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As a minority student in Academia, I strive to actively work towards breaking down the systemic barriers that scientists of color face. Please take a moment to read my diversity statement. Your thoughts are appreciated. 

Diversity Statement


I became a minority when I moved to the United States at the age of 12. Until then, I lived in Mexico surrounded by people who looked like me, and who shared my culture and language. Even after moving to Tucson, Arizona—a city with a prominent Mexican influence—I found a community of children of immigrants with whom to experience the shock of moving to a new country and having to learn a new language. I did not truly feel like an outsider until I reached higher education, where factors such as systemic under-citation [1] and under-appreciation of innovative work by scientists of color [2], as well as discriminatory hiring practices [3] have resulted in little representation of BIPOC, and in particular of other Latinas (only 4% of tenured or tenure-track professors are Latinas). As a result, I have navigated my academic career with the handicap of feeling underrepresented, and at times, undeserving of the opportunity. While this continues to be the case, I have had the fortune of being guided by mentors who believe in the benefit that my unique perspective can bring to their work. Therefore, I know first-hand the difference that good mentorship can make in a student’s career.

Given my experiences while navigating college, I have felt the responsibility to provide the guidance that I lacked to other minority and/or low-income students who are facing similar issues. As an undergraduate student, I mentored Latine middle school students with an interest in STEM with the hope of showing them that they too can get to higher education. I have also mentored other young adults from my community in Mexico who have set out to study in US universities, as well as other undergraduates in my previous labs and in my department, with whom I have shared the knowledge and resources that I wish I had before. As a graduate student, I continue to look for such opportunities to support others through their undergraduate research and graduate school applications, while also improving my mentorship skills. As a testament to this commitment, I have been mentoring undergraduate research assistants in my lab as they complete their independent projects, and I’m involved in creating a mentorship program through the graduate student organization Comunidad Latinx in which graduate students from Latine backgrounds will serve as mentors to Latine undergraduate students. My experience as a first-generation American, a woman of color in Academia, and as a low-income and neurodivergent student allow me to connect and relate to different groups of people—a connection that grants me the opportunity to also provide them with the support that I lacked as I worked my way to graduate school.

While my career goals are largely driven by my love for science and expanding our knowledge of the human mind, the opportunity that a career in academia would grant me to be part of increasing the representation of Latine scholars and to contribute to moving the field in a direction of diversity and inclusion continues to be a motivating factor. However, I am aware that my intersecting identities as a woman and a person of color can lower my chances of succeeding in this field. Therefore, I am motivated to help change the practices that have led to inequity in academia, both for myself and for others who share these identities. As a graduate student in the Psychology department, I participate in the graduate student Diversity and Inclusion Committee to implement initiatives that foster an inclusive environment in our department for people of all backgrounds and increase our sense of belonging. Like many others, I am still learning about the different ways in which I can help my colleagues from underrepresented backgrounds succeed in science. I recently became aware of the vast problem of under-citation of authors of color and the under-appreciation of our work. As we know, citations can impact our chances of obtaining faculty positions. For this reason, I aim to be more intentional in citing literature by other authors of color and in highlighting their work whenever possible. I strongly believe that there is innovation in diversity that is greatly beneficial to the progress of our field. Following on the footsteps of my mentors, my goals include being an active part of that progress and supporting others so that they too can be part of that movement. With the field moving towards increasing representation and embracing diversity, I aim to be an agent of change, both as a mentor and in amplifying the voices of other scholars from groups that have been historically marginalized in Academia. 


[1] Bertolero, M. A., Dworkin, J. D., David, S. U., Lloreda, C. L., Srivastava, P., Stiso, J., ... & Bassett, D. S. (2020). Racial and ethnic imbalance in neuroscience reference lists and intersections with gender. BioRxiv.

[2] Hofstra, B., Kulkarni, V. V., Galvez, S. M. N., He, B., Jurafsky, D., & McFarland, D. A. (2020). The diversity–innovation paradox in science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(17), 9284-9291.

[3] Clauset, A., Arbesman, S., & Larremore, D. B. (2015). Systematic inequality and hierarchy in faculty hiring networks. Science advances, 1(1), e1400005.

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