Commitment to Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
The scientific practice, like all other human endeavors, is blemished by a history of disproportionately excluding certain groups to provide advantages to other. These inequities are not only morally wrong – they impede our ability to reach our lofty pursuit of knowledge. To help overcome these inequities, members of privileged groups like myself must be willing to acknowledge their privilege, educate themselves, and proceed with appropriate corrective actions. I have pledged myself as an ally in every arena in which these injustices must be combated, and have committed myself to carrying this out as both an human, scientist, and member of a larger community.
I am one of the leaders of SPEAK: Scientists Promoting Equity And Knowledge. Using a journal-club like format we regularly met to learn and discuss various gender and race inequities present in science. In 2017 I began arranging volunteer opportunities in the local community specifically aimed at correcting inequities in our local community. As one of its, I have played predominant role in planning and executing our monthly meetings. We recently wrote an article in Nature Communications: Career that shared our strategy with the hopes that similar groups may be enacted at other institutions.
I have also extended these efforts into my research as well. As an EEG researcher, I have known that our data collection procedures are less effective on participants with Black/African hair relative to those with Caucasian/Asian hair. This issue is widely known amongst the EEG community but is rarely discussed – as a result, one can assume that Black/African participants are heavily underrepresented in EEG data samples. I recently received a grant to develop improved data collection procedures in participants of Black/African descent. This project is ongoing but we hope to share the results of our venture in the near future.
I have also played a pivotal role in the development of the Motivation and Decision Sciences Research Internship. This collaboration between the Huettel and Adcock lab seeks to expose undergraduate students to different aspects of research, with a specific emphasis on reaching students who haven’t had research opportunities before & come from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in STEM. We launched this program in the Fall of 2020 and have just accepted our first class, with plans to expand the program in the following year.