Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
As a naturalist I am inspired by the beauty and complexity of nature, I derive a sense of purpose and connection by sharing this passion. I am encouraged by the fact that the awe and curiosity inspired by nature crosses cultural, social, and political boundaries. However, I am also acutely aware that the opportunities to build a career in this field unfortunately are influenced by socio-economic and racial barriers. The spectacular dances of the birds of paradise are awe-inspiring and mesmerizing regardless of the language we speak, how we look, our sexual orientation, gender identification, belief system, or nationality. Yet, all these factors play a significant role in the opportunities we have to make a scientific career investigating them. I feel extremely privileged to be in a position where I can make a living pursuing curiosity-driven research. I find my career enriching and innately rewarding. I believe it is critical to recognize that these inequities exist and I am committed to continuing to use my platform to increase diversity and inclusion in my field and my academic institutions.
Multiple independent studies report that diversity builds innovation, yet a paradox emerges; those under-represented groups that build innovation have less successful careers within the organizations they are part of (Hofstra et al. 2020). Recent studies suggest that impactful contributions from gender and racial minority groups are less likely to result in successful scientific careers than for majority groups. This inequity emerges in part from robust networks of prestige (Clauset et al. 2015), but also because of socio-economic challenges faced by many minority groups (Morgan et al. 2022). The current state of underrepresentation of minority groups suggests we need multiple avenues to address these gaps. While I recognize the limitations that any single person may have on affecting lasting change, I am also energized by the possibility that small changes are essential to lay a foundation for much-needed larger changes and I am committed to continue to use my platform to advocate for equity, inclusion and diversity.
Clauset, A., S. Arbesman, and D. B. Larremore. 2015. Systematic inequality and hierarchy in faculty hiring networks. Science Advances 1:e1400005. American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Hofstra, B., V. V. Kulkarni, S. Munoz-Najar Galvez, B. He, D. Jurafsky, and D. A. McFarland. 2020. The Diversity–Innovation Paradox in Science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117:9284–9291. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Morgan, A. C., N. LaBerge, D. B. Larremore, M. Galesic, J. E. Brand, and A. Clauset. 2022. Socioeconomic roots of academic faculty. Nat Hum Behav 1–9. Nature Publishing Group.