Starting a New Graduate Student Org

Since there's not many scientists of color in our respective programs, I was thinking that starting an organization for minority brain scientists would provide a social base for ourselves as well as for minority students in future cohorts.

By making it official, we'd have access to resources offered by the university, such a space reservations and money for events.

I was thinking that we'd get together everyone other few weeks to see what we're up to and have a space where we can have a brew and talk about the good and the bad of being a minority in the brain sciences.

As we develop and build long-term cohesion, we can move on to more productive goals, like mentoring and outreach through minority serving high-school and undergraduate research programs (e.g. Summer Bridge, MARC, SURF, UC LEADS, etc.). In addition, we can coach students into applying for travel awards to conferences aimed at minority STEM students (e.g. ABRCMS, SACNAS, NCORE)

I think that one of the biggest issues with minority student retention within academia is cultural incompatibility and isolation. We come from different backgrounds than everybody else, with most of us being first-generation college students. The institution might not feel comfortable saying it, but our academic experience is different. Conversations on race and culture are stifled by an old-guard establishment that believes the path to tenure is based solely on merit, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that minority faculty have a lower likelihood of reaching tenure, with women in that group having the least likelihood.

So let's stand up and create a community where we can find out together where exactly academia fails students like us. We can directly address the lack of mentorship for minority students. There's so much knowledge that even first years can disperse to undergraduates interested in STEM grad programs. Hopefully, we can persuade some of our mentees into following the awesome path of the brain sciences.

To get this ball rolling however, we need a name!

Current suggestions:
Cognition in Color (CoCo)
BrainBow (BB)

About Christian

Neuroscientist at UC San Diego

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