Chris Tokita

*21, Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

I am a hapa native of the Eastside of Los Angeles. I use computational and mathematical models to study how societies--from ants to people--organize themselves. In addition to being a Diversity Fellow, I serve on my department's Diversity, Inclusion, & Climate Committee and try to remain active in local politics. I received a B.S. from Yale University in 2014 and then spent two years working in federal science policy in Washington D.C. before starting graduate school.

Being a Diversity Fellow has given me a more immediate sense of purpose and satisfaction than other aspects of graduate school--like research and publishing--that take much longer to make a difference. Having the privilege to help build community among graduate students from historically underrepresented backgrounds makes me feel like my contribution during my PhD isn't just academic. I feel like my time at Princeton is more balanced and worthwhile, and I know that regardless of what happens with my dissertation, I will be able to look back on my time here with satisfaction. Ultimately, this satisfaction I gain from working the Access, Diversity, and Inclusion team makes it easier for me to glide along the ups-and-downs of PhD research.

"As a multiracial individual who grew up in a diverse community, I have grown to strongly value diversity, particularly in institutions of higher learning, where accessibility and inclusion are not always guaranteed for individuals from underprivileged backgrounds."