Excellence Through Inclusion



    Second in the Series, Women Collaborating for Inclusion. Dr. Dorcey Applyrs, A Candid Conversation about how to Change Culture to Create Inclusive Environments. Thursday, March 25, 2021, 12-1pm via Zoom. Hosted by professors Marlene Belfort, Janice Pata and Joan Curcio.
    WISH Virtual meeting, Tuesday, Sept 28, 2021, 12-1pm via Zoom. WISH NSF Research Awards, Dr. Edelgard Wulfert, Dr. Melinda Larsen, and Women Collaborating for Inclusion with Dr. Lydia Contreras and Dr. Elizabeth Vasquez.



      • Women Collaborating for Inclusion

        September 9, 2020, 11:30am – 1:00pm Via ZOOM

        Panel discussion led by Yolanda Caldwell

        Yolanda Caldwell

        With University at Albany, SUNY faculty panelists: Drs. Joan Curcio (Biomedical Sciences),  Rabi Musah (Chemistry) and Cara Pager (Biological Sciences)

        Yolanda Caldwell is a businesswoman committed to serving the community in the empowerment of women, young adults, and families to be intentional in living their lives for impactful purpose. She is an entrepreneur, consultant, award winning facilitator, coach, and international speaker. She is the inaugural Director of the Women’s Leadership Institute, College of St Rose.

    • Dear Sisters in Science

        August 19, 2020

        Dear Sisters in Science,

        Joan Curcio and her daughter As the daughter of social activists and the mother of a young Black woman, I've long considered myself to be fairly “woke” when it comes to racial injustice. But George Floyd’s murder and the anguish and truth-telling that ensued seared my soul and laid bare my complacency and complicity with structural racism. I’ve spent the past 22 years of my life engaged in fighting racism in public schools and health care systems; this, I’m afraid, comes with the territory of being the parent of a Black child. At the same time, I was benefitting from extraordinary privilege–white privilege–in my academic life. Yes, there have been many times in my career when I stood up for racial equality, but there have also been many times when I stood by when people of color were denigrated, denied support and held to standards they had little say in defining. In my 27 years as a member of the Biomedical Sciences Department, I have never had a Black faculty colleague. I’ve never liked that, but at some level I accepted it. At most, my efforts to right this wrong have been perfunctory. I have used and at times embraced the very tools that enforce white privilege in science, accepting the excuse that these tools are necessary to uphold academic and research standards.

        I’m not sure what took me so long, but I’ve now reached the point where I have to change. I have to hold myself and my academic and scientific communities accountable for the roles we have played in systemic racism. I have to admit, and I think we all have to admit, that no matter what progress we have made and how honorable our intentions have been, it has not been enough. We have failed in a myriad of ways, but most glaringly, in my opinion, by denying Black scientists and academics a seat at the table. At this university, 18.3% of students are Black, whereas 6.4% of faculty members are Black. I don’t know how many Black STEM faculty members there are, but I hope we can agree that it is not enough to provide our Black students with the opportunity to see themselves in leadership positions in STEM fields. This is a fundamental injustice at the very heart of perpetuating white privilege.

        Joan Curcio and familyI appeal to you as women scientists because the playing field is level, or it’s not. I need to know from you, how we are going to take stock of our roles in keeping systemic racism alive? And what are we going to do differently moving forward? How are we going to open the doors of the STEM community for Black scientists to walk in? And once the doors are open, how are we going to support Black scientists? How will we ensure that they have a voice in dismantling the systems we have used so successfully to keep Black people out of leadership roles? How can we broaden the scope of research priorities to address the needs of Black people? How are we going to hold funding agencies accountable for their role in excluding Black scientists? I am relying on you, my community of women scientists, to rigorously investigate the barriers that Black faculty and students face in our departments, institutes, colleges, university and research communities. And once we have an understanding of those barriers, I need us to come together and figure out what concrete steps we are going to demand be taken to end the injustices–once and for all.

        In the months since the “awakening” brought on by the brutal murder of George Floyd, I have witnessed many strong statements about our commitment to racial equality, town halls to explain how different schools and colleges are addressing racial disparities through research priorities and curricula, the promotion of antiracist resources and celebrations of our diversity in research. What I have not seen is a willingness to admit to and examine our shortcomings–our complacency with and complicity in perpetuating systemic racism. I ask you, and I am counting on you, to join me in offering Black scientists a seat at our table.

        In solidarity,

        Joan Curcio
        Professor, Biomedical Sciences