Our lab is committed to diversity, equity and support
The O’Connor Lab acknowledges the systemic discrimination imposed on minoritized groups in Western society, including black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) and members of the LGBTQ2+ community. North America’s colonial history has resulted in deep intergenerational trauma that makes many opportunities inaccessible to members of minoritized groups no matter how talented, motivated, or hard-working they are. These systemic inequities, paired with implicit biases and subtle racism have resulted in a lack of representation of many groups within academia, including the fields of ecology and evolution.
Our lab group is committed to acknowledging and correcting discriminatory biases within ourselves, and to breaking down systemic inequities in the field of ecology and evolution.
We encourage individuals of all genders, sexual identities, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds to join our lab team. We acknowledge that people from minoritized backgrounds may not have access to time and resources that allow individuals from more privileged groups to excel (e.g. the availability and financial security to volunteer in a lab, the time and opportunity to get a high undergrad GPA, English language proficiency, and others), and firmly believe that these attributes are not good indicators of a person’s ability to be a successful scientist.
We are committed to creating a safe and supportive lab community for individuals of all backgrounds by condemning racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, and bigoted behaviour, and providing financial, professional, and emotional support to everyone.
Commitment to action
Acknowledging these inequities in science, and in light of the recent murders of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others who have lost their lives to the ongoing racism against BIPOC, we as a lab group commit to the following (as of June 10, 2020):
Support during challenging times
Our lab is committed to supporting each others' academic success and wellbeing. Graduate school - and academic life in general - can be very challenging.
If you are struggling, reaching out and receiving help as soon as possible is the most important thing you can do. We seek to provide a safe, confidential, and supportive network to help share the mental burdens of academic life.
It is also helpful to learn more about mental wellness and the resources available to you if you are going through a difficult time. In addition to helping each other through peer support and mentorship, here are some resources for dealing with personal challenges that arise while in grad school (or life in general):
Finally, for general advice on thriving in graduate school, here's a blog post on getting into (and surviving) your life as a grad student.
The lab as a support network
Page in development. Last modified June 12, 2020.