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Diversity initiatives at the UNC Department of Physics and Astronomy were highlighted as exemplars in a March 3 Science Magazine article, which was published alongside several stories investigating the underrepresentation of Black physicists. Fix the System, Not the Students draws attention to the innovative approaches of three UNC departmental programs designed to support Black and other minority students: the Computational Astronomy and Physics (CAP) Boot Camp, the Graduate to Undergraduate (G2U) mentoring program, and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Scholars program. 

Four members of the UNC Department of Physics and Astronomy -- one professor, two graduate students, and one undergraduate student -- pose for a photo in front of Phillips Hall on UNC's Chapel Hill campus.
Pictured L-R are Zack Hall, Sheila Kannappan, Nathnael Kahassai, and Derrick Carr, who have multiple mentoring relationships. Sheila, founder of the CAP Boot Camp, is Derrick’s research mentor and a mentor for Zack and Nathnael in the American Physical Society (APS) Bridge Partnership and APS National Mentoring Community, respectively. Zack, an alumnus of the CAP Boot Camp, is the founder of the G2U program. Derrick, the graduate assistant for the CAP Boot Camp, is a G2U mentor for Nathnael. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

UNC faculty and students featured in the article include: 

  • Sheila Kannappan, associate chair for diversity and mentoring, founder of the CAP Boot Camp, and G2U faculty advisor.
  • Zack Hall, graduate student diversity liaison, founder of the G2U program, DEI Scholar, and former CAP Boot Camp participant.
  • Julieta Gruszko, faculty diversity liaison and founder of the DEI Scholars program.
  • Derrick Carr, graduate student assistant for the CAP Boot Camp and G2U mentor.
  • Nathnael Kahassai, G2U undergraduate mentee.
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