Guarini Diversity Award 2021 Recipient: Stacey Cerón, Ph.D.

In a normal year, this would be the occasion to acknowledge the work and efforts of a graduate student who has demonstrated dedication to building and supporting the Guarini community. So many of you have engaged in this important work over the years, and it has been an honor to acknowledge those especially active students with the Guarini Community Award.

However, this year and last year have not been normal years. While the pandemic has wreaked chaos across our communities, it has also afforded us opportunities to re-examine our society, to explore schisms in our community, and work towards redefining our expectations for what normal should be. To that end, the Guarini School decided to create the Guarini Diversity Award in recognition of graduate students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in addressing and raising awareness around issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion across campus and in our community.

This year, we are delighted to honor Stacey Cerón as the inaugural Guarini Diversity Award recipient.

Stacey came to Dartmouth in 2014 with an MS in microbiology and joined Dr. David Leib's lab where the focus of her research is the study of molecular mechanisms utilized by herpes simplex virus to evade the innate immune response. She is a highly accomplished scholar, having presented posters at conferences, published papers in acclaimed journals, and contributed to several courses as a teaching assistant.

Driven by a belief instilled by her parents that education is a path to success, Stacey has worked tirelessly as a mentor and leader in the STEM community at Dartmouth. Her dedication to this effort has been powerful. Not only does Stacey serve as a strong leader and mentor for the under-represented community at Dartmouth, but she also works to encourage and support prospective students to pursue graduate studies in STEM fields.

Working with Jane Seibel, Guarini's dean for diversity, recruiting, and communication, Stacey served as a cofounder or the Guarini Underrepresented Minority Diversity Ambassador Program. Stacey was also actively involved throughout her time here with student recruiting, traveling to national graduate school recruiting events, and serving as an advocate for STEM programs and the Guarini community. Stacey has also organized networking events for mentors and mentees in the Ambassador program and created a speaker series for minority professionals in STEM.

Perhaps one of the most powerful contributions Stacey has made to increasing access to STEM graduate programs is her work as coordinator for Guarini's ASURE program. This summer research experience allows undergraduate students interested in pursuing graduate studies to come to Dartmouth and participate in research.

Over eight weeks, in her role as an ASURE coordinator, Stacey was responsible for leading the students in professional development opportunities, providing ethics training, developing mentoring and networking programs, and preparing the group for presenting their research at the Leadership Alliance National Symposium.

Stacey has an innate ability to empathize with people, to meet them where they are, and to encourage them to fulfill their potential. She is dedicated to dismantling institutional barriers, and to advocating for greater equity in STEM.

Her commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity has been evident from the start of her career at Dartmouth and, as she goes on to take a position at the University of California, Los Angeles in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine, her passion for increasing representation from diverse groups in STEM and academia remains unwavering.

We are delighted to honor Stacey's work with this award, and we are grateful for all her efforts. Congratulations, Stacey.