YOU ARE WELCOME HERE!
Growing up, I never thought I would be a scientist. Maybe it was the fact that no one in my family was a scientist. It always seemed much more possible to be a construction worker, florist, lawyer, musician, bank teller… pretty much anything else. If anybody had asked (they didn’t) I would have said scientists were intimidating people in lab coats who were way smarter than anybody else, worked in shiny buildings, and didn’t have any fun. It wasn’t until I started working in a lab after college that I realized scientists are just people— with the usual range of bad days, frivolous concerns, and occasional flashes of inspiration that make up the human condition. In fact, they don’t know what they’re doing a lot of the time and that is part of the fun! The point is, I never felt I would belong in science, and on my bad days, I still feel this way (as do many others— see here and here).
I grew up in a fairly affluent rural town in New Jersey. I had never had to worry about not having food on the table, not having access to good education, or being discriminated against for the color of my skin. I’ve had my share of difficulty, but no one explicitly told me I couldn’t be a scientist. Yet I still somehow got that message. I’m not sure I’d still be here without the many advantages I’ve had. My mission as a scientist and teacher is to make sure that I, and the institution I serve, break down barriers that have historically prevented underrepresented minorities from accessing educational resources and flourishing. I welcome people of all races, genders, economic backgrounds, and religions into the lab— let’s change science culture! I will work with the College of Arts and Sciences and Office of Institutional Diversity to make sure you have the support you need to thrive here. If anyone reading this has ideas how the lab can help engage with the community at large, and promote diversity at UKY, please get in touch!