Arizona State University Week of SEISMIC

By Nita Tarchinski, edited by Ashley Atkinson

Summer Sun, SEISMIC Fun

Arizona State University Week of SEISMIC, November 7-11, 2022

Our November Week of SEISMIC took place in Tempe, AZ at Arizona State University. Highlights of this week included the Natural Sciences Inclusion Summit, table-side guacamole at Barrio Queen, and a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden.

External participants arrived in town on Monday and spent some time exploring Tempe, including a lovely rooftop sunset view followed by a passionate race down 18 flights of stairs.

On Tuesday, members of the Constructs Working Group gathered to brainstorm new writing projects. After, multiple SEISMIC members presented to the Biology and Society Lab group at ASU on current SEISMIC activity. This included a presentation from Chris Mead on SEISMIC-type measurements, a presentation from James Hammond on central questions in the Constructs Working Group, and a presentation by Nita Tarchinski on how to get involved in SEISMIC. Particularly engaged audience members left the session with some new SEISMIC swag.

Later in the afternoon, Carson Byrd gave a talk on his book, “Behind the Diversity Numbers: Achieving Racial Equity on Campus.” We wrapped up the day with a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden with cacti aplenty!

Wednesday was the all-day Natural Sciences Inclusion Summit. This conference, co-sponsored by the ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Research for Inclusive STEM Education (RISE) Center, included several presentations from members of the ASU community and the SEISMIC community. Paul LePore shared a few measures to consider for student success, including retention in a major and retention at a university. Carson Byrd encouraged researchers to think about their ideal project to study racial (in)equity on their campus, and then to ask themselves:

  • “What is available on campus to pursue the project?
  • What other obstacles exist?
  • What questions and methodologies are left for viable projects?”

Susan Cheng emphasized the importance of “recognizing that presence isn’t automatic inclusion.” Following the packed day of presentations, several of us went to Barrio Queen for delicious Mexican food.

Thursday began with a presentation from Susan Cheng on “Gaining momentum for disciplinary change: A systems approach to departmental leadership in DEI.” Susan shared a design framework for department DEI momentum built on three stages – spark, solidify, and sustain – and used her own work in the mechanical engineering department at the University of Michigan for key examples.

After a hearty Mediterranean lunch, Constructs Working Group members gathered again to solidify writing plans. Meanwhile, Anna James was immersing herself in ASU’s Dreamscape experience.

We wrapped up ASU’s Week of SEISMIC with a pizza dinner and attendance at the ASU Pitchforks’ annual fall concert. What a blast! Thanks to ASU for hosting us!



Nita Tarchinski

Nita Tarchinski is the Project Manager for the Sloan Equity and Inclusion in STEM Introductory Courses (SEISMIC) Collaboration, coordinating multi-institutional and multidisciplinary research and teaching projects focused on making introductory STEM courses more equitable and inclusive.

Ashley Atkinson

Ashley Atkinson is a Program Assistant for SEISMIC Central, lending a hand to whichever projects need support. Her primary projects include the SEISMIC website, making graphics for various efforts, and editing a podcast. As an alum from Michigan State University, Ashley is passionate about equity and inclusion in STEM alongside science communication.