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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.

It is widely recognized that the narratives and control of who asks scientific questions in the field of animal behavior have been dominated by European and American white males, yet many under-represented minority groups have played pivotal roles in shaping our research in the field in fundamental ways yet their perspectives and work has received relatively less attention. In addition, the ideas and approach towards equity and inclusion from those who have the most personal and socio-cultural experience with these issues are often left unheard. Daniella N. Lee (2020) shines a light on a few of these important, yet often undervalued people and perspectives in the field animal behavior in the USA. The Animal Behavior Collective organizes and facilitates microgrants and mentorship for undergraduate and graduate researchers in animal behavior providing opportunities for researchers at multiple levels to provide mentorship for underrepresented groups (see below for link) . To learn more about colonialism in entomology Maydianne Andrade hosts a session with black entomologists from the USA, Nigeria and the Caribbean (see below for link).

Works Cited

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.

Lee, D,. N. 2020. Diversity and inclusion activisms in animal behaviour and the ABS: a historical view from the U.S.A. Animal Behavior. 164: 273-280

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.

Animal Behavior Collective :

Colonialism and Entomology:

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