Raquell Holmes

Dr. Holmes is a computational cell biologist and a pioneer in using improvisational performance to build inclusive, developmental science communities. After earning her Ph.D. at Tufts Sackler School of Biomedicine, she completed her postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School. She then joined Boston University as a Research Assistant Professor and University of Connecticut Health Center as the Director of Outreach, Recruitment and Retention for the Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling. She is author of the book Cell Biologist’s Guide to Modeling and Bioinformatics.

Throughout her career she has been known for creating multi-racial, collaborative environments in which scientists, engineers and students learn and grow. She was a founding organizer of the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing conference, and a lead organizer of the Broader Engagement program at SC-conferences. She continues to influence professional development within science, math and computing fields via traditional and innovative platforms.

She trained at the East Side Institute in the performance-based approach to human development called social therapeutics. This approach is used in corporate leadership development, therapy offices, hospitals, after-school programs and communities world-wide. Dr. Holmes, founded improvscience as part of this international community of educators, trainers and researchers who use play and creativity to address educational and humanitarian needs in the world.

As the director of improvscience, Dr. Holmes provides leadership development trainings that foster communication and expand professionals’ relational capacities. She coaches scientists in their development as collaborative leaders, presenters, and builders of learning environments where everyone can contribute, be seen and valued. She built a science program with faculty that regularly delivered STEAM classes for youth and adults from poor communities via the free education and development program of the All Stars Project in New York. And, she is the Founding Chair of the highly diverse arts, humanities and STEM conference called Cultivating Ensembles.

Dr. Holmes has worked with over 3000 scientists, physicians and engineers across the country in university settings such as Harvard Medical, University of California Berkeley and Boston University; at national labs, academies of science and the National Institutes of Health; and is a sought after public speaker, addressing groups at the Association of Women in Science, Black Computer Her, the University of Tokyo, the Applied Improvisation Network and the American Meteorological Society.