specific goals to increase the recruitment, retention and graduation of underrepresented minority (URM) STEM students, many of whom are pursuing majors in the College of Science. In his six years as LSAMP coordinator, Kameron helped students navigate roadblocks and barriers. He is especially excited now to help launch the implementation of the College of Science Diversity Action Plan (DAP), because it has the potential to have much broader scalable, sustainable and systemic level impacts through removing many of the roadblocks and barriers and making the college more inclusive and equitable for all students and faculty.

Past letters

Dear Science Community,

I am so pleased to step into a full-time position as the College of Science's first director of Equity, Access and Inclusion (EAI). The College has gotten off to a good start in laying the groundwork to advance goals and actions in the Diversity Action Plan, and I’m eager to now give this work greater energy and focus after working the last five months as interim director (on a part-time basis). It’s exciting to lead the College in this effort and work with everyone in the community to make change a reality.

The first proposed action in the plan, which rolled out last October, is to create a College of Science Equity, Access and Inclusion Program. We began by creating an EAI structure for the program that included hiring a full-time EAI program director, establishing an EAI Leadership Council and sub-committees on Data Equity and Gender Equity. With this structure now in place, I’d like to share with you a few of my initial thoughts and expectations for the work we have begun, including the challenges and opportunities.

I think the most important outcome of the DAP will be eventual culture change. I would like to see equity and access become second nature to us – something we don't actually need to think about. It will just be a part of who we are and how we do normal day-to-day business. I would love to see more diversity in the faculty ranks, in the graduate school ranks, the undergraduate ranks, and the staff and professional faculty ranks. But there must be culture change so that when those folks do come here, they feel welcome and want to stay here.

One challenge, as I share in the College of Science Impact interview, is that culture change work is slow. We have a foundation and are heading in a good direction, but this work moves slowly – and it is not checkbox based. It will take time, care and understanding. While directed support and programming for various groups is essential, we can't just say we did a program for Black students, or we did a program for folks who identify as women, then check the box and claim we changed the culture.

In light of this and other challenges, we endeavor to effectively convey to the community that we are working to create change. I hope to communicate progress without implying that we have all of the answers or that because we did something, that everything is “fixed.” This process and the DAP are iterative and will take continual progress to change culture.

It's also important to emphasize the critical role the community plays in embedding inclusive excellence within all aspects of the College of Science. Implementing EAI in the College of Science requires work at multiple levels, and everyone has a role in infusing and embedding the DAP into our mission and all of our work.

As far as my role in facilitating this, my hope is to be a resource for everyone in the College. I'm not the content expert on any of the classes being taught. But I am happy to join in conversations and engage in education and learning around how we can make the College of Science more equitable, inclusive and accessible.

The College has a lot of work to do and I think we are poised to make changes that will positively impact the members of our community, specifically those who have historically been marginalized or excluded from higher education and science. Everyone has a role to play. I ask that everyone think about and implement small steps, big changes and ways to change the culture for the better. Read more about what is happening now in the Impact article and in this DAP website updates section.

Kameron Kadooka
Director of Equity, Access and Inclusion

Dear Science community,

The College of Science supports anyone who identifies as a woman in the sciences.

In science, only 30% of researchers and educators identify as women, despite women and girls making up 50% of the population. Moreover, studies show that women’s contributions to science are frequently devalued, which results in a lack of representation in prestigious academic appointments, including distinguished professorships or named chairs.

It is also important to recognize that women of color face further barriers, with gendered racism that is perpetuated by the prevalence of faulty perceptions, stereotypes, and images. Further, women disproportionately shoulder the impacts of societal challenges, such as bearing a much higher load of work and family challenges created by COVID-19. The World Economic Forum suggests that another generation of women may have to wait for gender parity.

In the face of these challenges, we plan to work towards creating gender equity in the College of Science and the university.

