Diversity Fellow: Day in the Life

In the Diversity Fellow: Day in the Life series, UC Berkeley Diversity and Community fellows share in their own words about their involvement in the Office for Graduate Diversity, their typical routine as a graduate student at UC Berkeley, and their plans or goals for the future. 


headshot of Haider Ali Bhatta

Haider Ali Bhatti

Haider Ali Bhatti (he/him/his) is a PhD candidate in Science and Math Education.

Haider-Ali-Bhatti praying in a park

What does your typical day look like now?

I start my day by waking up early for the first of my five daily prayers, the morning prayer (fajr salah). This prayer immediately puts me in the best possible mindset to start my day. From there, I’ll have breakfast. I ALWAYS have breakfast. And extremely dark roast black coffee, or as I like to call it, jet fuel. Once that’s all done, I head out to class, meetings, or start working on research stuff. Right now, I’m mainly just prepping for my upcoming qualifying exam which is a big milestone in any PhD program. Once you pass this exam, you go from a PhD “student” to a PhD “candidate” and can begin working on the core of your PhD research, your dissertation. I’m planning to focus my research on how we can improve undergraduate STEM education for all students by making it more inclusive, interpersonal, and interdisciplinary using bioinspired design. Though I don’t teach in the fall, every spring I help teach our Bioinspired Design (http://biodesign.berkeley.edu/) course and it’s truly the best part of my day whenever I get to teach! In my free time, I love sports, so you can catch me on the basketball court missing wide open 3-point shots or turning off the TV in frustration as my favorite teams (Nets, Mets, AC Milan) maintain their mediocrity.

How are you involved in the Office for Graduate Diversity (OGD)?

I’ve been working with OGD for over a year now as the graduate student coordinator for STEM*FYI (https://grad.berkeley.edu/graduate-diversity/current-grad-students/stemfyi/). We are an organization dedicated to increasing the success and retention of historically underrepresented students among all graduate STEM fields at UC Berkeley. We welcome all first-year and continuing STEM scholars of color, women, LGBTQIA+, low-income, first-generation, disabled, and undocumented students to form an alliance with advanced graduate STEM ambassadors who are committed to building a strong and diverse community of future scientists! I’m so incredibly motivated to lead this work within OGD because there is an overwhelming need to support historically minoritized and marginalized groups in graduate STEM education. STEM*FYI believes that one of the best ways to do this is through a support system of near peers consisting of advanced graduate STEM students, or STEM*FYI ambassadors. Importantly, I love my role within OGD because it directly connects with my own research that’s dedicated to improving STEM education at-large!

Haider-Ali-Bhatti shooting basketball at basketball court

What is something you are looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to being a part of the much needed departmental and institutional change to make graduate education more diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI). I remember a time not too long ago where DEI initiatives were a “nice-to-have” rather than a “must-have” within academia. This is no longer the case. And importantly, graduate students have pushed so strongly to make it clear that DEI is indeed a “must-have.” That’s what makes being a Diversity Fellow so special. I’m part of a group of peers coming from non-dominant and diverse backgrounds who have an undying passion for not only their academic work, but social justice issues at-large. We are a community of practice and I’m so excited to see the actionable and impactful work we are capable of doing for all UC Berkeley graduate students.