Zoom Safety Tips

As we continue to work remotely and rely heavily on Zoom and other videoconferencing apps for meetings, it’s important to always consider safety in our meetings. Below we’ve highlighted an email with Zoom Safety tips shared by the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) and a story from Inside Higher Ed about a Black PhD candidate’s defense that was Zoom bombed and attendees were subjected to racist slurs. Special thanks for Faith Morrison for sharing these resources with the ADVANCE Team.

Dear NOBCChE Member,

We hope that you have had a strong start to 2021 and have a productive year planned. With the world moving further and further into a virtual environment, NOBCChE Leadership wants you to be safe and to be able to host events without concern for virtual safety.

Recently, a NOBCChE chapter was “Zoom Bombed” with slurs and derogatory speech.  We are working with the proper authorities to identify the culprits.  In the meantime, we are sharing some tips with our NOCChE members to reduce the risk of this happening again and assist in keeping your zoom sessions safe.

1)     Don’t share Zoom information freely on social media. When making flyers for social media advertisement, it’s best to include a contact email for the chapter and then, add the persons interested to a mailing list, so Zoom information is circulated through a more controlled channel.

2)     Set a waiting room. With a waiting room enabled, hosts can control who enters and who has access to controls within the meeting. This way, only those who are associated with the event can be admitted by the meeting host.

3)     Don’t use personal meeting IDs for public events. A personal ID is the default for when you launch zoom and start your meeting. With access to this, someone could potentially join your Zoom sessions, scheduled or not.

4)     Require a passcode. When creating your zoom meeting, setting a passcode is a great first line of defense for the meeting room itself. When creating advertisements, do not put the passcode in the flyer or advertisement until closer to the time of the event to limit sharing of the passcode.

5)     Only allow registered users (optional). When only registered users are allowed to join the event, users must have an account through Zoom and in some cases through an email from the license holding institution to join the meeting. This can be used to restrict entering attendees. (ex: nobcche.org emails would be the only groups admitted to a registered zoom meeting launched through a nobcche.org licensed zoom account.)

We hope that these tips help keep our members safe in this increasingly virtual world in which we reside. Please contact your university or institution’s IT department to get more assistance with Zoom or other supported virtual meeting platform security and safety procedures.

Stay Strong,
NOBCChE Executive Board (Student Rep, Regional chairs, & Officers)


January 28, 2021 ADVANCE Weekly Roundup

Intersectionality, a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, is a way of understanding social relations by examining intersecting forms of discrimination. Effectively, this means that multiple forms of discrimination such as racism, sexism, and ageism may be present at the same time in a person’s life. Often, efforts to address discrimination focus on one form of  discrimination and overlook the compounding and transformational effect of concurrent forms of oppression. Today’s edition of the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup features a YouTube video entitled “What Is Intersectionality?” that offers a concise overview of the concept. 

If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. These articles are available on the ADVANCE Newsblog (https://blogs.mtu.edu/advance/). To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.


Karen Colbert Named 2021 Diversity Scholar for RStudio Virtual Conference

Ms. Karen Colbert , a PhD student in Computational Sciences and Engineering and a graduate research assistant for ADVANCE at Michigan Tech has been selected as a Diversity Scholar for the 2021 RStudio Virtual Conference. 

Ms. Colbert is one of 70 Diversity Scholars selected from around the globe, all of them focused on building skills for teaching and sharing. Ms. Colbert notes that her role as a Diversity Scholar will focus on ways she can use RStudio to help “bridge equity for Native faculty and faculty who serve Tribal communities.” 

A plethora of teaching and user workshops and resources are available through the RStudio network.  Following completion of the Virtual Conference, Ms. Colbert will participate in two online workshops and become part of an enhanced network of scholars and resources, available both before and after the conference.

Ms. Colbert says that a large barrier facing tribal colleges is accessibility and sustainability with regard to costly technology, such as licenses, equipment, and support. Since RStudio is open source and has vast capabilities to perform tasks ranging from web design to reporting to statistical analyses and assessments, Ms. Colbert hopes that learning how to “teach” R will enable her to host workshops for faculty.  She says it may also help her design an interactive course to help those who may be intimidated by programming, and ultimately create a platform to introduce tribal colleges to the data visualization, supercomputing, and cloud computing communities.

 In addition to the equity gaps facing Native faculty, Ms. Colbert  also acknowledged that there are many equity gaps for faculty at all ranks and across institutions, including MIchigan Tech. 

This is where Ms. Colbert’s  connection to ADVANCE at Michigan Tech–and its mission to enhance equity in STEM faculty–comes into play. She hopes that her research, her experiences as a Diversity Scholar, and her position as a graduate research assistant with ADVANCE, will allow her to pursue opportunities to bring resources to all faculty members. 

Further, she will endeavor  to assist faculty in demonstrating “their best work to the world in the most professional way, whether it’s for teaching undergraduates or within our own research.” 

