Season 4

Season 4, hosted by PhD students Khadija El-Karfi (Romance Studies) and Kiloni Quiles-Franco (Molecular and Translational Medicine), follows up on the “21 Days of Unlearning Racism and Learning Anti-Racism” curriculum facilitated by PDPA in July 2020. In conversations with student organizations, faculty members, and staff from across BU schools and colleges, Kiloni and Khadija discuss how these individuals and groups engage in social justice work within their departments, labs, programs, and colleges. The episode’s conversations seek to guide listeners to existing resources that will enable them to create and sustain a daily, intentional effort to challenge inequity in their communities and build a more inclusive BU


Episode 1, Your Hosts for Season 4 – Khadija El Karfi & Kiloni Quiles-Franco

In this episode, we meet our new hosts for Season 4 of VitaminPhD, Khadija El Karfi from the Romance Studies department and Kiloni Quiles-Franco from the BU School of Medicine. Kiloni and Khadija share some information about their exciting new topic for this season, “How can we make BU a safe and welcoming community for our BIPOC students, faculty, and staff?”

Headshot of Kiloni Quiles-Franco

Kiloni Quiles-Franco is a PhD student at Boston University School of Medicine in the Graduate Program of Molecular and Translational Medicine (GPMTM). Her career goal is to develop a non-profit that addresses dietary and lifestyle patterns in underserved communities that may contribute to genetic predispositions and disease. She is currently involved in several on- and off-campus organizations, such as the BUSM Pulmonary Center Social Justice Forum, the Minority and International Scientists Organization, the Women’s Professional Development Committee, and the Massachusetts Hispanic Medical Association. 

A native of Rabat, Morocco, Khadija El Karfi is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Romance Studies at Boston University. Her research interests include Francophone literature and culture from North Africa and the Mediterranean with an approach that extends beyond the study of literature written in Arabic and French. She is particularly interested in questions of identity and representation. 

Download the transcript for this episode.

Episode 2 – Roundtable Discussion with MISO and CASARI

For the second episode of the season Khadija and Kiloni discuss “how to make you care” about diversity and inclusion for BIPOC – Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color – at BU. They are joined by Táchira Pichardo, the President of the Minority and International Scientist Organization (MISO) from the BU School of Medicine, as well as Vi and Merriam from the College of Arts and Science Anti-Racist Initiative (CASARI) on the Charles River Campus.

Download the transcript for this episode.

Episode 3 – Pathways to Engagement: How to Be an Ally

In the third episode of Season 4, Khadija and Kiloni investigate what “allyship” looks like for BIPOC – Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color – at BU. They are joined by Dr. Monica Wang, the Associate Director of Narrative at the BU Center for Antiracist Research, and Luis D. Ramirez, a first-generation, Afro-Latino PhD Student in the Graduate Program for Neuroscience and the President of the Underrepresented Graduate Student Organization (UGSO).

Download the transcript for this episode.

Episode 4- Navigating Balance: Work to Live vs. Live to Work

In this week’s episode of Work to Live vs. Live to Work, Kiloni and Khadija are joined by Dr. Dennis Jones PhD, a Professor from the Graduate Medical Sciences Program at Boston University School of Medicine and an active advocate for diversity and inclusion, as well as a student-run organization from the School of Public Health called Students of Color for Public Health. The episode dives into issues surrounding work-life balance in underrepresented populations, and how these issues can shape – and in some cases hinder – matriculation and a positive graduate experience.

Download the transcript for this episode.

Episode 5- Roundtable Discussion on Intersectionality: GWISE

In this week’s episode, Kiloni and Khadija are joined by the student leaders from the Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (GWISE), Abby Rendos, Natalie Vaisman, and Jillian Rix to discuss how intersectionality plays out in higher education and the impact that the “othering” of some identities can have on Ph.D. students.

You can find GWISE’s 2020 Climate Survey by following this link:

Episode 6- Pathways to Engagement: Stories of Intersectionality

In this week’s episode of Stories of Intersectionality, Kiloni and Khadija are joined by Boston University’s inaugural Director of Programs in the Office of the Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion, Dr. Alana Anderson, and U.S. historian Dr. Paula C. Austin, Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies. Our hosts and guests discuss the existing institutional barriers and the different ways that the BU community can disrupt the inequitable practices and policies that limit students’ success.

Episode 7 – Conversations about Racism in Higher Education

In the final episode of Season 4 – ‘Understanding Racism in Higher Education’, Kiloni addresses the difficult topic of restructuring pedagogy to increase diversity in academia. She is joined by Dr. Anukul Shenoy, Anthony Yeung, and Kristy Abo from the Pulmonary Social Justice Forum at Boston University School of Medicine.