Dr. Aradhna Tripati, an Assistant Professor at UCLA, is a leader in the fields of paleoclimatology and stable isotope geochemistry, and runs one of the few labs capable of measuring clumped isotopes. She has published in Nature, Science, and PNAS as well as a host of other prestigious journals, promoting the careers of her students and collaborators. Aside from her important scholarly contributions, Aradhna is equally dedicated to supporting diversity in STEM fields.
Aradhna is a woman of color who has been a highly effective advocate for diversity in the geosciences. While Aradhna’s main focus has been recruiting women in the geosciences, her current and past research group includes people from under-represented backgrounds, including LGBT students, ethnic minorities, single parents, low-income students, and mature students and researchers. Along these lines, she is a mentor for the NSF-supported program Minorities Striving to Pursue Higher Degrees of Success in Earth System Science (MSPHDS) and was recently highlighted in AGUniverse promoting a Professional Skills Development Workshop for Women and Minorities.
Aradhna’s service to the geosciences has strong roots in her home institution, UCLA, where she has established numerous programs to recruit, retain, and reach out to diverse students from K-12 to graduate level. To highlight only a few, Aradhna was instrumental in recruiting students from community colleges and CSU campuses, and has worked with the Society for the Advancement of Chicano and Native American Students (SACNAS). Within her own courses, Aradhna strives to generate a lasting impression by engaging students in novel ways, such as through the annual General Education Oceanography Student Film Festival as part of the “Blue Planet” course she teaches. In this event, the winning videos are circulated to K-12 science educators for use in their STEM curriculum.
Aradhna’s efforts to support diversity in the geosciences extends beyond the ivory tower. She regularly participates in high school outreach, including geoscience demonstrations at Central High School (United American Indian Involvement, Inc.) in downtown Los Angeles and at Markham Middle School in Watts. Additionally, Aradhna hosts high school and undergraduate research interns, and worked with a woman of color undergraduate student to develop an “Education and Empowerment through the Earth Sciences” program at UCLA. These are just a few examples of Aradhna’s dedication to promoting geoscience education among young women and students from diverse backgrounds.
Aradhna is also an exceptional mentor to women who are just beginning their careers in the geosciences. She encourages women to pursue graduate degrees in the geosciences and regularly reviews grant, fellowship, and job applications for her friends and colleagues. Her mentorship has directly contributed to successful postdoctoral fellowship appointments for women at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and has resulted in women and minorities securing prestigious NSF fellowships, both at the graduate student and postdoctoral levels. Additionally, many of Aradhna’s colleagues seek her out for advice on faculty job applications and career development decisions. While these types of mentoring roles are less institutionally recognized and tend not to make it as line items on our CVs, they are vital to successful retention of women in the geosciences and represent the type of support network ESWN embodies.