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Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Read: “Black in Nature” by Alexus Roberts and Shaz Zamore

For a long time, many scientists have refused to engage in conversations about racism, claiming that science is objective and those conversations are better left out of scientific conferences and journals (never mind that race was constructed by scientists such as Linneaus).

The current movement has forced the scientific community to do what more public-facing organizations have been doing: a long-overdue assessment of how we have contributed to harm. Journals are being renamed, organizations are making plans to better support BIPOC members, and Black voices are being amplified on social media (see #BlackBirdersWeek and #BlackBotanistsWeek).

Reading “Black in Nature” has caused me to reassess my actions as an educator and scientist. I knew about micro-aggressions, the potential dangers of field work, and the lack of representation in the sciences.

However, I hadn’t really engaged with how damaging it can be to not have a community to share your experiences with. And I probably should have been thinking about that, given that I already have experienced this to a lesser extent as a woman in a male-dominated field of shark science.

I’m trying to figure out how to support the creation and/or maintenance of spaces for those communities, both at Allegheny and in my scientific societies. Science should be for everyone, and there needs to be support, not just access.

~~ Dr. Lisa Whitenack (Associate Professor, Biology/Geology)

At Allegheny College we are working to make STEM disciplines more inclusive of diversity. We welcome your gifts to support our gifted students who need the financial help to become future researchers, inventors, doctors, and teachers.


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