Photo of two silhouetted people walking along a beach in the morning, with the sun shining brightly into the camera. Their footprints are clearly visible on the sand of the beach.

Bright Spots & Barriers: Taking Action for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in California’s Ocean Sciences

We will convene a series of roundtable discussions to identify successes and foster solutions for empowering a more inclusive and diverse next generation of scientists and professionals.


Underrepresentation due to the historical exclusion and marginalization of racial and ethnic minorities in STEM is stark and persists into the workforce. Despite an upward trend in overall degrees granted over the last few decades, the ocean sciences continues to be one of the least diverse STEM fields. We are committed to supporting pathways for increasing diversity, access, inclusion, and belonging in science leadership in academia and beyond, as well as empowering scientists to promote institutional and cultural change.

Ocean Science Trust is partnering with the San Francisco State University Estuary & Ocean Science Center (EOS Center) and University of California, Davis Coastal & Marine Sciences Institute (CMSI) to understand successes and shortcomings in the design and uptake of programs to improve inclusion, equity, and diversity in the coastal and ocean sciences in California’s universities.
These roundtable discussions will explore and elevate ‘bright spots’ or common denominators of institutional advancement in improving inclusion, equity, and diversity and approaches to breaking down recognized barriers. By cultivating dialogue, this project aims to produce actionable recommendations and accelerate implementation of effective initiatives across the ocean science communities in California.

Convening Roundtable Discussions

We will convene a series of dialogues to understand and highlight successful and replicable strategies currently in use by the coastal and ocean science community (and related STEM programs) to create a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse academic culture. Through these dialogues we intend to spark creative design of new opportunities and collaborations to drive change across a broad group of coastal and marine science programs in California universities. The Roundtables will focus on four themes:

  1. Faculty Perspective to provide input and reflection on institutional challenges and opportunities for advancing inclusion, equity, and diversity in academia and beyond for ocean-focused professionals, including best practices for institutional accountability.
  2. The Student Experience to explore effective strategies and ongoing challenges with programs trying to improve culture, mentorship, curriculum development, belonging, retention, recruitment, and more.
  3. Career Pathway Development to illuminate career pathways and connectivity including access to professional experiences such as internships, fellowships, and addressing hiring and selection practices, not only in academia but other career paths that are supported by degrees in coastal and ocean sciences.
  4. Research & Training Funding to identify more equitable and inclusive funding mechanisms, practices, applications, and private/public funding systems.

Steering Committee

We are conducting this project by drawing on the breadth of expertise outside of ourselves, forming a Steering Committee of leaders and change agents to provide guidance on designing an inclusive and equitable process.

Committee Members

David Asai, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Jeanette Davis, Science is Everywhere, LLC
Laura Good, CSU Monterey Bay
Carole Hom, UC Davis CMSI
Lekelia Jenkins, Arizona State University
Randall Hughes, Northeastern University
Kate Lowry, Science Philanthropy Alliance
Anne-Marie Núñez, Ohio State University
Karina Nielsen, SFSU EOS Center
Craig Strang, UC Berkeley

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