Science is better when we do it together.
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice
Mentorship can help students, especially students from historically excluded groups, form an identity within the academic community and has been shown to increase GPA and retention of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors who receive mentorship when compared to non-mentored students. In addition, postdoctoral involvement in laboratory interactions may be as important as faculty mentorship for undergraduate and early graduate student development, suggesting that interaction with postdocs is beneficial to other early career STEM students. As a postdoctoral fellow I have focused my DEIJ efforts on three initiatives: 1) expanding the University of Minnesota Field Guides program to involve postdoctoral mentors to graduate and undergraduate students, 2) recruiting and mentoring students from traditionally excluded backgrounds in independent research, and 3) serving as a representative on the Bridging Research Equity with Science (BREWS) committee.
Past efforts have included serving on my graduate school departmental DEIJ Task Force, annual women in STEM outreach events, leading the GradOUT group for LGBTQ+ graduate students, mentoring undergraduate students from Miami-Dade College (a primarily hispanic serving institution), volunteering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the National LGBTQ+ Task Force, and the AQUA Foundation for LGBTQ+ Women, and providing content for the American Society for Cell Biology on LGBTQ+ mentorship practices.
As an LGBTQ+ student in STEM, I didn’t knowingly meet an LGBTQ+ faculty member until the final year of my undergraduate degree. The lack of transparency by LBGTQ+ faculty in STEM contributes to low retention of LGBTQ+ STEM students (underrepresented by up to 21%, Freeman 2018). Additionally, up to 69% of LGBTQ faculty who are out to their coworkers reported feeling uncomfortable in their department, which may contribute to low retention of LGBTQ+ faculty in STEM (Partridge et. al., 2014). Intersectional identities can place people of color at even greater risk for exclusion and discrimination. I participate in mentorship, outreach, and volunteer advocacy and am dedicated to the fight for equality and justice.
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Read about LGBTQ+ Mentoring!
Freeman, J., LGBTQ scientists are still left out. Nature, 2018. 559(7712): p. 27-28.
Partridge, E., V., R. Barthelemy, S., and S. Rankin, R., Factors impacting the academic climate for LGBQ stem faculty. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 2014. 20: p. 75-98.
Data is everywhere. My outreach focuses on promoting scientific literacy and engagement, especially for historically excluded groups. This has included participation in events like Women in STEM day and giving public talks to non-scientific audiences but also includes the challenging daily conversations surrounding misleading media reporting of scientific articles with friends and family.
Pictured: The "Fishy DNA" activity provided girls in grades 4-8 with a chance to learn about the recipe for life: DNA and try their hand at coding to create their own fish. This event occurs annually at the University of Miami and typically has ~50 participants.