We, the members and affiliates of the Latimer Lab, commit to increasing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in our lab, our academic community, and our personal lives. Everyone in the lab will participate in one or more of the activities listed below; participation should be ongoing, meaningful, and mindful of each individual’s available capacity. Since these activities are essential to us as science professionals and community members, it is appropriate to spend regular working hours on them.
All active members and affiliates of the Latimer Lab are collectively committed to the following:
- Ongoing discussions in lab meetings: We will devote at least one lab meeting per quarter to reading about and discussing a DEI topic together. We will schedule this meeting at the beginning of each quarter. We will use these sessions as a means to educate ourselves and to strengthen inclusivity and open communication in our lab community.
- Ongoing lab DEI trainings: We will organize at least one DEI-focused training for our lab group each year. These trainings will be facilitated by appropriately compensated professionals and will address topics specific to our lab’s research demands and needs (such as hiring field assistants, supervising and mentoring in field and lab settings, teaching ecology and evolution topics, and building an inclusive and supportive community). When appropriate, we will extend the invitation to participate in these trainings to other labs, our department, or our affiliated graduate groups.
- Participate meaningfully in DEI initiatives on campus: We will attend quarterly and sub-committee meetings of the GGE Diversity Committee (or equivalent campus organization) and contribute to the committee's work. We commit to continuing education outside of our lab by participating in trainings and workshops offered by the University of California and UC Davis.
- Focus on DEI in hiring practices: In our hiring for technician positions, we will include recruitment from campus programs focused on increasing participation from underrepresented groups in STEM (1). We will also create positions in our lab that are designed to encourage passionate, underprivileged individuals to enter the field of ecology.
- Youth outreach: Lab members and affiliates will continue our tradition of supporting youth outreach programs like Kids into Discovering Science (KiDS) and the Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship (SLEWS) Program, because exposure to field experience is less common for many children in underserved and underprivileged communities. We recognize that the path to opportunity in STEM starts at a young age. We can make STEM more inclusive by giving K-12 students a chance to explore science concepts and visit natural spaces like the UC Natural Reserves.
- Recruitment and retention of grad students and lab staff: We will advertise lab positions at minority-serving institutions and HBCUs. To better support BIPOC students who have already matriculated at Davis, we will be active advocates for grad student rights and support, especially funding access, to make grad school a realistic proposition for students regardless of their economic background. Ensuring that grad student wages can pay for rent and living expenses is essential to the retention of underrepresented individuals in academia.
- Participate in DEI-focused mentorship programs: We commit to mentoring students from underrepresented groups. Lab members will become involved with one or more local or non-local organizations (2). Examples of effective mentorship actions include serving as a science peer mentor (through ESTEME, MUSE) or trip leader (through GOALS); connecting undergraduate organizations (like ESA SEEDS) with access to UC Natural Reserves, or joining them for a field trip; advertising internship opportunities at the UCD Undergraduate Research Center; serving on a grad student panel for a DEI-focused mentorship organization.
- Attend conferences and support conference programs focused on DEI: Lab members and affiliates are encouraged to attend conferences that focus on DEI (3). Lab members will include these conferences as a budget item in grant proposals (Jastro, NSF, GSA Travel Awards, etc.). We will create and maintain a lab calendar keeping track of these events and remind each other about registration deadlines.
- Self-education: We are committed to shifting our own belief systems and implicit biases, especially any that contribute to an unwelcoming environment for BIPOC and other marginalized students and trainees. This is a life-long commitment that includes: stepping back, thereby taking time to listen to different experiences and perspectives; self-reflecting and making efforts to identify and remove embedded biases; and taking responsibility for any actions that may harm others.
We believe the above actions are some of the most important steps to making academia, and the broader community, more inclusive and equitable.
Here are links to resources we've assembled to help us meet this goals: