"Trying to tackle any innovation or societal issue without understanding the impact of historical and structural racism is like trying to fathom the universe without knowing about carbon."

A section of the periodic table of the elements showing a red circle with a line drawn through it where the element carbon should be

  • Why are certain neighborhoods 5 to 20 degrees hotter than other neighborhoods in the same city?

  • What are the considerations for public health officials when trying to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19?

  • Why is traffic so bad in Atlanta?

  • Why does life expectancy vary by 20 to 30 years within the same city based on the neighborhood in which a person lives?

The answers to the above questions are rooted in an understanding of race and racism.

If you're a faculty member, postdoc, researcher, or staff in the School of Engineering and want to know why, this program is for you. Participants will:

  • Create better solutions by learning to assess and account for the ways structural racism impacts any field when creating an innovation or attempting to address a societal problem
  • Gain a framework for revealing basic design flaws in their innovations
  • Understand how racism hurts everyone, not just people of color
  • Develop solutions that reduce rather than exacerbate racial inequity
  • Expand their understanding of racism to be a structural issue beyond individual acts or biases


A cohort-based program focused on the intersection of race and racism with engineering, technology, and innovation that runs from January 2024 to May 2024. It consists of three elements:


Goal: Build common language and understanding of structural racism to work for change

January 2024

  • 1.5 Day Immersive Experience Workshop by the Groundwater Institute conducted over Zoom
    • January 23, 2024 from 12 noon to 5 pm and January 24, 2024 from 9 am to 5 pm
    • Designed to develop the capacity of leaders to better understand racism and inequity in its institutional and structural forms.
    • Note: The learnings from the 1.5 Day Immersive workshop are foundational to the program. If a participant is unable to attend when scheduled, they may alternatively pay to attend both of the following workshops when offered to the public in the January to mid-February 2024 time frame.
      • Groundwater (3 hours) - uses data to show racism is structural in nature
      • Phase 1 (2 days) - shows how institutions, systems, and culture produce unjust and inequitable outcomes; helps participants recognize historical and root causes of disparities
  • Field trip to the African American Museum in Philadelphia, which will include a design workshop facilitated by Keller Center lecturer Alice Kogan on using design frameworks to combat issues related to structural racism, a guided museum tour and lunch
    • January 25, 2024 from 9 AM to 5 PM


Goal: Build a supportive peer group to continuously interact around these issues

January 2024 to May 2024

Support Towards Action

Goal: Participants identify and begin to implement structural solutions in their workplaces and classrooms; share best practices

January 2024 to May 2024

  • Intake and project scoping meeting with an expert coach
  • Followup progress meeting with expert coach
  • Private, 1-on-1 office hours with expert coach (as needed)
  • Participants will work individually or in small groups to develop structural solutions

Who can participate?

Faculty, postdocs, and staff in Princeton's School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). Participants must commit to fulfilling the requirements of the five-month long program with the goal of identifying and beginning to implement at least one structural solution in their workplace or classroom. Each cohort will consist of up to 25 participants.

Unreserved spots may be offered to campus partners, if available.


Free for eligible participants.

How to register

Complete this form to reserve your place in the program.


Email us.


Cornelia Huellstrunk
Executive Director
Mark Simeon
Program Coordinator