As we celebrate National Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8, let’s take this opportunity to recognize the extraordinary contributions women make to science locally, nationally and abroad. This includes incredible work done by College of Science women at the forefront of leading research, such as combating COVID-19, mitigating climate change, advancing science in the White House and other parts of the federal government, communicating science, leading interdisciplinary research to create more sustainable materials and discovering new drugs to combat cancer.

The COS Diversity Action Plan calls on all of us to broaden the image of a scientist to combat gender-based harassment, and address gender equity in science. The COS Diversity Action Plan has also established an Equity, Access and Inclusion Leadership Council sub-committee on Gender Equity to address these issues and improve outcomes for COS members with marginalized genders. As they begin their work, your feedback and ideas are welcome.

I encourage everyone to join me in envisioning a world where women and men have equal opportunity in science. Let’s explore steps each one of us can take now, individually and collectively, to make this aspiration a reality. International Women’s Day Campaign offers excellent resources for helping us to #BreakTheBias.

Please join me in participating in several events taking place next week that bring diverse perspectives from women to the forefront:

Future of Science – Thought Leadership Forum

Monday, March 7, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (various sessions)
Memorial Union Ballroom and virtual via Zoom

The Future of Science – Thought Leadership Forum will engage College of Science faculty, staff and students to help plan for the next four years. Keynote speakers will share their visions for the future of science and will challenge COS to engage in this new future through outreach, research and education. RSVP.

International Women’s Day: Change Makers in Science talk and panel discussion

Tuesday, March 8, 12:30 – 3 p.m.
Memorial Union Ballroom and virtual via Zoom

Join us for a talk from eminent physicist Laura Greene, chief scientist and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. Following the keynote speech, there will be a panel discussion on negotiation skills aimed at beginning scientists featuring College of Science faculty members Sally Hacker, Marilyn Mackiewicz, Afua Nyarko and Rebecca Vega-Thurber and moderated by Vrushali Bokil. RSVP.

All across the College, women are advancing science by creating new knowledge, innovating to create better solutions and preparing tomorrow’s leaders. We celebrate their contributions as we work towards a more equitable scientific community.

Kameron Kadooka
Interim Director of Equity Access and Inclusion, COS

Dear College of Science community,

Each February, the nation and Oregon State University recognize Black History Month. I encourage the entire College of Science community – faculty, staff and students – to use this time to reflect on how the College and you personally in your spheres of influence can best support our Black community members.

As you may be aware, the College of Science recently adopted a Diversity Action Plan (DAP) that calls on all of us to work toward embedding equity, access and inclusion in all that we do in the College. In alignment with the DAP, celebrating Black excellence and changing the narrative of “who is a scientist” must be a part of our path forward.

We are committed to honoring the contributions of Black scientists whose discoveries, ingenuity and achievements have shaped the world we live in. The College of Science’s rich history of discoveries and pushing the boundary of knowledge includes contributions by scientists from minoritized communities, such as eminent climate scientist Warren Washington (’58, ’60 in Physics), who won the College’s 2019 Lifetime Achievement in Science Award. I encourage folks to follow @OSUScience on Instagram to view the spotlights on Black history in STEM.

To the Black community in the College of Science, we are working to make the College a more inclusive and welcoming place. I welcome your honest and open feedback, both on what is working well and what isn’t, as we work towards increasing equity in tangible ways.

I encourage the entire COS community to join in university-wide efforts to advance equity and justice, partnering with OSU organizations that focus on Black leadership and communities (referenced in Interim President Becky Johnson's message), and to engage with Black History Month events happening across campus, including these among others:

I invite faculty, staff, department leaders, the dean and dean’s staff – all of us – to take time this Black History Month to research the contributions of Black folks in your department or field. I encourage you to share this recognition of Black Excellence with your department and us in the College's feedback form. In particular, I encourage teaching faculty to work this recognition into your curriculum, so that the contributions of Black people can be recognized both during Black History Month and beyond.

Please join us in honoring Black Excellence, confronting racism and working towards an anti-racist culture in STEM.

Kameron Kadooka
Interim Director of Equity Access and Inclusion, COS