Hi everyone, I have been thinking for a while about the best way to use my words and power as a faculty member at Oklahoma State University.
My job description as I know it, involves three aspects: 1. Research, 2. Teaching, 3. Service. Across all of these areas, I also need to be a mentor to you all. As a mentor, I take my job very seriously, and I want to offer to you the best of myself, my knowledge, and skills. To that end, I know that academia and science has not always served each of us, and our experiences getting into science are going to be very different based on a lot of factors.
Here is my commitment to you across each of those areas above:
I hope to build a lab that is not only diverse, but also inclusive. Many studies have shown that we all do better science when diverse voices are included. What is often neglected is that in order to include diverse voices equally, we need inclusion. To me, inclusion means having a space where you can share your ideas freely without fear and can bring WHO YOU ARE right now to every aspect of your work. Science is about learning from mistakes, we all make them and we learn and grow from each of them. Do not be afraid to fail. Negative data is always interesting and we gain knowledge from everything that we do, failures and successes.
As a teacher, my goal is for you to learn. Learning looks different for every individual. While it may be difficult, I am committed to teaching you in many different ways to help you gain knowledge. I will give you hands-on projects, written materials, reading assignments, writing projects, teaching opportunities, and opportunities to listen. If you don’t understand something in one format I have presented to you, I am happy to present it in a different way. You may not get everything I am trying to teach you in one of the above formats. That is okay. One of the other formats may resonate more with you, or it may take the third, fourth, or more times hearing something to get it. That is normal. I am open to feedback.
I am passionate about many different things. I assume you have passions outside of research as well. That is awesome. Use those things that you are passionate about to take a break from science as needed (or if you can incorporate it into your science!). Personally, I am passionate about social justice, equity, inclusion, and diversity efforts. I want to change what a scientist looks like. I want to be on the front lines of a fight against the patriarchy, racism, sexism, and anything else that stands in the way of a world where we can all be free and live. I hope that you will join me.
I am listening. I am learning. I am not perfect. I am committed to growing and trying to be a little bit better every day. I am committed to you.