The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences believes that the best science emerges when our researchers can bring their whole selves to the team. Patterned after the Eberly College of Sciences' Rainbow Science Network (RSN), the Rainbow EMS Network fosters a fully inclusive environment in our research groups and identifies research groups that have received advanced training in LGBTQ issues beyond the Safer People Safer Places Network.
Inclusive Scientists | Inclusive Science
LGBTQ+ people experience unique challenges in life, in college, and at work, and there are additional challenges that come from being a scientist. The college recognizes the value that diversity brings to the research enterprise, and that talented scientists are found among the LGBTQ+ community. The Rainbow EMS Network is designed to support and facilitate research training for LGBTQ+ and ally undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and research staff, in an inclusive environment.
The Rainbow EMS Network is a list of research groups with leaders who have undergone two Penn State–provided training courses designed to increase the understanding of issues facing LGBTQ+ people and are committed to maintaining a welcoming and inclusive research group:
Through this initiative, prospective research team members at the undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, and technical levels in the LGBTQ+ community and allies can readily identify research groups that are committed to fostering a fully inclusive environment.
The Rainbow EMS Network list can be used to help students, postdoctoral scholars, and research staff identify a group where they can bring their whole self to the research environment; however, there is no requirement to be ‘out’. Trainees can find additional details about research-active faculty and how to apply for research opportunities on departmental websites. Please note: In all of these programs, consideration does not involve being part of the LGBTQ+ community; you are under no obligation to disclose your status and allies are welcome.
Visit our Active Ally webpage to learn more about supporting the LGBTQ+ coommunity.
If you are a faculty member who is interested in maintaining an inclusive and LGBTQ+ friendly research environment, you can signify this by joining the Rainbow EMS Network. Your listing as an Rainbow EMS Network member will indicate to undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and research staff in the LGBTQ+ community and their allies that they are free to bring their whole selves to work for you. By sharing your commitment via the Rainbow EMS Network, we aim to encourage and tap into the pool of LGBTQ+ research trainees and help diversify the Penn State research workforce.
By joining the Rainbow EMS Network, your name will be listed among other trained and committed faculty. The benefit of joining the Rainbow EMS Network is that LGBTQ+ and ally applicants to your research group will know, through your membership, that you are committed to maintaining a friendly and inclusive atmosphere towards LGBTQ+ people in your group when they are evaluating which research groups to apply to. LGBTQ+ applicants to Rainbow EMS Network member research groups are under no obligation to disclose their LGBTQ+ status (gender, sexual orientation, etc.), and are free to be ‘out’ to the extent that they choose and feel safe. You may never know that someone chose your research group because of the Rainbow EMS Network. Those who consult the list of Rainbow EMS Network faculty will apply to work in your group via all the usual routes that you currently use to find and evaluate research personnel.
How to participate and responsiblities
- Complete two training workshops offered by Penn State’s Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity: “Safer People Safer Places – LGBTQ+ Foundations Workshop” (if you have already done this, that’s great and you don’t need to take it again, but you certainly can if you'd like a refresher); and “Transgender and Gender Inclusion 101 Workshop.” (See note below on how to sign up)
- Have at least one other member of your lab group complete the two trainings (this ideally should be an employee or postdoc who is physically in the lab space frequently, especially if you are not, but could also be an advanced graduate student).
- Make your whole group aware of your membership and your expectation of maintaining an inclusive and LGBTQ+ friendly environment; remind the group regularly, such as at the start of each semester.
- Encourage others in your group to also complete the training (it is not required that everyone be trained, and we don’t want to force people into the training, but the more the better).
- Contact the Associate Dean for Educational Equity to confirm that you and at least one other person in your group have completed the trainings so that you can be listed on the Rainbow EMS Network website.
The workshops are available through Penn State’s Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity “Safer People Safer Places” program. Information about the trainings and the schedule is available on the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity website faculty/staff workshops page. These workshops are open to for faculty, staff, post-docs and graduate students. (Undergraduates who are interested in training can register for the Center’s student ally workshops.)
Faculty who join the Rainbow EMS Network must have completed both trainings and the Penn State Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity will provide certification of participation.
Recognizing that faculty members have many responsibilities and may not be with the research group all day, it is also required that one other member of the group (of any rank) must also complete the trainings to provide a daily presence who may be better placed to recognize any microaggressions or biased behavior that might arise in the faculty members absence. Training of the rest of a group should be encouraged by Rainbow EMS Network faculty but is not mandatory for Rainbow EMS Network membership.
Rainbow EMS Network faculty members must remind their group at least once a semester (e.g., at a group meeting) that they have made a commitment to foster an inclusive scientific community by joining the Rainbow EMS Network and to make their expectations clear in this regard. Please note that in order to avoid inadvertently ‘outing’ someone who selected your group because of its Rainbow EMS Network listing, we recommend that this reminder does not coincide with the arrival of any new group members.