Ms. Colbert believes this goal starts with making tools and resources accessible to everyone. Her ultimate aim is to develop unique R packages as a part of the solution.

Ms. Colbert holds a bachelor of science in electrical engineering and a master of science in Data Science, both from Michigan Tech. She also serves as lead math faculty at Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, Baraga. Mich., in addition to pursuing her PhD and conducting research. 

ADVANCE is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at advance-mtu@mtu.edu and visit our website at mtu.edu/advance.

Karen Colbert. 2021 Diversity Scholar, RStudio Global Conference

ADVANCE at Michigan Tech Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The ADVANCE PI Team is committed to education and dialogue as critical activities in making equity and inclusion integral to faculty, student , and community life at Michigan Tech. The need for such work is self-evident; the value of such goals for all in our campus community is undeniable. We support the statements from the ADVANCE Advocates Team and the Advocates and Allies Advisory Board and we join them in affirming the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, practices, and policies that engage and educate all members of our community. 


January 22, 2021 ADVANCE Weekly Roundup

The year 2020 was a challenge; a pandemic and continued systemic oppression of underrepresented minorities laid bare many of the inequities we’ve known existed. As a society, great strides have been made, yet there are stark realities that demand our continued efforts. This week’s edition of the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup features an article from USA Today that highlights the successes and challenges facing women in 2020 and how we can ensure that 2021 continues and builds upon this progress. Now, it’s essential that we engage with women and underrepresented minorities by listening, assessing and recognizing mental and physical loads, and creating equitable policies and practices for our workplaces. Uniting together, we can continue to address the systemic issues made more apparent by COVID-19 and the challenges of the past year to ensure that our 2020 hindsight is honest about what has worked and what remains to be done.

If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. These articles are available on the ADVANCE Newsblog (https://blogs.mtu.edu/advance/). To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.


January 15, 2021 ADVANCE Weekly Roundup

Did you know that only one federal holiday has been designated as a national day of service? That holiday, Martin Luther King Jr Day, is coming up on Monday (Jan. 18) and in observance of Dr. King’s legacy, we’ve dedicated this week’s edition of the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup to highlighting resources for community service, racial justice, and equality. Please join ADVANCE at Michigan Tech and our partners in educating your colleagues while redoubling efforts to build a diverse, equitable, and intentionally inclusive campus community.

National Day of Service

Resources For an Equitable and Inclusive Community

If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. These articles are available on the ADVANCE Newsblog (https://blogs.mtu.edu/advance/). To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.


Tech Team Wins NASA’s BIG Idea Challenge

The post below has been reposted from the Jan. 13, 2021 edition of Tech Today.
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A team from Michigan Tech has captured the top prize in the finals of NASA’s BIG Idea Challenge. BIG stands for Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing.

The Michigan Tech team was one of eight finalists in the competition. Teams were challenged to present their innovative concepts addressing near-term technology capability requirements to support NASA’s exploration objectives for permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) in and near the moon’s polar regions. This intense competition will be judged by a panel of NASA and industry experts.

The MTU team’s winning project is Tethered permanently shadowed Region EXplorer (T-REX). Paul van Susante (ME-EM) is the faculty advisor/Principal Investigator on the project and graduate student Marcello Guadagno, is the student lead.


Prompt Names Barr Associate Editor for STEM

The story below originated in Tech Today on Jan. 12, 2020

Nancy Barr (ME-EM), has been appointed associate editor for STEM for Prompt: A Journal of Academic Writing Assignments. Prompt is a biannual refereed online journal that publishes academic writing assignments accompanied by reflective essays.

It publishes assignments directed at both undergraduate and graduate students from all academic disciplines. Prompt is an open-access journal, with all articles freely available to all readers. For information about submission, contact Barr or click on this link.


January 8, 2021 ADVANCE Weekly Roundup

Much as our lived experiences are influenced by the intersections of our identities, so too are our perceptions of diversity and inclusion. Recent research from the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) at Harvard University indicates that white faculty members often have a vastly different perception of diversity and inclusion than their non-white counterparts. Today’s edition of the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup highlights a recent analysis from COACHE on this difference as well as the idea of faculty “fit” and how we can improve our narratives to progress toward equity on our campus.

If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. These articles are available on the ADVANCE Newsblog (https://blogs.mtu.edu/advance/). To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.


December 18, 2020 ADVANCE Weekly Roundup

The ADVANCE Team values the opportunity to share these articles with you over the course of the year. In case you wanted to revisit any of our articles or you missed a week, we have archived all of our ADVANCE Weekly Roundup articles on our Newsblog. We wish each of you a restorative break and look forward to bringing you new content in 2021.

If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiatives dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. These articles are available on the ADVANCE Newsblog (https://blogs.mtu.edu/advance). To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at advance-mtu@mtu.edu or visit us on the web at www.mtu.edu/advance.