Diversity in STEM
The lack of gender and racial diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is a problem that negatively impacts individuals and these fields as a whole. I’m part of a group in the EEB department at U of T that organizes discussions and networking opportunities to promote equity in our department and the broader scientific community. Our group (BREWS – Broadening Representation & Equity With Science) hosts biweekly networking events (over tea) and monthly data-driven talks (over beer). These are great venues to discuss the issues, exchange ideas and propose solutions to the barriers to diversity that our field is struggling with.
Please get in touch if you’re interested in organizing something similar in your department! And check out these links for some interesting articles, blog posts, podcasts and video clips on the issue of under-representation of women in science.
Mental Health in Academia
There is a growing recognition that staying mentally healthy in academia can be exceedingly difficult. Graduate student mental health has received particular attention, with reports indicating that up to 60% of graduate students feel “overwhelmed, exhausted, hopeless, sad, or depressed nearly all the time.” In an effort to address these issues at U of T, I have been working with administrators, faculty and graduate students to organize moral-boosting workshops that help bring these issues into the open.
One workshop (“FML – How to Cope When Grad School Leaves you Feeling Mighty Low”) centers around guided small group discussions of common issues such as imposter syndrome and student-supervisor conflict. This workshop was covered in the U of T News. Another recurring workshop (“Failure Stories”) is a hilarious panel discussion of faculty describing their most epic failures.
Please get in touch if you’re interested in organizing something similar in your department! We have provided workshop materials to help other departments and universities plan this type of event.