Four students gather around a computer to look at data


The Student Leadership Committee was formed in Spring 2020 in an effort to center student voices in the development and implementation of the HHMI Inclusive Excellence grant initiatives at Oberlin. The committee is comprised of six student leaders of diverse backgrounds dedicated to improving the equity and inclusion of STEM at Oberlin.

Through the establishment of the Student Leadership Committee, the HHMI team at Oberlin sought to:

1. Provide students with insight into the background, rationale and efforts of the grant as they exist within the context of Oberlin College.

2. Hear directly and regularly from students regarding their experiences of equity in educational environments at Oberlin College.

3. Open an avenue through which student recommendations and experiences can be used to guide and focus the visioning processes of the upcoming Departmental Action and Reflection Teams.

4. Better align with the ongoing goal of centering and prioritizing student voices in institutional change. 

Spring 2021

Lauriel is a pre-med Biology major with minors in Chemistry and Africana Studies. She is also the co-chair of the Black Scientists’ Guild. Through her work with both the Guild and the SLC, she hopes to help make STEM a more inviting place for POCs and other underrepresented groups on campus.

Cyril is a Neuroscience & Theatre double major from Lowell, MA. His secret talents include advocating for equity amongst STEM students and sleeping less than 3 hours per night.

Natalie is a 3rd year Geology major passionate about creating conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion in all the environments she works in.

Muntaha is a 2nd year international student excited to create community and give voices to those who typically aren't as loud in the classroom.

Mari is a Philosophy major in the pre-med track and she is from Curitiba, Brazil. She is passionate about bioethics, but also spends her free time writing and reading poetry, as well as watching bad reality TV with her friends. 

Clea is a 1st year student excited about working with their peers and STEM faculty to understand how to improve the classroom experience 

Olivia is a 3rd year working interested in understanding the interconnection between STEM and Art and how interdisciplinary work can create more inclusive spaces 

Mari Kovalik Silva '24

Clea Thomas '24

Olivia Lu '22

Cyril Amanfo '22

Lauriel Powell '22

Natalie Soord '22

A headshot of a young black woman in a o
An image of a young black man in white o
Lauriel Powell.jpeg
Front entrance to a building

Muntaha Rahman '23

Previous Work & Outcomes:

For spring 2020, the HHMI Leadership Team charged the Student Leadership Committee with the following tasks:


1. To gather, and disseminate among faculty, student opinions and recommendations about potential focuses for the Department Action and Reflection Teams throughout their visioning and implementation processes.

2. To develop recommendations regarding initiatives to improve sense of belonging among students in STEM departments.


In addition to these charges, the Student Leadership Team was invited to share any input that would help in identifying and addressing institutional structures, procedures, policies and traditions that limit, prohibit, undermine or preclude the success of all students of all backgrounds in the Oberlin STEM environment. 


During the spring 2020 semester, the Student Leadership Committee:

1. Conducted sixteen individual interviews with faculty and students across all STEM departments.

2. Crafted recommendations for the Geology, Computer Science and Psychology departments beginning their DART processes in the academic year 2020-21.

3. Developed a framework for future implementation of a Minorities in STEM student presentation series.

4. Developed a framework for future implementation of an Introduction to Lab Work orientation event for first year students.

5. Gathered and presented student data around STEM culture and universal pass during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Natalie Soord '22