Department of Biology Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

Mission statement

An EDI committee in the Department of Biology will support and promote equity, diversity, inclusion in all areas of departmental life. A focus of the committee would be to advise the Department about strong EDI practices based on sound evidence, ensuring that practices remain current and continue to evolve over time. The role of the EDI committee is to promote EDI education by increasing awareness and visibility of EDI resources, while complementing University of Waterloo policies and practices with an EDI perspective. The role of the EDI committee does not include the handling of private or confidential information.

The committee

The Department's EDI committee consists of:

Committee Chair / EDI Representative: Dr. Laura Hug

Laura Hug (she/her) is the EDI Committee Chair and EDI Representative. Her duties include 1) establishing methods of assessing EDI in the Department including but not limited to hiring, awards, culture, practices, systems, working within existing University Policies and in collaboration with the Equity Office; 2) promoting awareness of EDI best practices in Department processes and activities; 3) conducting regular pulse checks (e.g., once or twice a year), and 4) supporting all other committee representatives as needed. Dr. Hug is an assistant professor in the Department of Biology where her research group focuses on microbial community diversity and function in contaminated sites. She teaches BIOL346: Microbial Ecology and Diversity, and BIOL645: Recent Advances in Microbial Ecology. 

Internal/External Resources and Communications: TBA

TBA is the EDI Internal/External resource and communication representative.  Their duties will include maintaining the Biology EDI website; establishing and updating EDI-related resource webpage; connecting all members of the department with resources and supports relationship building; advertising/promoting events and training.  

Training and Events Coordinator: Dr. Okey Igboeli

Okey Igboeli is the EDI training and events coordinator. In this role, Dr. Igboeli helps facilitate activities that will help foster an EDI-positive environment for all primary stakeholders in the Biology Department. Dr. Igboeli is a Continuing Lecturer as well as the Director of the Science and Business Program. Prior to joining the Science and Business program, he founded and led the drug discovery company, True Spring Pharmaceuticals Inc.  Dr. Igboeli teaches several Biology and Science and Business courses and facilitates the integration of Science and Business students’ experience with entrepreneurial activities on campus and in the community. 

Graduate student representative: Karyn Robichaud

Karyn Robichaud (she/her) is the graduate student representative. As the graduate student representative, she brings the perspective of biology graduate students to the committee to foster inclusivity in the department that also benefits the unique experience of graduate students. She maintains connections to the Biology Graduate Student Association and helps create activities to increase EDI in the department. Karyn is a PhD student in the biology department, whose research focuses on understanding mechanisms that control mitochondrial activity in fish. 

Undergraduate student representative: Hayya Halime

Hayya Halime (she/her) is the undergraduate student representative. She is an Honours Biology Co-op student in her 4A term. Hayya was previously a part of BUGS for 3 years and took on many roles, including president, and have been helping the current exec teams if they need an extra hand. She is currently and have been a biology science ambassador for 3 years, and an orientation leader for 2 years. Hayya loves being able to foster a welcoming community for new students, as well as upper year students. As a POC and woman in STEM, she thinks it’s important to give individuals who aren't as well represented in our community an equal opportunity, and have everyone be on an equal playing field.



10 tips for creating accessible course content

A list of UWaterloo inclusive washrooms (all are gender neutral, the list identifies washrooms that are accessible, contain sharps receptacles, showers, change tables, and bidet sprayers).

Right To Be - a non-profit offering training in preventing and responding to harassment, conflict de-escalation, and resilience.


Pronoun guide


Responding to bigotry

LGBTQ2SIA+ terminology

UW Glow Center

UW "Thriving on Campus" report 

UW Equity Office course: EQ102: 2SLGBTQ+ Fundamentals

UW Equity Office course: EQ105: Unlearning the Binary: Fostering a Truly Trans Inclusive Campus

Institutional LGBTQ Inclusion webinar 

Podcast: "Transgender Representation, Advocacy, and the Power of Love" (Unlocking Us by Brene Brown).

Documentary: "The Fruit Machine"  

The Genderbread person

Avoiding Heterosexual Bias in Language 


UW Anti-Racism Resources 

UW Raise (student group)

UW BIPOC Student Collective

Racial Equity Tools Glossary

Podcast: "Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man" (Unlocking Us podcast with Brene Brown) 

Ontario Human Rights Commission e-course: Call it out: racism, racial discrimination and human rights 


UCSC free e-course - Feminism and Social Justice

Movie: "Picture a Scientist"

UN Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Gender bias calculator for recommendation letters