Diversity, Equity, and Community

An Ongoing Commitment

To be anti-racist, reject sexual prejudice, and support individuals with disabilities is an ongoing and ever-evolving commitment.  The UVA Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program values building and sustaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive community. A core component of this is to welcome and support talented individuals from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. We believe a diverse community supports innovation and collaboration, enriches the questions we ask, and strengthens the science that we produce.


Defining sci • en • tist

The BIMS Program is committed to identifying and spotlighting minority researchers who have changed the way we view science. This will be an ongoing series with brief biosketches on our social media feeds and more biographical details and a listing of additional resources here, starting in May 2021.

Ernest Everett Just, PhD (14 Aug 1883 – 27 Oct 1941)
photos: Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

E.E. Just E.E. Just

  • Ernest Just enrolled at South Carolina State College, also known as The Colored Normal, Industrial, Agricultural, and Mechanical College, where he completed the regular 4-year course in 3 years and graduated at age 15 with a Licentiate of Instruction.
  • Mr. Just graduated from Dartmouth College in 1907, Magna Cum Laude, with BAs in biology, history, literature, and classics. While matriculating, he earned the Rufus Choate Scholar, Dartmouth’s highest honor (particularly unusual for a junior), as well as the Grimes award for scholastic improvement during his 4 years.
  • In 1909, Frank R. Lillie, head of the Zoology Department at the University of Chicago, accepted Ernest Just as his assistant at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Dr. Lillie then accepted him as a doctoral trainee at the University of Chicago, where Mr. Just earned his PhD in 1916.
  • Dr. Just was a professor at Howard University where he was appointed chair of the Biology and English departments, and established Zoology department.
  • Dr. Just authored more than 70 scientific papers as well as two books, both published in 1939:
    The Biology of the Cell Surface
    Studies of fertilization in Platynereis megalops

To learn more about Dr. Ernest E. Just:

Ernest Everett Just Negatives Collection – Howard University
Black Apollo of Science: The Life of Ernest Everett Just. Manning, K. R. 1983. New York: Oxford University Press
E. E. Just and Creativity in Science. The Importance of Diversity. Byrnes WM. . J Afr Am Stud (New Brunsw). 2015;19(3):264-278.
Just and Unjust: E. E. Just (1883–1941). James F. Crow. GENETICS August 1, 2008 vol. 179 no. 4 1735-1740.
Ernest E. Just,The National Academies of Sciences • Engineering • Medicine African American History Program
The Forgotten Father of Epigenetics. W. Malcolm Byrnes
The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just (children’s book) by Mélina Mangal


Resources at UVA

University Support and Education

UVA Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
UVA Office of African-American Affairs
UVA Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Center
Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center at UVA

As educators and leaders in higher education, we appreciate the power—and responsibility—we have to dismantle the systems that continue to permit bias-motivated ideologies and actions. Hate and violence are in direct opposition to the values our University and broader community aspire to uphold and who we want to be. We must continue to do the hard work that will help ensure that our future is different, more just, more accepting, and more inclusive. The future we envision is one in which the devaluing of life is no longer accepted, and where bigotry no longer contaminates our systems and institutions, burdening some community members much more than others.
-The Collective (A group of faculty, staff, and community members)
Posted with the Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at UVA
September 2020


Resources - Suggested Readings


Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in AmericaIbram X. Kendi [UVA Library]
A People’s History of the United StatesHoward Zinn [UVA Library]
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About RacismRobin Diangelo
[UVA Library]
An African American and Latinx History of the United StatesPaul Ortiz [UVA Library]
So You Want to Talk About RaceIjeoma Oluo [UVA Library]
The Hidden Rules of Race: Barriers to an Inclusive EconomyAndrea Flynn, Susuan R. Holmberg, Dorian T. Warren, & Felicia J. Wong [UVA Library]
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About RaceBeverly Daniel Tatum [UVA Library]
How to Be an AntiracistIbram X. Kendi [UVA Library]
Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce RacismSafiya Umoja Noble [UVA Library]



Racism is a threat to public health –  American Medical Association position statement (11/16/2020)
How LGBT+ scientists would like to be included and welcomed in STEM workplaces
Nature 586, 813-816 (2020)
On Being Black in the Ivory TowerCELL 183-3, 559-560 (October 29, 2020)
Diversity in STEM: What It Is and Why It MattersScientific American
Surfacing anti-Black science and building antiracist teamsNature Biotechnology 38, 923–925(2020)



National Academies of Sciences • Engineering • Medicine: African American History Program
A history of Black scientistsAmerican Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
SACNAS Biography ProjectSACNAS
100 inspiring Black scientists in AmericaCell MENTOR from Cell Press & Cell Signaling Technology
500 Queer Scientists“A visibility campaign for LGBTQ+ people and their allies working in STEM and STEM-supporting jobs — a group that collectively represents a powerful force of scientific progress and discovery.”


On Social Media

Entities and Threads on Twitter