Welcome to ESTEME, or Equity in STEM and Entrepreneurship, a graduate student-initiated program under the UC Davis Biotechnology Program. ESTEME is an outreach and leadership training program that teaches valuable skills to emerging graduate student leaders. Our vision is to help facilitate an increase in underrepresented professionals in STEM leadership positions.

NEWS: Save the Date for the ESTEME (Equity in STEM and Entrepreeneurship) Biotechnology Colloquium:
Diversity and Innovation in STEM
on Friday, May 19th, 2017 at the UC Davis Putah Creek Lodge. We will be having a morning of presentations from leaders in drive STEM fields followed by lunch, an afternoon panel discussion, and a networking happy hour.
Our esteemed speakers include:
Lino Gonzalez, Senior Scientist, 23andMe, President, SACNAS
Ruth Tesar, CEO Northen California PET
Donna Dambach, Senior Director, Head of Toxicology, Safety Assessment

Panelists include:
Virginia Solis, MA; Innovation, Diversity & Inclusion, Genentech
Cynthia Murphy, Portfolio Manager, University Partnerships and Association Relations, Chevron
Steven Lee, PhD, UCD Graduate Diversity Officer for the STEM Disciplines
Donna Dambach, Senior Director, Head of Toxicology, Safety Assessment
Come join us for interesting presentations and insight into diversity in a professional setting! This event is free, and we hope to see you there! More information and registration here: ESTEME Colloquium Registration

What is ESTEME?

Big problem!
Many strides have been made in the past decade to increase diversity in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine state: “Without high-quality, knowledge-intensive jobs [in STEM] and the innovative enterprises that lead to discovery and new technology, our economy will suffer and our people will face a lower standard of living” (National Academy Press, 2013). With government, industry, and academic pioneers emphasizing the priority of increasing the STEM workforce, a main concern of this expansion is to reduce inequalities in STEM employment. In fact, a recent PNAS perspective written by leaders at the National Institute of Health emphasizes the value of diversity in the scientific workforce that is “vital to harnessing the complete intellectual capital of the nation." However, disparities in STEM education and employment remain stagnant. The lack of diversity in STEM and leadership includes underrepresentation from several racial/ethnic groups; economically disadvantaged individuals; people with disabilities; and women.

We know that diversity is a necessary component to innovation, improvement, and progress. With ESTEME, we hope to create a program that begins to combat the aforementioned issues here at UC Davis and in the surrounding communities through the involvement of a diverse population of STEM graduate and undergraduate students. UC Davis has become a national leader in STEM diversity. In 2013, UC Davis was ranked first of fifty schools by College Database, with 2,503 women in 169 STEM programs, and first in the number of Hispanics receiving a bachelor’s degree in engineering with 16%." In fact, we are also on track to become a Hispanic Serving Institution by 2018 (student body 25% hispanic), which is crucial for serving the California population.

Mission Statement
The goals of ESTEME are to • Inspire students to pursue careers in STEM, especially those who have felt they are held back due to their gender, socioeconomic, or other underrepresented background • Raise awareness of gender/diversity disparities in leadership roles in a professional setting to encourage others to rectify it • Provide members with opportunities to improve leadership skills, such as communication and collaboration. We hope that this program can start at chain reaction at a K-12, graduate, and professional level to encourage underrepresented individuals to pursue leadership positions in their future endeavors.


What has been done?

Established in 2013
ESTEME (known then as Women in Leadership or WIL, initiated by two graduate students, Nicole Chafee and Jeni Lee) showcased the films, Girl Rising, Half the Sky, and Makers: Women Who Make America, which detailed the evolution of female equity in the U.S. and abroad, and shed light on the paramount issues facing women today while also engaging audiences in meaningful discussions surrounding these issues. The series culminated in a successful panel session of extraordinary female leaders from academia, industry, and government, including Linda Katehi, Chancellor, UC Davis; Maureen Stanton, (Vice Provost Academic Affairs, UC Davis); Meg Arnold, former CEO, Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance (SARTA); Constance McKee, CEO, Manzanita Pharmaceuticals; Lois Wolk, Senator, California State Senate; and Michele Wong, CEO, Synergex and CleanWorld, who discussed the challenges and rewards of being a successful female leader.

