Our Mission

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We strive for every voice to be heard, and every individual to belong, with an overarching vision to create equitable communities where every one of us can thrive. 


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What we do

We support educational institutions, government agencies, for-profit and non-profit organizations to actively learn about and commit to equity and create inclusive communities. Our inclusive education curriculum is designed for long-term and sustainable impact to create equitable opportunities, inclusive mindsets and socially just spaces.

  

We offer:

 

· Customized content anchored in the needs of our participants and the latest research in the field.

· Topics are developed to build on one another and are offered over a period of time, to reinforce the learning and raise consciousness as a skill set.

· Multidimensional and multidisciplinary approach to empower participants to find long term success.

· Build each individual and organization’s capacity to see value in inclusion and be agents of cultural and equitable change for themselves and for others. 

Services

Schools

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Founded on culturally responsive pedagogy and piloted in a school in Massachusetts, our inclusive education curriculum is a multi-pronged and holistic approach for educators, parents, and students. We offer each workshop on a monthly basis for teachers, followed by corresponding practice sessions with students on the same workshop topic, using age-appropriate books and classroom activities. Workshops for parents complete the approach to foster inclusive mindsets both inside and outside of the school.

For & Non-Profit Organizations

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Starting from an understanding of the value of inclusive spaces, we customize our workshop content to sensitize the workforce on equity and inclusion, expounding on the benefits of co-created organizational cultures. Workshop topics and content are tailored to meet the needs of our clients and are delivered over time to ensure maximum and sustainable impact throughout the cross-section of employees.

STEM Education

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Designed for students and mentors, our curriculum increases participation and engagement of all students to sustainably build the STEM talent pipeline. Our focus on psychosocial development equips students to use a social science lens to approach their scientific endeavors, to be advocates for themselves, create support networks, and access resources to be successful in their scientific careers. Mentors and administrators are offered parallel learning modules to create inclusive academic environments and a support system helpful to the growth and development of all students. It is a deep dive into mentor roles and functions to help create equitable and inclusive spaces for all students.

Government Agencies

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Our curriculum for government agencies recognizes the unique positions of these organizations and is structured to provide equity and social justice training for leadership and employees incorporating content linked with local history and metrics. We work with you to build an inclusive and equity-oriented workplace culture, empower the workforce to be change agents, build a staff capacity that is committed to representation and equity outcomes. We help you to place equity values front and center of all plans, budgets, and policies from planning to execution, and develop facility and system improvements responsive to the values and needs of all.

Higher Education

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 Our inclusive education enhances consciousness and commitment in teachers to factor in the different backgrounds, abilities, thought processes, learning styles, and other social parameters that make each student unique. It helps teachers understand and support the needs of each student to bridge the gaps in educational outcomes as academic performance, academic engagement, choice of majors, persistence in higher education, professional choices and career development. It helps teachers develop a multi-faceted teaching style and equip students with the psychosocial skills to navigate life and work within and beyond their school life.

About Us

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Divya Anand, PhD

Founder & CEO


Dr. Anand is the Founder & CEO of Gaia Connections LLC. Dr Anand brings together her research expertise in Cultural Sociology and Literature, with her experience in Diversity & Inclusion to design and develop equity and inclusion-focused workshop series. She received her BA in English Language and Literature from All Saints College, followed by an MA from Kerala University; and her Master of Philosophy from Jawaharlal Nehru University. She received her Ph.D. with distinction from the Thesis Eleven Centre for Cultural Sociology and the English Department at La Trobe University, Australia. She has taught in Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and La Trobe Universities. In India, she has worked with non-profit organizations focusing on LGBTQI* rights, and as a journalist and travel writer. In her role as a Diversity and Inclusion consultant, at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, she developed programming for underrepresented minority students, including inclusion-focused events for the larger scientific community. She is currently a research fellow at Thesis Eleven Centre for Cultural Sociology, La Trobe University. She also guest lectures at UMass Boston, Merrimack College, and Wheelock College on equity and social justice issues.

