This week Science is featuring a student-led piece on inclusion and diversity in STEM fields. I was able to help facilitate this piece, and am very proud to see the voices and opinions that come through in its writing. The piece focuses on the need to acknowledge the unique experiences and needs of under-represented minority (URM) students, and calls for programs and institutions to better allow people to bring their whole selves to their workplaces.
The piece arose from a panel discussion on increasing diversity in undergraduate programs at the 2015 Ecological Society of America meeting. The discussion featured leaders from several well-known programs sharing their challenges and successes – but led to significant and heated discussions with the many students in the audience, who felt that these leaders were often not addressing their needs, fully understanding their target audiences, or treating them as whole people to be authentically included. This article is a response to that tension.
There is also an article coming out at the same time, also focused on the importance of identity, and on making science more inclusive. It is written by Terry McGlynn, who works at California State University, Dominguez Hills – read it here, or his commentary on the piece here.