Note from the Executive Director in IMET newsletter
We have faced many challenges since we last wrote to you in March. However, I am proud of the IMET community for approaching these challenges with open minds and open hearts.
In the middle of March, we closed our building to all but the essential functions. We have a dedicated team, including several students, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that fish in the Aquaculture Research Center have stayed healthy and that the building remains in good order, ready for scientists to restart their work when it is safe to do so. We thank these people for their hard work and dedication.
Those of us who could stay home have done so, working on grant proposals, publications, outreach, and making plans for our safe return to IMET. The first phase of those plans began on June 15, with a small number of researchers starting work in their lab with many additional safety measures in place. Throughout this time, we have made accommodations for employees with children at home and have provided virtual spaces, such as a weekly seminar series, for the IMET community to connect with one another even while we remain apart.
During this time apart, we have also strengthened our commitment to actively countering structural racism. We were horrified and angered by the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and by other acts of brutality against black men and women. The University System of Maryland and all our partner institutions have issued statements condemning such acts and outlining actions to make improvements within our own institutions. For many years, we have made it a priority to educate a more diverse science community, both through our graduate program and outreach to our community. Still, we can always do better. We have asked our IMET community for candid feedback and suggestions, and will support UMBC, UMB, UMCES, and the USM, in actions they take.
Throughout these uncertain times, we have also seen major accomplishments: the success of our Virtual Open House, the beginnings of our remote summer internships for students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the sciences, and the virtual graduation ceremonies of our now-alumni Dr. Ammar Hanif, Dr. Ryan McDonald, and Kia Ramarui. There will surely be more challenging days ahead, but I am confident in the strength and resilience of our IMET community.
Russell Hill, Ph.D.