Statement on diversity and inclusion

I have been dedicated to using my position of privilege to bring science literacy and access to my community. In the past, I have been fortunate to work with middle school students in the classroom, developing hands-on lessons on plant biology, genetics, and ecology with other graduate students at the University of Georgia. I worked to start a Girls Who Code club in Athens, GA, which gave me an opportunity to develop coding lesson plans and modify the course to meet the needs of the students. I have loved judging at the state science fair, working with local Girl Scouts, and mentoring first-generation undergraduates in the lab.  


While my efforts to encourage underrepresented groups in STEM has been rewarding and meaningful, these efforts do not address systemic biases that lead to impediments for women and persons of color in STEM fields [1,2,3,4]. I have felt these effects firsthand. My goal as a scientist, and as a member of a broader community, is to use my position to influence my community for the better. This means I pay attention (and will complain about) invited speaker diversity. This means supporting marginalized groups by calling out biases in myself and others. This means mentoring students in a way that provides them not only scientific support, but advocacy as well, and critically thinking about how I approach teaching students from diverse background [5]. Diversifying STEM can succeed only by making it inclusive as well.

Courses taught

  • PBIO/BINF 8350 - Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (graduate level, Spring 2017). Co-instructor of record

  • PBIO 2000 - Plant-based solutions to societal problems (undergraduate, Spring 2016). Seminar, helped design and implement 4 lessons. 

  • PBIO 1210L - Principles of Plant Biology for non-majors lab course (undergraduate, Fall 2015). Instructor of record.

  • PBIO/BINF 8350 - Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (graduate level, Spring 2014). Teaching assistant.

K-12 outreach

Girl Scouts Computer Science Badge activity​ (lesson plan here

7th grade active learning science lessons (I post these here, but many people contributed!)

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heyduk at hawaii dot edu