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MSE Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (JEDI) Initiative

About JEDI

We are a group of students, faculty, and staff dedicated to improving the department with the goal of being inclusive and supportive of all students, especially BIPOC, URM, women, LGBTQ+, and otherwise marginalized groups in science and engineering.

JEDI Zoom group picture February 25, 2022

Mission Statement

JEDI works to advance the department’s values of respect, acceptance, fairness, and accountability, and build a community in which the diversity and intersectionality of our members’ identities are recognized, accommodated, and celebrated. The initiative represents a joint effort among faculty, students, and staff, and hosts meetings every two weeks that are open to the entire departmental community. Our current efforts are multipronged: we are evaluating and making transparent our department’s metrics on student experience, recruitment, and retention; we are spearheading the effort to compose a departmental values statement; we are planning and coordinating recruitment and outreach activities to broaden access to graduate school in general and to Cornell’s programs in particular; and we are working to educate ourselves and our community to tackle the challenge of making our communities—small and large—more diverse and inclusive, more just and equitable.

Attend a Meeting

Meetings are held every other Tuesday 2:30–3:30 PM and are open to all students, faculty, and staff.
For the rest of the semester, JEDI meetings will be held in a hybrid format: both in Thurston Hall 409A, as well as via Zoom.
Future meetings will be held on:

  • October 25
  • November 8
  • November 22
  • December 6

Join the JEDI Mailing List

To stay up to date and receive Zoom meeting links, please join the listserv by sending an email to with the single word “join” in the subject line and no other text.

Why We Are Doing This

Participating in the Academic Strike for Black Lives led to in-house student discussions and a letter written to faculty asking for several direct actions to promote JEDI goals. This group, established in March 2021, is a realization of point five of that letter. Our goal is to enact change that will outlast the participation of each generation of grad students. We strive to create change not only within our department but to create a network for improving JEDI across departments and universities.

How To Get Involved

Join us at an upcoming JEDI Meeting (find meeting dates above or on the Meetings page) and sign up for the mailing list (see above)! Everyone in the broader MSE community is welcome.

Activity Leads

  • Values Statement: Aine Connolly, Konrad Hedderick, Dana Chapman, et al.
  • Website: Jalen Harris, Sabrina Li, Mike Rockefeller, Julia Dshemuchadse, Marissa Porter
  • Update of Bard Entry Display Cases: Stephan Sutter, Rachael Skye, Marissa Porter
  • MSE by the Numbers: Marissa Porter, Michelle Smeaton
  • Grad School Survey Data Exploration: Sabrina Li, Maya Martirossyan
  • Budget/Fundraising: Michelle Smeaton, Maya Martirossyan, Dylan Sotir, Alex Deyhim
  • Graduate School Applications Workshop: Maya Martirossyan, Marissa Porter, Aine Connolly, Dana Chapman, et al.
  • Mental Health Programming: Dana Chapman, Sabrina Li, Maya Martirossyan, Marissa Porter, Michelle Smeaton, Konrad Hedderick, Aine Connolly

Mental health gatherings

On a complementary schedule with JEDI meetings, JEDI hosts a support space for mental health every other Tuesday 2:30–3:30 PM, also held in a hybrid format: both in Thurston Hall 409A, as well as via Zoom. Faculty and staff are welcome to attend alternating gatherings (i.e., once every four weeks).
Future meetings will be held on:

  • November 1 (graduate students and postdocs only)
  • November 15 (faculty and staff welcome)
  • November 29 (graduate students and postdocs only)

Land Acknowledgement

Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York state, and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ’ people, past and present, to these lands and waters.


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