Welcome to 2016! Our first topic is…


Yep. That’s our first optic.

No, seriously. Think about it.

What is diversity?

It’s a pretty important and fundamental question, but it’s also a tricky one when you stop to think about it.

What is diversity?

Is it always in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation? Are there other categories we should include? Educational level, expertise, geographic origin, socioeconomic background? According to the US Government:

The term “diversity” is used broadly to refer to many demographic variables, including, but not limited to, race, religion, color, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, age, education, geographic origin, and skill characteristics

So, yes, diversity is a pretty big word. Do we focus on single aspects of this; could others add to a diverse and more insightful group? What aspects of diversity are important for success? Or are additional aspects of diversity confusing, do they cloud the issue?

To me, such musings us back to another critical and fundamental question: Why is diversity important? 

Why do we care if STEM is diverse? How do we define that diversity? Why do we use those definitions? Is diversity like basic research: critical to societal/scientific progress, but hard to explain its contribution until years after an innovation has become integral to our lives (e.g. The Internet)? How will we know when we’ve achieved ‘enough‘ diversity?

These are interrelated questions, and they aren’t easy. But, hey! Let’s start 2016 off with a bang and get back to basics. For some reading before our discussion, we recommend coming back to a pretty introductory post:

Dr. Kenneth Gibbs on Diversity in STEM: What It Is and Why It Matters

Bring your ideas, thought, comments, questions, and join us for the very first DiveristyJC of 2016 on Twitter under the #DiversityJC hashtag, Friday 22 January from 2-3pm Eastern time*! All voices welcome (we do love diversity – in all its forms!)

A thank you to Mark (@NE14NaCl_aq) for the inspiration for this topic (at long last!)

Til then!

Dr. Emily K (@DrEmilySKlein)
Ian Street (@IHStreet)
Doctor PMS (@Doctor_PMS)

Note: The DiversityJC now has a newsletter that you can subscribe to. It will come out once a month and include the post introducing that month’s discussion topic, other blog posts Doctor_PMS, Emily Klein, and I write as well as other diversity relevant links from around the web. Link to subscribe is here.

*#DiversityJC discussions on Twitter happen the 3rd week of each month on Fridays from 2-3pm ET.


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