Gender Diversity Symposium champions inclusivity in science


How can we promote a culture of openness and inclusivity in the sciences? This was a key question posed at our recent Diversity Symposium, hosted by the Gender Diversity Group at CeMESS – the Blenders – alongside the University of Vienna Doctoral School in Microbiology and Environmental Science.

Professors Sara Brownell and Katelyn Cooper from Arizona State University led the discussion with insights from their research. Their work explores how stigmatized identities, like LGBTQI+ and mental health status, are perceived and talked about in the natural sciences. They also test the outcomes when faculty members in science disclose these stigmatized identities to their students.

Their findings? Openness can enhance the student experience, fostering a greater sense of belonging and connectedness among students. Their work makes a compelling case for transparency and its positive influence on student wellbeing.

The symposium attracted a diverse group from the Vienna BioCenter community, including students and faculty, and sparked meaningful dialogue inspired by the case studies presented. The presentations by Brownell and Cooper provided food for thought and were well-received, leading to an enriching exchange of ideas.

This event marked a milestone as the first initiative organised by The Blenders, reflecting a growing commitment within CeMESS to foster a more inclusive and diverse scientific community.