Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer (DEIO)

Stephen D.  Alkins, Jr.

Program/Areas of Interest

  • Science Policy
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEAM Careers and Education (K-16)
  • Social Justice of Education
  • Cultural Competence/Humility in Professional Development
  • STEAM Education Policy
  • Adult Numeracy
  • Neurodiversity, Gender Identity and Intersectionality in STEAM Education
  • Men of Color in STEAM

Biography

Stephen D. Alkins, Jr., Ph.D. is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer (DEIO) and Co-chair of the Diversity Council at TERC with Carol Lumm, Director of HR. With his leadership Stephen helps craft and implement the vision for diversity, equity, and inclusion at TERC. His role and responsibilities include recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce, development of training and social programming to foster an open and inclusive work environment, and establishment of collaborative partnerships to support underrepresented communities in STEAM fields. He also comanages the TERC Scholars Program with Mia Ong and Marlene Mitchell to nurture the next generation of STEAM education research.

Stephen collaborates with President, Laurie Brennan, Senior Strategic Project Lead, Anne Turner, and Director of Communications, Jaclyn Parks to incorporate goals and metrics for diversity, equity, and inclusion into long-term strategies for fundraising, development, and marketing. Finally, he hopes to also initiate his own line of research focusing on men of color and STEAM identity.

His knowledge of theory and organization of mentoring and DEI initiatives stem from Stephen’s involvement and activism. After transitioning from MIT to Brandeis he mentored fellow students and spearheaded recruitment initiatives to diversify the graduate student body within STEM fields. He organized training activities and forums on sexual harassment and privilege in academia, and he recruited speakers to Brandeis to discuss other issues of DEI such as gender identity, science policy, and career development. As a representative to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee with Chair Anita Hill, he successfully worked to hire Brandeis’ first Chief Diversity Officer. Further, Stephen has served as a POSSE mentor for the Brandeis undergraduate science cohort, Graduate Student Association president for 3 years, and the graduate student representative to the Board of Trustees. Finally, he was an integral contributor to many institution-wide committees: President Task Force on Free Speech, Task Force on Campus Sustainability, Strategic Planning Committee, and Ethics Advisory Committee, and Housing & Transportation Committee.

Beyond his career as a cellular neuroscientist studying mechanisms of developmental plasticity, he has committed his time in a plethora of diverse classroom settings. He teaches developmental math and works as a learning specialist and STEM Coordinator in the academic achievement center for Math & Science at Mass Bay Community College where he aided the establishment of the Achievement In Math (AIM) program to help incoming students place into college-level math. He also still works as an online teacher and instructor for Revolution Prep to prepare classes of students for SAT/ACT, AP, and GRE exams, including teaching in-person classes at a number of New England schools.

As a spoken word and SLAM poet he has performed nationally and led lectures and workshops with students from elementary schools through college on how to utilize poetry and other art forms to understand Science and Mathematics, and issues of Medicine. Most recently he conducted a workshop at the 2018 Young Men’s Leadership Conference in which he used Hip-Hop to deconstruct the stigma of mental health in young men of color. Finally, he speaks at a number of K-12 schools about his research, encouraging students to pursue careers in STEAM fields.

Education

  • Brandeis University – Ph.D. Cellular Neuroscience and Quantitative Biology (2018)
  • Brandeis University – M.S. Neuroscience (2012)
  • Morehouse College – B.S. Biology (2006)
  • Roxbury Latin School – H.S. Diploma (2002)

Associations

  • Society for Neuroscience (SfN)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

Honors & Awards

  • Eta Phi Chapter S.T.E.A.M. Award for Higher Education (2018)
  • Neuroscience Scholars Program (Fellow) – Society for Neuroscience (2016 – 2018)
  • MIT IMPACT (Fellow) (2016 -2017)
  • Diversity Supplement – National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) (2015 – 2017)
  • Greater Boston Morehouse Alumni Association (GBMCAA) Scholarship (2003 – 2006)

Highlighted Publications

Kuklin E, Alkins S, Bakthavachalu B, Genco M, Sudhakaran I, Raghavan KV, Ramaswami M, Griffith LC (2017). The Long 3’UTR mRNA of CaMKII is Essential for Translation-Dependent Plasticity of Spontaneous Release in Drosophila melanogaster. The Journal of Neuroscience 37 (44) pp. 10554-10566.