2014, the Year of Action
ESTEME successfully created a training system to produce a self-sustaining series that also practices leadership training. This training pipeline, provided by the previous year’s leaders, ESTEME's faculty advisor Dr. Judy Kjelstrom, and Biotechnology program officials, aims to develop skills and expertise to prepare the up-and-coming leaders for success, ensuring the success of the series for future student generations. ESTEME, in order to address inequities that exist in STEM and STEM leadership, completed another film series debuting the film Makers: Women in Business and Makers: Women in Politics, in partnership with PBS KVIE’s Senior Director, Station Relations at WETA, and KVIE’s Marketing Director. In subsequent quarters, ESTEME organized and executed a workshop series, which included: Policy Seminar: Contributing to our Communities with Mary Sandberg and Hilleary Izard of the Steward for Service Employees International Union; Workshop: You just thought of the Next Big Thing – Now what? with Lucas Arzola, Director of the Engineering Student Startup Center; and the Annual Discussion Panel: How can we increase equity in STEM for future generations? with Dr. Daisy De Leon of Loma Linda University and Director of the EXPORT program at the Center for Health Disparities, Claudia Galvan of the Anita Borg Institute and Silicon Valley SWE, Dr. Denneal Jamison-McClung of the UC Davis Biotechnology Program and ADVANCE, Dr. Barbara Horwitz of UC Davis and the NIH-IMSD Program, and Dr. Tina Jeoh of UC Davis and Girls in STEM funded by NSF.

2015 Outreach and Beyond
While we feel there have been many successes, we hope to continue to improve the ESTEME program by providing more graduate students with the opportunity to organize events and to complete hands-on outreach. For the upcoming year, we aim to involve graduate students with outreach in the classroom and larger discussions at an annual biotechnology colloquium. We hope to continue to spread awareness on inequities in STEM by holding meetings with our ESTEME graduate student volunteers, as well as plan to uphold our notable annual panel. We plan to expand our training and our audience for this upcoming academic year, which we believe to be crucial for creating a sustainable UC Davis graduate student group and to foster creative training for graduate students seeking to pursue competitive and entrepreneurial careers in STEM.


How do I get involved?

Any graduate student, post-doctoral fellow, or undergraduate student can become an ESTEME affiliate! Whether you are interested in completing outreach, becoming an organizer/facilitator for an event, or have ideas about events you would like to see in the Davis community -- We'd love for you to get involved. Please, contact us to find out more information on our meetings and upcoming events!

Co-leaders for ESTEME are typically active members from the prior year. If you are interested in becoming one of the main coordinators for ESTEME, we recommend you speak with us!

ESTEME has been supported and sponsored by a number of groups each year, including the UC Davis Biotechnology Program, UC Davis Graduate Studies, the Chancellor’s Office, UC Davis ADVANCE (Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers) Program, the Women’s Resource and Research Center, the Association for Women and Science, the UC Davis Department of Chemistry, the Biomedical Engineering  Graduate Group, the Biochemistry, Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology graduate group, and the Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology Graduate Group. Under mentorship from Dr. Judy Kjelstrom (the ESTEME Faculty Advisor) and the UC Davis Biotechnology Program team, we hope to continue to strengthen these relationships with our supporters and sponsors as we continue to grow in membership and diversify our program. By working with ESTEME, you will also get the chance to collaborate and work closely with such diverse groups at UC Davis.

Contact Us!

Feel free to email us with questions or to get added to our email list!

Current ESTEME Co-leads
Anna Marie D. Tuazon, Ph.D. Candidate, Biochemistry, Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology with a Designated Emphasis in Translational Research and Biotechnology (2014-present)
Douglas L. Gettel, Ph.D. Candidate, Chemical Engineering with a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology (2015-present)
Elyse N. Towns, Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry with a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology (2015-present)
Samantha Feng, Ph.D. Candidate, Pharmacology and Toxicology with a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology (2015-present)

Former Co-leads
Jeni Lee, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering with a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology (2013-2015, Co-founder of WIL)
Nicole Nuñez (Chaffee), Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry with a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology (2013-2015, Co-founder of WIL)
Ailsa Dalgliesh, PhD Student, Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology with a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology (2014-2015)