Diversity

Woodhams Lab Statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

 

At the Woodhams lab, we intentionally work to create an equitable and inclusive learning environment embracing all aspects of diversity. Excellence and innovation are achieved by sharing the values of collaboration, mentorship, and ecological ethics with an inclusive group of scientists. This is embodied by our multinational, multiracial, and diverse group of scientists at different educational and career stages and from a range of socio-economic backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, religions and political views.

We endeavor to include and establish diversity in science by actively recruiting students from underrepresented groups in STEM. We are invested in programs including the summer NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates, McNair scholars program, and NIH Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD). These programs help engage and establish students from diverse backgrounds, including first generation college students. We run a January-term and summer IMSD intensive experience to involve students new to research in an immersion program promoting intentional community among students and instructors. We also participate in the Bridges-to-Baccalaureate program that helps students transition from community college to a four-year university degree. 

Our lab culture includes the practice of professionalism, integrity, open communication and empathy, encouraging diversity of thought, and helping each other succeed. We listen and pursue continued learning, training, and self-education to better acknowledge social and racial injustice, and to recognize where we are privileged and have implicit biases. We combat unequal access to resources and imposter-syndrome by validating student experiences, providing inclusive co-authorship on research publications, honoring all contributions, and celebrating achievements. We nurture agency, safe spaces, kinship and a sense of community as an extension of belonging. We share responsibilities. 

We recognize that our lab culture is one specific area under our control that has a tremendous impact on welcoming and supporting new students from underrepresented groups. Thus, we are committing to the following goals and action points with timelines and milestones for assessing our progress. 

  • We devote at least three lab meetings per year (beginning of fall, spring and summer) to discussion and redirection of lab culture
  • We designate the first of June to recognize an annual day of reflection, breaking from our work to focus on justice and equity.
  • We build inclusivity and connection through structured lab work time including weekly zoom hangouts for synchronous work.
  • We encourage participation in seminars and discussions on diversity, equity and inclusion, send announcements of ongoing activities, and provide feedback in lab meetings on this engagement. 
  • We maintain regular meetings with Prof. Woodhams and mentors, continue division of lab responsibilities and animal care, and constantly adapt to the changing needs and methods of welcoming students and supporting mental health.
  • We commit to celebrating each other’s achievements. When baking, cookouts, going out for ice cream or shared meals, and high fives are not possible, we will celebrate on social media.

We oppose institutionalized racism and implicit bias in the Woodhams lab, at UMass Boston, and our professional and personal lives. To narrow the opportunity gap caused by economic disparity, we compensate all researchers and assistants through a combination of grants, involvement in programs, work-study, or independent study for credit. We support hiring that brings balance and encourages best practices such as the UW-Madison Guide for Search Committees. We support structured departmental anti-racism and inclusion discussions as described by Karanja et al. (2020, Cell)

We are proud of the progress we are making in the Woodhams lab, and continue to strive toward the important goals of inclusion of diversity in science.