You do not have to have any open research positions to join or maintain your listing on the Rainbow EMS Network; it is understood that openings come and go through natural turnover processes.
As with all interpersonal disputes between group members, Rainbow EMS Network faculty members should be prepared to mediate any potential conflicts. Group members should be cognizant of Penn State’s policies on reporting wrongdoing and report any acts of bias or discrimination as appropriate.
Rainbow EMS Network membership serves as an indicator to prospective undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and research staff about the atmosphere of lab groups.
Member Research Groups
- Robinson Research Group (Professor Joshua Robinson and graduate student Alexander Vera)
- Penn State University PaleoEnvironmental Reconstruction and Surface Earth Dynamics (PSUPER SED) Lab (Elizabeth Hajek and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Mohit Tunwal); We use sedimentary geology, stratigraphy, and sediment-transport perspectives to understand ancient environmental conditions and surface dynamics on Earth and other planets.
- Gomez Research Group (Professor Enrique Gomez and graduate student Sarah Sheffield); We connect the chemical structure with the microstructure and macroscopic properties to advance sustainable applications of polymers and soft materials.
- Penn State Glass Research Group (Professor John Mauro and PhD students Brittney Hauke, Katelyn Kirchner, and Rebecca Welch)
- Keller Research Group (Professor Klaus Keller and graduate student Carl Aquino); The Keller Research Group focuses on mission-oriented basic research to help improve climate risk management.
- Center for Quantative Imaging (Professor Zuleima Karpyn and postdoctoral researcher Prakash Purswani)
- Beese Research Group (Professor Allison Beese and graduate student Nancy Huang); Our group uses experimental characterization and computational modeling to identify links between microstructures and macroscopic deformation and fracture of materials.
- The Hasegawa group (Professor Urara Hasegawa and graduate student Arshiya Bhadu); The Hasegawa group is developing novel polymeric nanomaterials for drug delivery by applying the principles of polymer chemistry, nanotechnology, and biomaterials science.
- Lau Research Group (Professor Kim Lau and postdoctoral researcher Chelsea Bowman); The Lau research group uses isotope geochemical proxies from marine sedimentary records to understand changes to environmental conditions in Earth’s history.
- PSICE (Professor Byron Parizek and graduate student Carl Aquino); PSICE The PSICE group uses field exploration, remote sensing, laboratory experiments and models to study glaciers and ice sheets, to learn the history of climate in their layers, and their interactions with the environment including the potential to cause sea-level rise, and helps make this information useful to policymakers and the public.
- Penn State Center for Advanced Data Assimilation and Predictability Techniques (ADAPT) (Professor Yunji (Jerry) Zhang and Professor Eugene Clothiaux); The Penn State Center for Advanced Data Assimilation and Predictability Techniques (ADAPT) seeks to integrate and enhance the existing strength and expertise in cutting-edge data assimilation (DA) and predictability research across Penn State.
- InSAR, Geodesy & Geohazards (IGG) Laboratory (Dr. Christelle Wauthier and graduate student Judit Gonzalez-Santana); The InSAR, Geodesy & Geohazards (IGG) Laboratory research interests focus on the study of natural hazards by means of remote-sensing and geophysical techniques. An overarching goal of our research is to reveal the sub-surface magma plumbing systems beneath active volcanoes worldwide.
- Ivory Paleoecology Lab (Dr. Sarah Ivory and graduate student Karen Pham); We use information from the fossil record in order to understand ecosystems and the processes that create biodiversity.
- Sinnott Research Group (Dr. Susan Sinnott and graduate student Robert Slapikas); Develop and use computational materials science methods at the atomic scale to investigate, design, and discover materials.
- Earth-Atmosphere Interactions Lab (Faculty members Ken Davis and Natasha Miles) Our group uses measurements and models to study interactions between the earth’s surface and the atmosphere, especially exchanges of greenhouse gases and water, with the goal of improving our understanding and management of the earth’s climate.
- Reinhart Group (Assistant Professor Wesley Reinhart and grad student Arindam Debnath) Our group uses data science and simulation to design functional materials for applications ranging from nano to structural scale
- DiBiase Geomorphology Group (Associate Professor Roman DiBiase and grad student Julia Carr) Our research group studies the erosion processes responsible for shaping Earth’s topography and causing hazards such as landslides, floods, and debris flows.
- Hickey Group (Assistant Professor Robert Hickey and graduate student Jensen Sevening) Our group creates polymer materials using a combination of synthetic and self-assembly methods, and investigates the interrelationships between chemistry and structure to uncover new avenues for controlling material properties.