A group of gears interlocking showing a community coming together

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Community

Our DEIC committee meets twice each month to discuss issues and actions needed at the departmental level. We're focused on making Duke MEMS a more inclusive and diverse place for faculty, staff and students

The committee, in turn, reports through Pratt School of Engineering's Committee on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community to draw out a list of action items and works on them throughout the year.

The MEMS DEIC, listed below, comprises representatives of faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students.

Our WOrking Groups

Duke MEMS DEIC Committee

You're invited to reach out to anyone listed below with ideas, comments, suggestions. Let them know you'd like to work on a project!


Leila Bridgeman

Leila Bridgeman

Assistant Professor

Subcommittee: Training

"I want to help our department be the best it can be by fostering an inclusive and equitable community where everyone's diverse skills, knowledge and contributions are valued. I believe this can help us all do our best work, while maximizing our personal happiness and fulfillment."

George Delegrammatikas

George Delagrammatikas

Assistant Chair & Professor of the Practice

Subcommittee: Outreach

"Talent is distributed equally across people and communities, but opportunity is not. I want to continue the STEM outreach work I've been involved in for most of my academic career and help broaden participation of underserved groups in engineering. I'm excited to develop programs that immerse students from different backgrounds in the same space, allowing us to celebrate our differences as we identify and try to solve important social problems using engineering skills. Better engineering is a result of a more diverse team."

Becky Simmons

Becky Simmons, Chair

Associate Professor of the Practice

Subcommittees: Outreach, Mentorship

"Undergraduate mindset, health & wellness, and growth is very important to me. It is essential that we create a space and experiences where students feel supported, safe, welcomed and have the confidence to work towards their best selves. I want students to feel proud of the different experiences, points of reference and diversity they provide and seek out in others diversity of thought, living and being."

Stefan Zauscher

Stefan Zauscher


Subcommittee: Training

"I felt that I can contribute to creating an inclusive environment in the department, particularly by addressing issues of equity, by helping to bring resources to the committee due to my experience with the Teaching for Equity Fellows program. The DEIC Committee in MEMS provides a learning experience to stay informed and to learn more about DEIC in the academic environment, as well as in the community."


Patrick McGuire

Patrick McGuire

Senior Lab Administrator

Subcommittee: Outreach

"I am excited for the opportunity to lend my voice and support to the MEMS DEIC committee. My current role as a staff member on the teaching side of the department involves interacting with our students and faculty.  I will strive to use this as an opportunity to assess and implement positive changes among all MEMS stakeholders. The department will only get stronger if we can become more aware of our shared community and strive to make improvements promoting diversity, equity and inclusion."

Graduate Students

McKenzie Garcia

McKenzie Garcia

Master's Student

"I joined the MEMS DEIC Committee to share my experience at Duke in hopes to increase representation of Latino students. I want to help make Duke a more friendly and welcoming environment for all communities."

Concetta Morino

Concetta Morino

PhD Student

Subcommittee: Recruitment

"Being on DEIC is important to me because not only do I want to learn what events have led to the lack of diversity in my field but also be a part of changing departmental structure and policies contributing to these barriers."

Luisa Piccolo Serafim

Luisa Piccolo Serafim

PhD Student

"One of the things that most surprised me when I arrived at Duke was the university's awareness regarding building a more inclusive and supportive community. As a member of the MEMS DEIC Committee, I want to take part in this process and work closely with the Pratt School of Engineering members to implement the benefits that an inclusive, multicultural and diverse group can provide for its members, both personally and professionally. "

Undergraduate Students

Ava Ganeshan

Ava Ganeshan

Mechanical Engineering Major, Junior

Subcommittee: Mentorship

"DEIC efforts are important to me because I want to help create tangible and long-lasting changes that benefit all members of our community, providing everyone with equal opportunity and access."

Jack Dugoni

Jack Dugoni

Mechanical Engineering Major, Sophomore

Subcommittee: Outreach

"My interest in joining the MEMS DEIC Committee stemmed originally from my respect for Dr. Rebecca Simmons, the person who advocated for the group via email. I found that the Committee's mission to support all MEMS students, regardless of backgrounds or identity expressions, is one that matches my interest in promoting inclusivity within the groups of which I am a part, especially a historically homogeneous field like engineering. I look forward to the conversations that will surely follow with like-minded individuals who also bring varying perspectives to the table."