Advisory Board

Leena Akhtar

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 Dr. Akhtar is the founder and principal of The Greater Us, a consultancy focused on helping organizations including private-sector companies, nonprofits, and universities cultivate equity and inclusion and mitigate power-based violence and discrimination. She holds a doctoral degree from Harvard University in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and the History of Science.  

Kate Godin

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  Dr. Godin received her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Washington and a dual B.A. in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Vermont. At the University of Washington, she coordinated the NIH funded Postbaccalaureate Research Program (UW-PREP) mentoring students from underserved communities and preparing them for graduate programs at top tier research institutes.  Currently, as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University’s Molecular and Cellular Biology Department, she continues to support students of all backgrounds through volunteering at the Cambridge Science Festival and mentorship within her department and through the Summer Research Opportunities at Harvard (SROH) program.   

David Harris

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Dr. David Harris is the Managing Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School. Dr. Harris has extensive experience in many facets of civil rights issues from police brutality and racial profiling, to redistricting and domestic violence, as well as fair housing and community development. Prior to his position at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute he served as founding Executive Director of the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston, as well as with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University and a B.A. from Georgetown University. Dr Harris is recognized as a leading voice for civil rights in the Boston region and his recent work at the Institute focuses on a national program to rebuild our cities in the wake of the war on crime and war on drugs by centering the voices of community members affected by those policies.

Kimberlee Hixon

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 Kimberlee (Kim) graduated in the honors program from Simmons College in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a minor in Sociology. Currently, a post-baccalaureate scholar at Novartis, working on cancer biology research, she is actively involved in programs advocating for women and underrepresented groups in STEM careers. She has taken aspects of her learning in science and sociology to her own American Indian community and also wrote a paper on how disabilities and access to care are inequitably dispensed in her own community. Kim’s future aspirations include obtaining a graduate degree to invent and deliver novel therapeutics to patients with the most unmet medical needs. An avid basketball player, Kim captained the Simmons College team for two seasons. 

Laura Hsu

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 Dr. Laura Hsu is an Assistant Professor of Human Development & Human Services at Merrimack College.  She has held positions in a variety of educational settings, including as a tutor in Americorps, afterschool settings, and a medium security prison; as a consultant for an inner city charter school; as an English teacher for elementary students in China; and as an assistant professor of psychology at a community college.  At Merrimack, Professor Hsu has taught undergraduate courses in Child & Adolescent Development, Introduction to Human Development, and Diversity, Social Justice, & Ethics and has taught graduate level courses in Theories of Adult Development, and College Teaching & Learning.  Professor Hsu received her Ed.D. in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley.   

Carrie Parker

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Caroline (Carrie) Parker, EdD, works as a Principal Research Scientist at the Education Development Center. She leads research on a wide range of education reform issues, including educational equity, technology integration, and strategies to enhance STEM learning and teaching. Her work on culturally and linguistically diverse students provides new evidence on effective strategies to engage families, enhance learning through technology integration, and remove barriers to reaching English proficiency. Parker holds an EdD in administration, planning, and social policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Steve Schnapp

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Steve has over 40 years experience as a community-based organizer, educator, and activist in New York City and the Greater Boston area. Before retiring in 2016, Steve worked as a popular economics educator with a national non-profit and has taught Community Organizing at Boston University. He has led numerous multi-day training of trainer events for organizers, community educators, and social justice activists in the U.S. and Canada. A resident of Medford, MA since 2011, Steve is engaged in public conversations projects, immigrant rights advocacy, and racial justice efforts in the community. Steve gets support and encouragement from his lifelong partner, Honey Schnapp, his daughters, Tania and Jessie, and his grandchildren Zuzu, Grey, and Miles

Contact Us

Gaia Connections

122 Park Street, Medford, Massachusetts 02155, United States

+1-508-654-1009

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