BME DEI Alliance
The BME DEI Alliance is a grassroots organization of students, faculty, and staff committed to enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the BME department at UMN.
We organize events to promote continuous education and growth of department members on topics surrounding diversity, and advocate for departmental policies that support a more equitable and inclusive community.
Hometown: Newtown, Connecticut
Fun fact about yourself/hobbies: I enjoy outdoor activities, especially camping. I also recently learned how to wake surf, which is a blast. During the fall, I enjoy following college football and rooting for my own Penn State Nittany Lions.
Why are you involved with the DEI alliance: There is a pronounced lack of LGBTQIA representation in engineering, which at times has made me question whether or not I will truly be accepted and respected in this field. A recent paper in Science Advances found that LGBTQIA males leave STEM at a rate 20% higher than their heterosexual counterparts, despite a higher rate of participation in undergraduate research. I joined the DEI alliance because I believe that everyone can and should have a home in BME.
Heather Bomberger (she/her/hers)
Hometown: Palmyra, Virginia
Fun fact about yourself/hobbies: I am a therapeutic horseback riding instructor. I love camping, biking, knitting, reading, and my dog.
Why are you involved with the DEI alliance: I am involved in the DEI Alliance to effect antiracist change in my community, and to learn how to better effect antiracist change in my future communities. The lack of diversity in STEM is one of the biggest problems in our field, and our department is certainly not exempt. As a member of the DEI Alliance, I hope to make a positive and antiracist impact during my time in this department.
LinkedIn: Heather Bomberger
Hometown: Madison, Alabama
Fun fact about yourself/hobbies: I love all things outdoors, but my favorite activity is kayaking and I want to teach my dog to kayak with me.
Why are you involved with the DEI alliance: I've always felt drawn towards STEM outreach for underrepresented students in grade school, but am now realizing that my peers in graduate school need my support as an ally just as much as the middle school students I typically support. DEI alliance support looks more like helping to change policy and learning how to create truly welcoming lab environments, which may not sound as fun as making slime, but I'm hoping these efforts can have a HUGE impact on the underrepresented graduate students here now that will likely trickle down and inspire the generations to come as well.
Hometown: Eugene, Oregon
Fun fact about yourself/hobbies: I am the woman of a million hobbies... Baking, gardening, cooking, dance, yoga, hiking, camping, candle making and most recently cross country skiing, running and some dabbling in backpacking.
Why are you involved with the DEI alliance: I really want academia and higher education to be a space where everyone who want to access it can, and everyone who wants to be a part of the community feels embraced and supported through their academic journey. I am especially passionate about social justice education in STEM programs because it is something that is so often overlooked but is a VERY important factor in how we educate the next generation of scientist and engineers.
Social media: @_sophiegivens
Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan
Fun fact about yourself/hobbies: I like biking, skating, and all kinds of sports.
Why are you involved with the DEI alliance: I was invited, and then started to understand why the DEI alliance is important to our department. We should always be able to hear voices from all parties and minorities, and execute actions to have a better system for all parties and minorities.
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Fun fact about yourself/hobbies: I enjoy hiking, kayaking, cooking, and reading (my favorite book is Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini)! I'm also on a journey to become an amateur ukulele player!
Why are you involved with the DEI alliance: As a POC, I always felt tied to the model minority myth and was taught to work within the bounds of the system and not question why they were there. As a member of DEI, I hope to learn more about the systemic barriers that exist and take action against them, ultimately to create a more free and fair world for everyone.
Hometown: Fridley, Minnesota
Fun fact about yourself/hobbies: My biggest hobbies are camping and hiking (especially in the fall), birding (all the time), knitting, snuggling with my cats, and homebrewing (or, if I'm honest, mainly sitting in the garage with my spouse while he brews...and then consuming the end product).
Why are you involved with the DEI alliance: I want to break down barriers that reduce access to higher education for marginalized groups, and to help foster a BME community that is supportive, inclusive, and welcoming!
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Fun fact about yourself/hobbies: I learned how to fish for walleye this summer and caught two! And made an excellent walleye chowder.
Why are you involved with the DEI alliance: I am involved in BME DEI alliance because I love being a part of our department and want to help it grow into a place where everyone is a proud member and feels at home. I support all elements of the vision and pledge that the Alliance, in collaboration with the DEI Coordinator Search Committee, is drafting.
Social media: @OgleLab
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
Fun fact about yourself/hobbies: I have no self control when it comes to ice cream or pie.
Why are you involved with the DEI alliance: Growing up in Idaho, I saw little representation of my culture in positions of leadership and experienced racism from my classmates. Thankfully I had a supportive family and mentors that helped me believe in myself and guided me in my career. I'm hoping that by fomenting diversity, providing opportunities to other minorities, and demonstrating that the prejudices are wrong, future minority generations will have better experiences and resources to succeed.
Hometown: Apple Valley, Minnesota
Fun fact about yourself/hobbies: I have been coaching gymnastics to kids for 7 years now!
Why are you involved with the DEI alliance: I was a community advisor for 2 years and learned so much about diversity and social justice. I want to keep learning and being a better ally so I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to do so!
Fun fact about yourself/hobbies: My favorite hobby is riding my bike and running!
Why are you involved with the DEI alliance: With everything going on, I want to help create a community that we can all rely on during these tough times!
Fun fact about yourself/hobbies: I have a cute mini-poodle named Charlie.
Why are you involved with the DEI alliance: I'd love to see EVERYONE has the opportunity to succeed and flourish!