Swetha Sekhar

Swetha Sekhar

Mechanical Engineering Major, Sophomore

Subcommittee: Training

"Being a member of DEIC is my first real experience as part of a DEI initiative or as a student representative. DEI has always been important to me, especially with my own experiences as a minority woman in STEM, so I'm really looking forward to being in MEMS DEIC with other like-minded engineers to be able to make a difference for the MEMS community."

Student Affinity Groups

Duke Engineering Graduate Ambassadors (EGA)

Its mission is to increase awareness and access to applied science and engineering graduate programs. They focus on juniors, seniors and recent STEM graduates who may be less familiar with graduate school opportunities, particularly with underserved communities.

Interested in becoming a mentee? Use the following link to get in touch. 

National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)

Its mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)

Its mission is to change lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development.

Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

Its mission is to empower women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering and technology professions as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity and inclusion.

Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering & Science (FEMMES)

Girls Engineering Change

Runway of Dreams at Duke

Duke MEMS Book Club

Dune by Frank Herbert

Join us to discuss this book!

A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what many fans consider the grandest epic in science fiction. Request from Duke Libraries

We've previously read:

  • Chip War: The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology by Chris Miller
  • The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail - But Some Don't by Nate Silver
  • The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
  • BUILD: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making by Tony Fadell

Recent News

Graduate Leadership Award

Luisa Piccolo Serafim

Congratulations to graduate student Luisa Piccolo Serafim on being recognized with the Duke MEMS Graduate Leadership Award for 2022-2023!

She has been an outstanding member on our Duke MEMS DEIC committee and leader of the GRAMS mentorship program!



Women’s Lunch with Whasil Lee

Students at Duke University sit around a conference table

In May 2023, a group of senior undergraduates, graduate students and post-docs enjoyed a fantastic conversation with biomedical engineering researcher and Duke MEMS graduate Whasil Lee. 

She earned her PhD at Duke in 2011, advised by Piotr Marszalek and Vann Bennett.

Today, she is an assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering and Pharmacology & Physiology at the University of Rochester.

During the lunch, she shared about her research and factors contributing to her career development and lifestyle.


GRAMS in MEMS has now been expanded into EGA

Duke EGA logo
Those interested in taking advantage of mentorship in the EGA are encouraged to complete this form.

Find out more about Duke EGA »

Our mission: Increase awareness and access to applied science and engineering graduate programs; Focus on juniors, seniors, and recent STEM graduates who may be less familiar with graduate school opportunities, particularly with underserved communities; and, Mentors provide mentees friendly support in considering graduate school options and preparing application materials.

To find out more, please check the Student Affinity Groups drop-down menu above.

K-12 Outreach: Let There Be Lite

Student uses a thermal-sensing headset to measure the infrared radiation emitted by a Leslie Cube
Measuring infrared radiation emitted by a Leslie Cube

The Light, Infrared and Thermal Energy (LITE) workshop by Po-Chun Hsu's lab group (MEMS) engaged local students from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in optics, photonics and materials science. 

“Our goal was to educate and inspire higher educational career paths in the fields of optics and materials science for sustainable energy among ninth- and tenth-graders,” Hsu said.

Read the story »

M.e.e.t.s—Mentorship, Engagement, Extracurricular Teams

students sitting at outdoor table with service dog
Students enjoyed fellowship and a little relaxation with the help of Ollie the therapy dog

Undergraduate students from different years meet informally once a month to get to know one another and to share experiences and insights. Additional informal small groups gather to have fun, build community and support each other.

service dog
Ollie the therapy dog

Reading Period Break with Therapy Dogs, Games & Cake

This gathering was all about supporting, community building, relaxing, and eating during the reading period!

We had many laughs and happy moments as we met Ollie (a very cute therapy dog), made origami animals, played games, and ate cake

We're Listening To ...

Social Science Bites

“Sociology and psychology experts dialogue on a range of socially significant topics, covering areas such as the workplace, stigma, implicit bias, and the important relation of these topics to one another. A particularly noteworthy episode, "Discrimination and Design," features Swiss behavioral scientist Iris Bohnet and covers the presence of gender bias and subconscious discrimination in the hiring process and workplace at large. Those interested in learning more about developing DEI skills and perspectives will benefit greatly from listening." 

Jack Dugoni '24 | Duke MEMS undergraduate

Listen to the podcast »

"Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another."

Desmond Tutu | No Future Without Forgiveness (2000)