By Alexandra Hernandez

A mi gente,

Science is a place where we do not always feel that we belong. I began to experience that for the very first time during college. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida (a predominantly Latin community) as the daughter of Cuban immigrants with complicated histories . My dad was born in the United States but raised in Cuba, and my mom was born in Colombia, where her family had fled from Cuba’s political system and raised in Puerto Rico. …

By Rosaura Dominguez-Rebollar, Jessica S. Saucedo, Tatiana Elisa Bustos

As three Latinas representing Central and Mexican American peoples and first-generation doctoral students, we often feel pressure to assimilate to the culture inherent in academic spaces. Two of us (Jessica and Rosaura) love to wear colorful embroidered clothing to honor our Mexican roots. Within the Hispanic-serving institutions we attended, it was normal for Latinx students to display their cultural heritage in this way.

However, moving to the Midwest and starting graduate school at a predominantly White institution (PWI) made us question our choices. We are often hesitant to wear our embroidered…

By Ruth Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills, PhD and Jennifer Harrington, MS

Willow Research Team (2017)

More and more, Native Americans are entering STEM fields, but there is still a lack of representation in the classroom. Most higher education institutions are guided by western worldviews, which lack culturally relevant inclusion and support strategies for Native American students and faculty.

As two Native American women in STEM fields, we have seen the need for representation and inclusion in our field firsthand — as graduate students, professionals, and as researchers.

We know that the challenges present for Native American students in STEM are not necessarily challenges for all…

By Tyson Pankey, PhD, MPH

In fall 2013, I started my six-year journey towards a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Less than a year prior to that, I began my social transition as a transman of color. While I found freedom in my newly affirmed gender identity, I also felt uncomfortable, self-conscious, and uncertain of what lay ahead in my novice Black male body. My clothes fit poorly and my reflection in the mirror showed someone half my chronological age (thanks, second puberty). Moreover, my trans identity remained invisible (or concealed) to most. The world around me expected a sure-footed, assertive…

By María Elisa Terrón, PhD

A volunteer Mentor-Judge listens to a student presenting their research at SACNAS’ National Diversity in STEM Conference. SACNAS volunteers provide approximately 7,000 hours of service to SACNAS each year.

During my PhD program, I turned to volunteering to find a sense of community that was lacking in the laboratory and in the institution in general. Many people seek out volunteer opportunities to learn new skills, develop a network, lend their time and talents, or anything else. These experiences can be deeply rewarding, but they can also fall short of their promise.

In one instance, a museum I’d volunteered with regularly had planned a large family activity and I was asked to make announcements in English and then translate them to Spanish on a microphone…in…

By Janani Hariharan

Este artículo también está disponible en español a mitad de página.

I was ten and walking with my Ammama (grandmother) through her kitchen garden when I spotted vibrant green moss growing on the bricks. “How do mosses grow and make baby mosses?”, I wanted to ask except that I didn’t know the words for moss or reproduction in Tamizh, the language that we use to speak to each other. Instead, I pointed at the green patches and struggled to frame the question with my limited vocabulary.

This struggle to communicate still continues even though my knowledge of…

By Dante O’Hara

A few months after Trayvon Martin was killed in 2012, I was attending the National Society of Black Engineers convention, where they held a ceremony and told everyone to wear a hoodie as a performative gesture. This was a Black-space where, if you didn’t have a high GPA, there were no internships or jobs, and recruiters would laugh in your face if you had anything below a 3.0 (that was me). Students were mostly there to ingratiate themselves to corporate managers to find the perfect internship or full-time job after college. It was a strange mix of…

By Alex Jensen

The author Alex (left) and Sofia Carrillo (right) setting up a wildlife camera on the Central Coast of California. Sofia was part of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program wherein students at community colleges are paired with researchers at four-year institutions for the summer (and paid!).

The calling to join the field of environmental science and natural resources (ENR) started early for me; I grew up on a ranch on the Central Coast of California where wild things were part of life. There were close encounters with rattlesnakes as thick as my calf, and feral pigs in our front yard. One time, I remember hearing a puma scream from the shrub-choked gulley just below our house — I was shook, but it also made me curious. What was it doing? Where does it move?

It was this experience and countless others that made…

By Almaris Alonso-Claudio, PhD

Dr. Margiold Linton speaking during the Founders & Elders panel at 2018 SACNAS — The National Diversity in STEM Conference

I was born in Puerto Rico; a US Commonwealth territory located in the Caribbean, and raised in Barrio Esperanza in Arecibo, a gorgeous place surrounded by beautiful mountains, rivers, and caves. I am a multiethnic descendant of Taino, the Arawak natives’ inhabitants of the Caribbean, Africans, and Spaniards. This gorgeous genetic pool, shaken with Salsa and mixed with spices, define my ethnicity as Hispanic with a proud identity as; Boricua (bôˈrēkwə) or Puerto Rican, a terminology derived from the name “Borikén” the Taino’s gave the Island, later renamed as “Porto Rico” (Puerto Rico), respectively.

Finding a…


Dedicated to advancing Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in science. Science, culture, and community in the movement for true diversity in STEM.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store