Erin Flowers

Astrophysical Sciences PhD Student

The Pinnacle Award, recognizes a graduate student who embodies excellence, indelible character, and a steadfast commitment to efforts that support access, diversity, and inclusion for the graduate community and beyond. Erin Flowers is the epitome of a BADI and through her endeavors has enriched and improved Princeton University and society at large through her volunteer and professional activities as well as personal actions. This distinction is one that recognizes the high bar she has set and the success of her outstanding service and commitment to creating a community of belonging for all of us.  


Erin Flowers is a 5th year graduate student in the Astrophysical Sciences department and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Fellow, researching worlds beyond our own.  In addition to her scholarship, she is passionate about educational outreach in both astronomy and STEM as a whole. She is particularly dedicated to tutoring and mentoring scientists-to-be from under-represented groups.  Erin hopes to help improve the diversity and inclusion of Princeton and other academic communities in New Jersey at large.

According to her nominators, Erin’s leadership and dedication to supporting diversity and inclusion or social justice initiatives are always on, whether during a recruitment trip, a Diversity Fellows event, or as part of her leadership roles for Intersecting Queer Identities/Queer Graduate Caucus (IQI), the Black Graduate Caucus (BGC), the Prison Teaching Initiative (PTI), within her department, or in her many other positions.

Erin is known throughout astronomy and Princeton for her ADI work. She has been the graduate mentor to all Black students in the Astrophysics department and served on the American Astronomical Society Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy.

She has also been a sustained advocate and teacher for incarcerated men and women through her extensive work with PTI. She has translated her passion for educational equity into concrete skills for an entire cohort of PTI instructors. For her efforts, Erin was named the inaugural STEM PTI Graduate Fellow, starting in Fall 2019 and continuing today. In this role, she has served as a mentor for other graduate students in PTI. Erin also developed and runs teacher training for new math instructors and helped create the inclusive pedagogy trainings that are now a hallmark of PTI. She has most recently led a workshop in trauma-informed pedagogy, and has been an invited speaker representing PTI at the National Conference of Higher Education in Prisons and events promoting the PTI partnership with the Class of ’94.

Additionally, Erin serves as the Head Diversity Fellow within The Graduate School’s Access, Diversity, and Inclusion team, leading a board to plan and implement various community-building events for Princeton’s underrepresented graduate students, including the inaugural Inclusive Academy Symposium.  Throughout it all, Erin manages to stay positive and focused, be an exemplary scholar, and a peerless advocate.