Guarini School Recognizes M. Abubakar Khan for Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

The Guarini Diversity Award is designed to recognize outstanding leadership and determined efforts by graduate students in addressing and raising awareness about issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion across campus and in our community. Departments, individual faculty members or administrators, and graduate students are eligible to propose a recipient in the form of a letter of nomination.

The number of submitted recommendation letters was the highest ever received for this award, and certainly, so many in the Guarini community have worked tirelessly in this area and we thank everyone for their efforts.

Given the numerous submissions this year, we have chosen to acknowledge two honorable mentions:

Beatriz Mercado, Molecular and Systems Biology, (Kasper Lab)
José Delgado,  Biochemistry and Cellular Biology, (Shoemaker Lab)

And one outstanding recipient of the Guarini Diversity Award:
Muhammad Abubakar Khan, Biochemistry and Cell Biology, (Madden Lab)

Our honorable mentions, Beatriz and Jose, are both PhD students in the Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) program and co-founders of the Dartmouth chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), which was officially recognized by the national organization this year.

In addition to bringing the entire community, undergraduate and graduate students, together at many events in the short time since founding the chapter, they have also organized professional development events for young STEM researchers in the community through partnerships with NERDSQUAD, a nonprofit founded by Dr. Cagney Coomer which seeks to bring STEM education to adolescent students, and the New Hampshire Academy of Science (NHAS). Earlier in April, we were delighted to welcome some of the young scholars in the NHAS and the caliber of research presentations, both in quality and substance, was truly remarkable and testament to the efforts of this partnership.

José and Beatriz have also secured over $10,000 in funding to support national recruiting efforts and have served as outstanding ambassadors for diversity and inclusion in the Guarini community.

Since joining Dartmouth in 2019, José has endeavored to bring down barriers to inclusion including serving as graduate student representative on the Diversity Equality Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) working group at Dartmouth, he is active in several virtual mentoring projects, and is a marketing board member for Scientists in Solidarity. His tireless advocacy efforts in these prominent roles, as well as in the many less public but no less significant interactions he has engaged in, have had a resounding, positive impact on our community.

Our second honorable mention is Beatriz, who serves as President of the Dartmouth chapter of SACNAS and is also an active member of NERDSQUAD. Through Beatriz's advocacy, students in local schools have met with many Dartmouth volunteers and engaged in hands-on STEM learning opportunities that are all too often sadly missing in many rural schools.

She has also played a key role in offering community STEM nights for children and families and, here on campus Beatriz is developing a collaborative network with graduate student groups including the Graduate Women in Science(GWISE), and with the Graduate Student Council Committee for Addressing Racism and Equity (CARE) to develop a program addressing micro and macro aggressions to combat racism in the sciences. This work will have significant impact on making STEM careers more accessible and inclusive.

Congratulations to Beatriz and José on their honorable mentions.

The 2023 recipient of the Guarini Diversity Award is Muhammed Abubakar Khan

Abubakar has worked tirelessly to serve the international community of Guarini students, showing outstanding commitment to his role of Guarini International Graduate Mentoring Fellow where he frequently went above and beyond the requirements of this position – meeting international students as they arrived in Hanover, supporting them in obtaining required visas, assisting with transportation, and helping make sure they felt at home while so far from home.

In addition to this generosity in his official capacity, Abubakar has also demonstrated a true commitment to ensuring the impact of his role does not end with his official responsibilities. Notably, he played a key role on the Dartmouth-wide Halal Task Force to address the inadequacies of Halal dining options at Dartmouth, resulting in more options and a permanent oversight group. Abubakar has also given his time to local non-profit efforts with The Prouty, has participated in the Dartmouth ManyMentors group, and moderated the Guarini Facebook group, sharing news, updates, and information virtually as well as in person.

The strength of Abubakar's commitment and selfless attitude to this work makes him an exceptional recipient. On behalf of Dartmouth and the Guarini School, we would like to thank Abubakar and congratulate him on this award.