It's not business as usual

January 26



With a pandemic, civil unrest, divisions, and disruption continuing in our lives, it is difficult to focus. The past year has been difficult for everyone in different ways. Continuing to say that things are business as usual is harmful to mental and physical well-being for people in our community. These events exacerbate inequities and discrimination already rampant. Thus, business is not usual, it is unusual right now and we should address this head on. We will discuss how events are affecting individuals across the spectrum and how we can help with compassion and understanding for ourselves and others. 

Facilitator: Jenny Munson

Article(s) for discussion: Gruber, J. et al. "Academia needs a reality check: life is not back to normalScience  2020

Other articles: "The staff are not OKChronicle of Higher Education

"Students of color are not OKChronicle of Higher Education

"Professors are burning outChronicle of Higher Education


February 22



An ally is someone who is not a member of a historically minoritized group, but who takes action to support that group. There are many actions that one can take to act as an ally that include being an advocate, champion, amplifier, sponsor, confidant, and to call out incidents when seen (i.e. bystander). Here we will discuss the role of allyship in academia, and how we can take steps as a community to increase allyship in our day-to-day interactions, choices, and spaces. 

Facilitator: Robin Queen, PhD

Article for discussion: Martinez-Cola, M. "Collectors, Nightlights, and Allies, Oh My!" Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, Vol X, Issue I

Other reading: "How to best be an ally in STEM" University of Toronto Newspaper

Other Resources: "How can I be an Ally" [video] Inclusive VT

Balancing family and career

March 26



To many, the path through graduate school and into an independent career is difficult to balance with the demands and priorities of family life. These demands have been exacerbated during COVID-19, but are nonetheless ever apparent. Many students, faculty, and staff members are constantly juggling these demands, including the pursuit of two-career households, having and raising children, and/or caring  for aging family members of family members with special needs. Here we will discuss the barriers in place for balancing work and family life and what can we do to address these issues. 

Facilitator: Panel Discussion with Pam Vandevord, Miguel Perez, Sara Arena, and Jenny Munson

Resources for discussion: Morgan, et al. "The unequal impact of parenthood in academia" Science Advances, 2021

Hidden disabilities

April 14



Hidden disabilities are disabilities that may not be immediately obvious. 
They do not have physical signs and may include learning difficulties, mental health, neurological disorders, as well as mobility, speech, visual or hearing impairments.
We will discuss some of the common kinds of disabilities as well as gain an appreciation for the challenges that come with navigating hidden disabilities in higher education.

Facilitator: Amanda Covey, M.S. (Graduate Coordinator), Nicole Stark (Ph.D. Candidate)

Article for discussion:  "Creating Safe and Supportive Campus Climates for Individuals with Invisible Disabilities" Insight into Diversity 2019. 




Our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ)+ community is faced with specific challenges in academia, career, and life which are less well-studied and understood than other underrepresented groups.  However, we know that LGBTQ workers are more likely to face discrimination, including lower wages, negative treatment, and hiring biases, forcing many in this community to feel they cannot bring their whole self to work and contributes to poor health outcomes and .  We will discuss how microaggressions, unsafe work spaces, and policies can contribute to individuals in the LGBTQ+ community feeling unwelcome in STEM and how we can create safe spaces for them within our community so that they can thrive.

Facilitators: Tony Renaldo (Ph.D. Candidate), and Shannon King (Ph.D. Candidate)

Article for discussion: Cech, Waidzunas, "Systemic inequalities for LGBTQ professionals in STEM" Science Advances 2020.