UNH Ocean Seminar

Creating Change Within Our Community Through the Unlearning Racism in GEosciences (URGE) Curriculum

Elizabeth Weidner and Alexandra Padilla
Ph.D. Candidates


Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, 3:10pm
Chase 105

Unlearning Racism in GEosciences (URGE, https://urgeoscience.org/) is a curriculum focused on providing tools and resources to help geoscientists discuss racism and develop strategies for improving the participation and retention of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) people in the geosciences. The curriculums’ major goal is the development of policies and resources that improve accessibility, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (AJEDI) in the geoscience workplace and broader scientific community.

In response to the URGE call, five pods were formed at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), engaging approximately 70 community members (students, staff and faculty); this included the Ocean Mapping and Engineering (OME) pod. The OME pod is made up of individuals from the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center, the Center for Ocean Engineering, and the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering. Through the URGE curriculum, the pods worked to develop AJEDI initiatives for application from the departmental-level to university-wide, including a prototype interactive ArcGIS resource map for campus and BIPOC resources, developing laboratory and field safety plans for both faculty and students, and creating departmental policies that will be beneficial and provide support to the BIPOC community within UNH. These represent the continuing steps of the UNH community toward addressing the inclusivity and support of BIPOC individuals at UNH.


Elizabeth Weidner is a Ph.D. Candidate in a joint program between the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and Stockholm University. Her research is focused on the broadband acoustic discrimination and characterization of ocean watercolumn structures. In May of 2018, she received her Master's in Earth Science: Ocean Mapping from UNH. Before coming to UNH she graduated from the University of Washington in 2012 with a B.S. in Oceanography and worked as a geophysicist for C&C Technologies. She has been an active member of DEI efforts at UNH, sitting on the DEI committees of both the Department of Earth Sciences and the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering. She was a collaborator on an EOS-DEI project, which was awarded internal funding from the UNH, to implement DEI initiatives and host a DEI workshop in 2022. She also serves on the Acoustical Society of America’s Committee to Increase Racial Diversity and Inclusivity (CIRDI), which recently launched the Summer Undergraduate Research or Internship Experience in Acoustics (SURIEA).

Alexandra Padilla is an Ocean Engineering PhD Candidate at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Her research is focused on understanding how physical properties of gas bubbles (e.g., shape, size, surface coating, etc.) affect the scattering of sound and the dissolution process of gas bubbles in liquid mediums. Before coming to UNH, she graduated from the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez in 2015 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Applied Mathematics. She is an active member in DEI efforts at UNH, as a member of the Advisory Board for Underrepresented Graduate Students and the Associate Vice President’s Student Advisory Council. She is also a founding member of the Spanish Speaking Acousticians council within Acoustical Society of America and was a member of the Diversity Advisory Committee in Woods Hole, MA.