Track: Special Session
This session aims to highlight and grow a supportive affinity and mentoring network for women and non-binary Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in ecology and evolutionary biology (EEB). Identity affinity groups can provide a vital professional service by uniting ecologists around a common culture, cause or interest. They can also help identify mentors, essential components to professional success. However, BIPOC in EEB struggle to find mentors that can provide culturally-specific advice and support regarding the intersectional experiences of women or non-binary BIPOC in EEB. This is because Ecology, as all other STEM disciplines, is a white-dominated space, with few BIPOC ecologists. This is unfortunate because one of the main barriers for retention of BIPOC scientists in academia, and other higher-education careers, is the absence of overall support -mentors included. These scholars experience unique barriers, which originate, fundamentally, from feelings of loneliness, emotional fatigue as a result of constant microaggressions and other implicit bias, and need of a community, which can be difficult to find in privilege-dominated spaces.
As such, in this session we will focus on how to create group mentoring networks and expand the existing WoCinEEB Slack community which aims to support BIPOC efforts to organize and discuss issues surrounding gender and race in a safe space. We aim to create a space for sharing and providing career advice and resources through the lens of intersectionality with the purpose of building a long-term supportive community of women and non-binary BIPOC in EEB across career stages.