Zayna is a senior graduate student in the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology. Although countless Black and Brown lives have been lost to racial injustices in this country, the untimely deaths of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, Ms. Breonna Taylor and Mr. George Floyd at the start of a global pandemic, compelled Zayna to invest in advocating for racial equity and social justice in academia and the US at large. As a first generation Caribbean-American, Zayna is no stranger to racial profiling and discrimination, and this, coupled with her desire to champion a more equitable scientific community, led to her involvement in the establishment of BBSP-BET. Zayna is passionate about the mission of BBSP-BET and aims to continue working towards a more culturally-intelligent and anti-racist community at UNC and beyond.
As a half-Kashmiri half-Palestinian Muslim American Woman, Reem was not immune to microaggressions, sexism, and Islamophobia throughout her scientific career. Her experiences shaped her into the person she is today: culturally literate and passionate towards making sure every URM individual feels accepted, respected, and protected. As a 5th year graduate student in Biochemistry and Biophysics, Reem became a diversity committee member in her department and co-founded BBSP-BET alongside her dear colleagues. She was witnessing disparities in the experiences of students among departments, in the departmental efforts directed towards racial equity, and recognized that things needed to change. We as students needed our voices to be heard and we needed our biomedical research departments to unite in their efforts.
Carissa joined the founding group a couple months after they first formed in 2020, she is now a 5th year graduate student in the department of Microbiology and Immunology. She has witnessed the discrimination against my BIPOC friends within the Biomedical Research departments here at UNC and she joined BBSP-BET because she wants to fight for the equity and inclusion of all trainees.
At the time of BBSP-BET’s founding, Gabby was a 5th year graduate student in Biochemistry and Biophysics. She wanted to be part of the group to use her privilege to support the voices of her URM friends and push for much-needed racial equity initiatives in the Biomedical Research departments at UNC.
Kimberly is a second-year graduate student in the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology. As a first-generation college student of mixed race from diverse ethnic backgrounds, Kimberly has not only experienced discrimination but has also witnessed others fall victim to racial profiling, micro and macro aggressions. Kimberly is passionate about creating an environment that is both accepting and nurturing to individuals from all backgrounds. As such, Kimberly’s desires align with the mission of BBSP-BET to create an environment in which all are welcome and treated equally across all departments at UNC.