At the heart of our academic pursuit as scientists is the systematic observation and experimentation of natural phenomena and the principles that govern them. However, it must be recognized that it is just as important to embrace and uplift the people who move this work forward. Discrimination and bias have long been a part of society and of STEM, and we are deeply troubled by systemic bias against historically underrepresented groups. We value the insight, perspective, and scientific curiosity of people of all backgrounds, especially those who have not been previously heard in the scientific community. We strongly believe that we cannot excel in our scientific endeavor without welcoming people of all ages, genders, family situations, races, ethnicities, nationalities, creeds/religions, cultures, disabilities, and sexual orientations. We are both determined and morally obligated to actively engage in the renewed movement towards inclusiveness and equity. We, members of the Wolfner lab, pledge to be a part of this change through concrete actions (listed below):
Holding ourselves accountable for creating an environment in which all lab members feel free to express themselves and are welcomed and valued for exactly who they are.
Engaging in research and mentorship programs that promote diversity and inclusion, such as Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and Cornell’s Science & Technology Entry Program (STEP) for high school students. Additionally, we encourage undergraduate researchers to attend conferences and apply to funding opportunities:
Including a minute for diversity slide in lab meeting presentations to raise awareness about diversity and equity and to further foster an inclusive work environment.
Dedicating at least one journal club every other month to discussing research into equity and inclusion in academia. When applicable and possible, we will incorporate new findings about best practices into our lab culture.
Organizing and engaging in monthly lab “media clubs” to read books and articles, watch films, and listen to recordings (i.e. podcasts, interviews, etc.) to continuously educate ourselves about the struggles of historically oppressed and underrepresented groups, and how to actively support them. Furthermore, we will discuss media from opposing, incorrect viewpoints to inform and prepare ourselves to be active and outspoken allies. We will keep an archive of resources we have discussed available on this website.
Implementing a whistleblower system to provide everyone with the opportunity to report instances of discrimination, harassment, microaggression, or other unacceptable behaviors within the lab or department.
Maintaining at least one lab member each on the MBG Diversity Council and the GGD Climate Committee to relay information and work to improve diversity and inclusion at a higher, institutional level.
Attending diversity and inclusion sessions and workshops at scientific conferences and similar courses or workshops at Cornell.
Engaging in science communication and outreach through programs such as GRASSHOPR, Skype A Scientist, Expanding Your Horizons (EYH), among others, to improve public understanding and perception of science and inspire future generations.
Acknowledged by (in alphabetical order of last names): Sarah Allen, Nora Brown, Norene Buehner, Dawn Chen, Katie Gordon, Yassi Hafezi, Caroline Lee, Mikaela Matera-Vatnick, Snigdha Misra, Caitlin Unkenholz, Orli Weiss, Melissa White, Mariana Wolfner, Mengye Yang