Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Group of University of Minnesota students holding signs that say #UMNProud and First Generation

At the Department of Biomedical Engineering, we:

  • Value diversity and recognize the importance of uplifting diverse and underrepresented perspectives.
  • Are dedicated to continuous education and growth in our personal and collective understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Strive to identify policies and practices in our department and in our field that undermine diversity, equity, and inclusion, and take responsive action to correct them.
  • Are committed to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture where we welcome, support, and advance the career aspirations of all members of the BME community, past, present, and future.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Alliance Members

 Sam Boland

Sam Boland

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.

Twitter: @samb0land

Instagram: @samb0land

 Heather Bomberger (she/her/hers)

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.

Instagram: @hbomberger

LinkedIn: Heather Bomberger

 Annie Brinda

Annie Brinda

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. 

Instagram: @anniekay23

 Sophie Givens

Sophie Givens

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

 Jay Hou

Jay Hou

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.

 Rachel Jorgenson

Rachel Jorgenson

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!

Brenda Ogle

Brenda Ogle

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

Gerardo Rodriguez

Gerardo Rodriguez

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. 

Instagram: @gerararardo

 Devynn Saunders

Devynn Saunders

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!

Instagram: @devynnsaunders

Efraín Torres

Efraín Torres

Hometown: Chicago

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!

Medium: etorrjr10.medium.com

Chun Wang

Chun Wang

Hometown: Minnesota

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!

Join the DEI Alliance

We'd love to have you! Email bmengp@umn.edu to join.