We wanted to create an ever-growing compendium of knowledge, advice, and experiences from underrepresented scientists in a variety of fields. The hope is that by normalizing both the trials and successes of underrepresented people in STEM, we can inspire the coming generations to persevere and find their place within the science community.
During a regular school year perhaps, underrepresented students would be able to confide in others and receive positive affirmation from peer liaisons, lab members, or simply other students like them. Due to the pandemic, however, many of these support structures are distant if not completely absent. We strive to inspire and remind students that they are not alone in their journeys and that success within science is possible regardless of their situation.
We explored how stereotype threat, opportunity hoarding, imposter syndrome, implicit bias, financial stressors, and representation disproportionately impact hiring practices, retention, salaries, admissions, discrimination, and belonging. In particular, we look at how certain STEM fields, like Physics, lack women more than others due to expectations of “innate” talent required for success in the field. Potential interventions that could combat this seek to reframe adversity as not contingent on personal identity and self-worth but rather as common and transient. They also seek to reframe success as a tangible possibility based on work as opposed to innate talent.
Our intervention seeks to communicate the existing difficulties and successes of peers and faculty to underclassmen who hope to pursue STEM to provide support, advice, and empathy. Our hope is this intervention will contribute to the persistence of URM and women in STEM.