The Minute for Diversity Slide

Leah T. Roe
26 June 2020

…is a slide during every person’s group meeting presentation about what makes you a diverse individual or a diversity topic you are passionate about. It is a quick moment at the start or end of every group meeting devoted to bringing awareness to our varied life experiences. The slide is meant to help us get to know colleagues beyond science, understand cultural differences, and develop respect for one another.

The idea was introduced to me as an undergraduate researcher at the Molecular Foundry, a national user facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Adapted from the Segalman lab, Ron Zuckermann and Rita Garcia introduced the Minute for Diversity slide to foster a welcoming community for a facility with constant flux of international scientists. In practice, it helps people feel more connected to one another by sharing something that would not normally come up in work conversation. Unintentionally, the slide also serves to get to know normally shy people and makes careers in science more accessible to younger lab members. I often find it to be the most memorable part of a person’s group meeting. It is up to the individual on how much they would like to share about themselves and whether they would like to keep it lighthearted or bring awareness to more serious issues.

A few I’ve seen over the years include:

Personal

  • Stories, pictures, traditions, foods, and cultural touchstones from how one grew up by proud community members
  • How to capture stunning photos by a photographer
  • Restaurant recommendations by a foodie
  • Travel advice on their home country by international scholars
  • Beautiful ceramics by an artist
  • How to check for tick bites by an outdoor enthusiast
  • Videos of salsa performances by a dancer
  • What to do if you are victim to a canine bite by a recently injured postdoc
  • Quarantine fashion by a bored graduate student

Awareness

  • Discrimination against marginalized people in STEM (Race, LGBTQIA+, gender identity, and more)
  • Mental health in STEM and on-campus resources
  • Open access initiatives in STEM
  • Personal data privacy
  • Voting
  • Team building, effectiveness, and efficiency

After leaving the Foundry, I have shared the practice with the labs I have affiliated with since and plan to continue this trend as I move through my training. I highly encourage PIs and learners to introduce the Minute for Diversity slide during your next group meeting, and make it a habit for everyone in subsequent meetings. I would love to see the day that this is the norm in academia.

Examples provided below with brief context from myself and several lab mates across the various labs I’ve worked in at UC Berkeley and UCSF.

Zuckermann Lab

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Created for a labmate who was having a bad day and “just wanted to see some puppies.” A lighthearted way to say I classify myself as a “mutt.” (NOT meant to promote eugenics!) - Leah Roe, Undergraduate Research Assistant

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I can’t thank my mom enough for having me take art classes since I was 7. Although I seldom practice art now (I’m working on improving this), I identify greatly with it. Art has brought me joy, therapy, sadness, a break from the sciences, but also a connection to the sciences (many chemical reactions are surely driven when your pot is in a kiln). Art has helped me identify my own uniqueness and to acknowledge the grand beauty in diversity— for that, I am eternally grateful. - Joselvin Galeas, Undergraduate Research Assistant

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I grew up in Guatemala, which is located in Central America. I enjoyed the Minute for Diversity section in lab meeting because it gave me the chance to talk about the country I’m from. - Virginia Garda, Undergraduate Research Assistant

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For my diversity slide, it was important for me to honor my family, in particular my parents and my grandmother who helped raise me. They taught me resilience, and supported me in taking on this research opportunity. While my dad was never allowed to go to college in China, he was always reading and learning, and I’m grateful he passed on that growth mindset to me. - Nancy Luo, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Fraser Lab

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For my own biracial identity - Chinese and Ashkenazi Jewish. The article describes how diverse knowledge and teams work together to problem solve more effectively. - Leah Roe, Junior Specialist

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While we should appreciate human progress by broad metrics, we need to scrutinize the world more deeply to root out the inequalities that are nevertheless widespread. - Hersh Bhargava, Biophysics Rotation Student

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For diversity I thought it best to understand where I come from. I grew up moving every couple of years with a hippie dippie mother bouncing about from festivals, Hawaii off the grid yurts, VW buses, Italy, and Northern California woods. The slides depict the somewhat hectic bopping about. - Willow Coyote-Maestas, Visiting Graduate Student

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I wanted to spend my time during quarantine learning something new since I couldn’t go into lab to do experiments. So I decided to learn how to make different cocktails. - Roberto Efraín (Robbie) Díaz, Tetrad Graduate Student

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A colleague of mine died by suicide and it caused me to start thinking about how students in academia feel, especially marginalized students. It prompted me to look at the literature about how we can overcome feelings of burnout and depression. - Roberto Efraín (Robbie) Díaz, Tetrad Graduate Student

If you are in need of mental health services or are in crisis, please reach out to Student Health and Counseling Services, Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, or Mental Health Board of San Francisco for immediate assistance.

Bondy-Denomy Lab

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A lifelong hobby - Tap dancing! It became an outlet for stress as I grew up. I also helped teach the PE tap dancing classes at UC Berkeley while I was an undergraduate. - Leah Roe, Junior Specialist

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I learned woodworking in high school and used it as an outlet before I started grad school. I learned how to make indoor and outdoor furniture and my family dinner table is one of my projects. - Matt Johnson, Bioinformatics Graduate Student

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The Spring Festival or Chinese New Year is approaching. According to the Chinese Zodiac cycle, 2020 is the mouse or rat year. Next is the Chinese Zodiac cycle that circles every12 years. Calculate what is your zodiac animal. Some traditions for Chinese New Year. Dumplings! It is more of a culture for northern Chinese, but not so much for southern Chinese actually. In some areas of China, people eat rice cakes or sticky rice balls with fillings (called Tang-Yuan) in Chinese New Year Eve. People set off firecrackers on CNY Eve and the morning of the new year. Traditionally, firecrackers were thought to scare away a monster that comes over during new year. “Chun-Lian” or Spring Festival Couplets are good wishes written on red papers and taped/glued around the doors. Some of the wishes are taken from ancient Chinese poetries. Even if not, they are often written in a poetic way. Lastly, lucky money!! Chinese culture (or east asian culture in general) values seniority. On CNY morning, we often visit our grandparents to “Bai-Nian” by saying good wishes and bowing to them, for instance wish them longevity and good health. In return, they give us lucky money in red envelopes to bless us a prosperous year. - Yuping Li, Postdoctoral Fellow

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Here, I show my California-based lab mates about how we prepare for hurricanes in Miami. Growing up, my parents and I would stock up on food and gas early to avoid price scalping and long lines. We would also install proper shutters, avoiding the unreliable “X” tape method. Though we never had an electric generator, this is a popular appliance for many during hurricane season, as the power will certainly be cut! - Senén Mendoza, Tetrad Graduate Student

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Here, I show off my quarantine hobby: fermentation. On the left side, I educated my labmates about the process for growing a sourdough starter from scratch and I show some of my mediocre results. On the right, I show my kombucha project, involving making a fresh SCOBY from scratch and preparing subsequent ferments for a tasty and refreshing treat. None of these experiments would have been possible without my assistants Salem and Lincoln (in the middle)! - Senén Mendoza, Tetrad Graduate Student

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