Welcome to bio-DIVERSITY!

Welcome to bio-DIVERSITY! Here we emphasize the importance of DIVERSITY in the bio-logical sciences and celebrate it. Yes, we are all biologists, but we are all more than that and no two of us are the same. This fact contributes to the successful pursuit of knowledge: unique perspectives that employ innovative approaches to investigate innumerable questions about our biosphere. Our strength is in our differences which are brought together by our shared awe of the living world. Our backgrounds (cultures, languages, nationalities, genders and all of the circumstances of our lives that together define our identities) influence the questions we ask, how and why we ask them and all aspects of practicing science. It is the joint effort of these distinct and brilliant minds dedicated to an array of specialized topics that allows us to progress ever so gradually toward an understanding of life.

So, at bio-DIVERSITY we are deliberate in showcasing the work of diverse scientists from under-represented groups including but not limited to minorities, women, LGBTQ+, persons with disabilities, first-generation and low-income individuals. We leave it to you to self-identify and we assert that every identity contributes to diversity. You do not have to belong to one of the aforementioned groups to understand and advance the goals of bio-DIVERSITY. We welcome anyone who is sincerely dedicated to making the biological sciences a safe space for all, especially for those that have traditionally been excluded.

With this site, we aim to work toward this goal in the following ways:

(1) Building a supportive network for current under-represented students and professionals that focuses on sharing interests, experiences and providing advice for navigating scientific careers

We encourage biologists (including students!) to contribute content related to their personal and professional experiences in the biological sciences. Bring your whole identity to our network. The possibilities for sharing are limitless. Provide a list of your favorite science podcasts or interesting folks to follow on science twitter and tell us why we should tune in. Consider writing an accessible blog: long (essay), short (1-2 paragraphs) or anything in between on a topic that interests you (e.g., recent advances in biotechnology or the occurrence of viral genes in animal genomes). You can even contribute an update on a topic you’ve previously written about. Maybe you just want to share what you are currently working on in the lab or describe your research program! Presenting advice columns relevant to your specific sub-discipline can be invaluable for interested students (e.g., Things to consider before applying to veterinary school or Why undergraduate research experiences are important). Commentary on the state of diversity in the profession is also welcome (e.g., racial and gender bias in postdoc hiring or the compound effects on intersectional identities). You can also share a personal story about your science journey (e.g., the importance of a particular mentor in your success as a student or why you decided to leave academia). We understand that sometimes experiences are difficult but important to share, so contributions can also be published anonymously when needed.

(2) Showcasing research and accomplishments by under-represented biologists

Have you recently finished your degree? Published a new article? Has your research been featured in the news? Did you receive a new grant or award? Tell us about it. We want to celebrate you and your accomplishments. Summarize your latest findings and provide links to your published works. Describe your recently funded research project. Gush about the recognition you’ve received for your contributions to the field. Brag about your student’s successful thesis defense. Let’s show the world what diverse scientists bring to the table!

(3) Supporting under-represented groups’ participation in the biological sciences by providing a forum for sharing educational and research opportunities

As the project grows, we will work on providing a forum for sharing opportunities for under-represented students and professionals. Consider posting summer research positions or job postings to the list-serv. Or you can try recruiting promising students, postdocs or scientists from our directory. Did someone contribute a blog post that you found interesting? Reach out to them for a potential collaboration.

(4) Facilitating connections between under-represented students and professionals at local, national and international research conferences

We hope that strengthening the broader community of under-represented biologists through a web-based forum increases the opportunity to find shared experience, mentorship and hopefully helps to mitigate the isolation commonly felt by under-represented students and professionals. However, we don’t want interactions to be limited to this social medium. Our goal is for connections made on bio-DIVERSITY to lead to meetings in person. We think this is especially feasible at research conferences, so we will develop “roll-calls” with the help of our members. Let us know what conferences you attend so that we can find each other!

Ultimately, this site will serve as a repository of original and curated content that promotes and celebrates diversity in the biological sciences. We will post mini-features of new members on our Instagram (bio_diversify) and Twitter (@OurBioDiversity) to illustrate the diversity of working biologists and to show future students that there is a place for them in biology. Going forward, our goal is to include perspectives from diverse biologists at every stage in academia, industry, NGOs and related sectors. We hope that you will join us today!

Janet Buckner