Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in BME

The Department of Biomedical Engineering is rooted in a dual culture of medicine and engineering that provides a unique environment for translational research, collaboration and education. We are committed to fostering a culture of diversity, inclusiveness and equity among faculty, students and staff. Read our Mission statement for diversity, equity and inclusion.

The BME Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is comprised of leaders at all levels who are passionate about ensuring that diversity, equity and inclusion are considered in all department activities. Faculty representatives serve as “DEI Representatives” on all major committees within the department. Postdoc, graduate and undergraduate representatives are nominated through local chapters of the Graduate Biomedical Engineering Society, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers and other groups. Graduated committee members are invited to remain as alumni representatives. Meet the DEI Leadership committee.

Our activities and accomplishments are divided into current activities (ongoing or less than two years old), past activities (more than two year old) and immediate future goals as discussed in the DEI Committee's quarterly meetings.

Current Activities  Past Activities  Future Goals


Leadership Committee

  • Faculty

    Mete Civelek, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Co-Chair and DEI Representative for the Graduate Admissions Committee

    Prof. Civelek is the Diversity Facilitator of the BME department through the School of Medicine. He received the ATVB Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Recognition Award from the American Heart Association. EMAIL

    Kevin Janes, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Co-Chair and DEI Representative for the Executive Committee

    Prof. Janes is the BME Director of Diversity & Inclusion (DDI) through the School of Engineering and connects with the DDIs of other departments and the Engineering Dean’s Office. Email

    Silvia Salinas Blemker, DEI Representative for the Promotion & Tenure Committee

    Prof. Blemker is a passionate advocate for increasing diversity in STEM, having been involved since her undergraduate days of serving in leadership roles in Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers.  For example, she is currently co- organizing a national NIH workshop entitled: “Amplifying Impact by Nurturing Diversity." EMAIL

    Brian Helmke, DEI Representative for the Undergraduate Program Committee

    Prof. Helmke chairs the ASEE Biomedical Engineering Division Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group and has facilitated workshops through the ASEE Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the UVA Center for Teaching Excellence, and the UVA BME Department on topics such as Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and equitable teaching practices in large classes. EMAIL

    Eli Zunder, DEI Representative for the Graduate Program Committee

    Prof. Zunder is a member of the Diversity Committee of BMES, and acts as a liaison to the Student Disability Access Center (SDAC). Email

    Kristen Naegle, DEI Representative for the National Chapter of BMES

    Prof. Naegle is a member of the Diversity committee of BMES and has created and delivered workshops on Stereotype threat. Please reach out if you are interested in the national DEI BMES activities or in Stereotype Threat research and materials. Email

  • Postdoctoral Fellows

    Dan Abebayehu, Postdoctoral Representative

    Dan is a postdoc in the Barker Lab. Email

  • Graduate Students

    Yonathan Aberra, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Co-Chair for GBMES

    Yonathan is a PhD student in the Civelek lab. Email

    Bryana Harris, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Co-Chair for GBMES

    Bryana is a PhD in the Saucerman lab. Email

    Taylor Marohl, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Co-Chair for GBMES

    Taylor is a PhD student in the Janes lab. Email

    Kris Rawls, Alumni Representative

    Kris is a PhD 2019 graduate from the Papin lab.

  • Undergraduate Students

    Alvaro Crisanto, BME Undergraduate Representative

    Alvaro is a 2nd year undergraduate student involved with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

    Nicole White, BME Undergraduate Representative

    Nicole is a 4th year undergraduate student involved within the National Society of Black Engineers

    Nia Blibo, Alumni Representative

    Nia ia a 2019 B.S. graduate.

    Kayla Holston, Alumni Representative

    Kayla is a 2019 B.S. graduate.

Biomedical Engineering's Candid Conversations

An ongoing series of inclusive discussions about race, LGBTQ+ identity, disability and other identities, led by the graduate student chairs of the department's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Committee