You can view my diversity philosophy here.
- Women's Support Network, Psychology & Neuroscience Department
- During my first-year seminar, we discussed diversity and inclusion efforts within Psychology & Neuroscience. Professor Elizabeth Marsh mentioned that in our field, being a woman was no longer considered a factor adding to faculty diversity. In 2016, this seemed short-sighted, given various issues women still face (see 2020 Perspectives paper). Moreover, it seemed to ignore intersectionality: an Arab woman like my mother would never only get evaluated as an Arab. Dr. Marsh approached me after class to ask whether I thought women in our Department were being supported. I followed up, and we eventually wrote and earned a Professional Development Grant from the Duke Graduate School together.
- Here is the final submitted grant as well as the impact report, with the list of events.
- I also wrote a blog post with attendees of our sponsored events on the value of writing groups.
- Writing & Other Events:
- Author & Attendee, Becoming a Better Teacher: Trans* Inclusive Pedagogy
- Attendee, Being an Ally: A Panel Discussion
- Attendee, Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom
- Attendee, DIBS Power Dynamics Workshops
- Attendee, panels & workshops at teaching-oriented conferences (e.g., specific talks that stuck with me: Drs. Stephanie Fryberg's presentation at NITOP 2020, Bryan Dewsbury's plenary at Elon TLC 2018, Chayla Haynes's "Debunking the Myth that the STEM Classroom is a Race-Neutral Space" at Elon TLC 2018)
- Women in Science and Engineering Group at Duke:
- Dr. Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta's research talk at Rutgers-Newark deeply impacted me, discusing e.g., how to inoculate women's self-concept in STEM through exposure to ingroup experts. My lab mate also often spoke of an undergraduate-graduate mentoring program that she was involved in. I knew that I wanted to find a similar program when I got to Duke, but it didn't exist. I formed one with Duke WiSE.
- I also briefly served as a planning committee member for this group.
- Women in Science & Scientists Promoting Equity and Knowledge
- Discussion Leader & Attendee, Women in Science book club, Rutgers-Newark
- Discussion Leader & Attendee, Scientists Promoting Equity and Knowledge, Duke
I cannot more highly recommend becoming involved in the community, as I found this to be a fulfilling part of my PhD education. One thing, for example, that still bothers me is that the only Arab-American female professor I have ever met was someone outside my field, introduced to me by the owner of a falafel store I frequented in Montclair, New Jersey. Seeing yourself reflected in your discipline is crucial. As is sharing the knowledge that we're being taught. Below is a selected list of outreach events I attended while in graduate school.
- Panelist on applying to graduate school, Psychology & Neuroscience, Duke University
- Curator, What do we think about when we think about intelligence?, Perkins Student Wall, Duke University
- Graduate and Professional Student Council Representative, serving as member of the Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee, Harassment Grievance Board, and Advocacy Committee
- Judge, NC Central Regional Science and Engineering Fair, Durham
- Kids table team leader, Duke Institute of Brain Sciences Brain Discovery Day
- Graduate mentor, US2020 Research Triangle Park STEM-focused Expo
- Volunteer presenter, Graduate Women in Science & NC Girl Scouts Technoquest, Meredith College
Had a great time @DukeBrain Discovery Day with fellow grad students like @ps_whitehead, helping kids make brain caps and understand motor adaptation! #scienceoutreach #brainawareness pic.twitter.com/tMYTyxnk57— Christina Bejjani (@chbejjani) April 15, 2018
I will not be able to list every resource oriented to diversity, equity, and inclusion. There is a meta resource of resources for cognitive neuroscience, but not one on this front (that I know of). Below I will list a few of the awards, websites, and organizations that I have come across again and again.
- Internal: Charles LaFitte Foundation grant opportunities (and with some signs of cultural change (hopefully))
- Internal: Duke chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanos and Native Americans in Science
- Internal: Duke BioCore program
- Internal: Drs. Sarah Gaither, Makeba Wilbourn, and Gregory Samanez-Larkin have an NSF grant that allows for undergraduate research experiences for underrepresented students.
- External (Cognitive Science): Spark Society (website, twitter)
- External: Black in Neuro (website, twitter)
- External: Queer in Neuro (twitter)
- External: Academics for Black Lives (website, twitter)
- External: #ShutDownSTEM & #ShutDownAcademia
- External (Opportunity): Women in Cognitive Science Networking Award for the Psychonomics conference
- External (Opportunity): J. Frank Yates Student Conference Award for the Psychonomics conference
- While I have never applied for the Yates award, I received the Graduate Travel Award and offer my application materials (statement, support letter) in case that is useful to you.
Finally, I can't quantify how important it is to read about diverse experiences and how deeply this has impacted me. The first time I read a book that featured an Arab character, I was in 10th grade, and this only occurred because of my teacher. Let's all work towards a more equitable future.