About Us

Equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Entrepreneurship (ESTEME) is a graduate student organization dedicated to improving equity and inclusion in STEM fields, entrepreneurship, and leadership. 

Our Mission:

  1. Inspire individuals from underrepresented groups to pursue careers in STEM and entrepreneurship through outreach and community service
  2. Empower students to overcome and eliminate inequity based on gender, ethnicity/race, sexual orientation, and/or socioeconomic background
  3. Promote allyship and community responsibility for diversity/equity initiatives
  4. Raise awareness and generate critical conversation to reduce disparities in leadership roles
  5. Create opportunities to develop emotional intelligence and improve leadership skills such as communication, collaboration, and compassion

Programming in ESTEME typically focuses on providing members with opportunities for outreach, professional development, and engagement with local leaders. We also organize an annual diversity colloquium, during which a panel of professionals (typically from underrepresented minority groups) from industry and academia are invited to share their experiences and speak to students about equity and diversity-related topics.

ESTEME's History:

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. In 2015 and 2016, we involved graduate students with outreach in the classroom and larger discussions at our annual biotechnology colloquiums. We continued to spread awareness on inequities in STEM by holding meetings with our ESTEME graduate student volunteers, as well as held our notable annual panel. We expanded our training and member modules, which we believed crucial for creating a sustainable UC Davis graduate student group. Additionally, we fostered creative training for graduate students through member development workshops, including Steve Lee's Diversity 2.0, seeking to pursue competitive and entrepreneurial careers in STEM.

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