The purpose of MOSAIC is to render potential mentors of color more visible to up-and-coming academics of color, including postdocs and graduate students. Unfortunately, these connections don’t happen organically in a predominantly white institution. Students of color report feelings of isolation and in an overwhelmingly white space like UW Madison. Our goal is to reduce the virtual space between graduate-level BIPOC on this campus and foster a closer community through these connections and guidance from enthusiastic mentors with shared experiences.
MOSAIC seeks to aggregate BIPOC faculty, staff, post-docs, and alumni to serve as mentors for BIPOC graduate students at UW Madison.
Motivations for MOSAIC
In the wake of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, Korede Olugbenle (Agroecology M.S., Ph.D. student in Agronomy) noted the absence of Black faculty, staff, or post-docs in Moore Hall to lean on for support. He voiced the need for this kind of connection to a gathering of plant scientists in the summer of 2020, and together with fellow graduate students Jenyne Loarca (now a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding & Plant Genetics) and Becca Honeyball (Ph.D. student in Horticulture), and through many helpful conversations with other allies in the university, the mission took shape, the network was slowly grown, and the community core values of honesty and respect clearly emerged. Our role is to be facilitators and administrators, supporting mentors and mentees on their path. Whether through one-on-one mentorship, and social lunch-and-discuss hours, we hope that this community will be a place of comfort, support, and connection for everyone in it. Please join us.
Short term (6 mos-1year):
In the short term, we are working with graduate students and post-docs to determine exactly what they are looking for in a mentorship relationship and recruiting BIPOC faculty, staff, post-docs and alumni to form a network of mentors for BIPOC students. We are creating contracts for these relationships and establishing mentor training protocols to ensure the safety and sanctity of everyone involved.
Intermediate (2 years):
In the next two years, we aim to institutionalize MOSAIC through UW, so that its continued success is not dependent on the fleeting presence of student leadership.
Long term (10 years):
Our long term goals are to foster a sense of community among BIPOC at UW Madison (a predominantly white institution), including students, staff, post docs and faculty. We aim to improve quality of life through creating a safe and welcoming environment.