Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Projects
Black Excellence in STEM Oral History Project
Spring 2021 - Present
The goal of this project is to preserve stories from 24 Black scientists through conducting recorded interviews and creating transcripts that will be archived through Virginia Tech Libraries, as well as producing a collection of written narratives. This project is supported by the VT Center For Communicating Science and involves 6 graduate students including myself. For more information click here.
Black Life Scientist Book Project
Fall 2020 - Present
Dr. Shaz Zamore and I are co-editors of an upcoming book about the experiences of Black women and non-binary life scientists, which will be published through Mountaineers Books, a non-profit book publisher committed to conservation. This book will be a collection of stories from 25 people representing a variety of career stages and research interests. We expect to have this published by Spring 2023, so stay tuned!
Demystifying Graduate School
Navigating graduate school can be very difficult if you don’t have people in your life that have been through the process before. This is a barrier for many underrepresented students. There are a lot of aspects of applying to and selecting a graduate program that you will not find on graduate program websites. In order to make graduate school more accessible, I organized a Demystifying Graduate School panel for undergraduates. We discussed a variety of topics, including how to be a competitive applicant, selecting an advisor, funding, the day-to-day life of grad students, and more. You can watch the recording here.
Girls Launch! Project
Did you know that gender-based stereotypes about intelligence can appear as early as kindergarten? Girls Launch! collaborates with the Giles County School District and VT Center for Communicating Science to provide kids with female scientist role models through monthly classroom visits. However, during the pandemic, the classroom visits were no longer possible. Thanks to a grant from VT Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, 10 female graduate students, including myself, were able to create videos and activity guides for kindergarteners which were distributed to teachers and are available online. For more information click here.
New River Valley Science on Tap Celebrates Black Scientists
This event was through my local Science on Tap, which hosts monthly events connecting scientists to the community. I organized and participated in a panel discussion with 4 other Black scientists affiliated with Virginia Tech. We discussed our research and experiences as Black scientists, and answered questions from the audience. Watch the event here.
Black Birders Week
Alongside a large team, I helped organize and implement a weeklong international social media event to increase the visibility of Black birders and make outdoor recreation and STEM more inclusive. For more information click here. This event inspired many other events celebrating Black scientists and nature enthusiasts (e.g., Black Botanists Week, Black in Neuro, Black in Marine Science, and more).
Climate Justice Subcommittee
As a result of students advocating to update the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment from 2009, the university decided to create a working group to re-write the outdated plan. Thanks to more advocating from students and faculty, climate justice was incorporated in the new plan, which is one of the first university climate plans to do so. I was one of 15 members on the climate justice subcommittee tasked at coming up with ways to promote social equity in climate action. Take a look at a summary of our report here (pages 15-17).