Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI)
In the workplace
I aim to create an environment where everyone can bring their authentic selves. My goal as a mentor is to build individual pathways to success. I especially aim to make my future research group/work group accessible to people who are underrepresented in science, including individuals with disabilities - both visible and invisible. Up to 27 percent of individuals have a disability (cdc.gov) and any of us at any time could gain a disability. Whether an individual has a neurodiverse condition, is a wheelchair user, is Deaf or hard-of-hearing, is blind, lives with sickle cell anemia, experiences frequent migraine headaches or fibromyalgia pain - we are all one when we focus on science. By providing advocacy support and remaining open to different perspectives, we can underpin successful learning and creative problem solving to build scientific career pathways for all individuals. We need human diversity for science to continue to flourish.
Mentoring people with disabilities, whether hidden or visible, requires special considerations for the needs of individuals. Here are some resources for hearing mentors who are interested in mentoring students who are Deaf or hard of hearing. As a person with a hearing loss since birth, I am learning American Sign Language (ASL) and Chinese Sign Language (CSL) to aim to become a more efficient advocate for Deaf students and scientists. Everyone can take simple steps to understand how to advocate for people with a range of disabilities and for those who are underrepresented in science and in the general workforce.
Ecological Society of America
Equity and Excellence in Ecology Endowment
In the field
I partner with indigenous people in my scientific research as much as possible. Working with indigenous people has exposed me to traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and ways of thinking that provide insights into ecology that is not taught in the classroom. As well, sacred belief systems can help us to improve our stewardship of the earth's ecosystems. Uplifting cultural, spiritual, and scientific exchanges is important, especially with issues such as climate change making us consider the survival of our planet. We must listen to not only scientifically-generated data but also TEK --- and act together with indigenous people to advocate for the earth's ecosystems.
Fieldwork in Meilixueshan mountain range (H. Fair 2009-2018)