It is often said that Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields have a “leaky pipeline” for first generation, women, and especially BIPOC students. Contrary to this analogy, what we fail to say is that many of these students either cannot enter the pipeline to begin with or are—either actively or passively—pushed out once they are in it. We believe this fact is consistent with multiple longstanding issues, several of which are born from a tradition of white supremacy (either conscious or unconscious) and privilege of the majority people within these fields. Even the most supportive people in these areas typically haven never experienced the challenges that are experienced by the people they are attempting to serve.
It is no secret that both the Eugene community and the University of Oregon is far from the most diverse places one can choose to study. The CSN Lab is a group of scientists who are interested studying self and identity using the scientific method. “Self and identity” are fundamentally heterogeneous topics, and our ability to scientifically study these phenomena with the accuracy expected of us requires—very literally, requires—our work to incorporate view points from people who live those identities. We have failed in these efforts and want to take concrete steps to change this.
In the Computational Social Neuroscience Lab, we commit to fight against these pervasive issues by welcoming all people, but especially under represented minorities and BIPOC students, to join us to learn, contribute, and get support to do real scientific work with us.
Beyond the laboratory, we also commit to providing resources for BIPOC and other under represented minority students for both learning more about our field and opportunities to get involved that include financial support (one of the biggest barriers to entries in STEM).
We recognize that these steps are very small and barely scratch the surface our issues of racism and inclusivity in STEM much less the more general issues BIPOC face in every aspect of their lives. We are also bound to make missteps as we attempt to do our part in providing concrete solutions to these systemic problems. As such, we also commit to continuing to educate ourselves on these topics and make changes necessary to meet these goals.
CSN Lab Opportunities
If you are potentially interested in a career in psychology or neuroscience, getting hands-on laboratory experience is one the things most heavily weighted in graduate school and professional researcher assistant applications. If you are interested in this, please email Dr. Chavez (firstname.lastname@example.org) with inquiries. Don’t be shy! We are excited and eager to hear from you.
Many students volunteer for these positions to get their foot in the door for these experiences. However, many students do not know that you can actually get paid or receive other financial resources for getting involved in this work. Below are some links to some of these opportunities that may be particularly relevant to many BIPOC students who are hoping to get more deeply involved with our lab (and many other research group) on campus.
Work-Study Program: Earn money by working in the lab! Must be eligible, but hours can be flexible to fit you schedule.
Diversity Excellence Scholarship: Annual awards of $6,500 for undergraduate students that is described as, “recognizes the academic achievement and potential of students who, through sharing their varied cultural perspectives, will enhance the education of all UO students and the excellence of the University.”
Student Support Services – TRIO Program: Federally funded resources for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds related to socioeconomic background, educational record, and other personal situations that may create additional challenges and disadvantages during their education.
The SPARK Society – “The SPARK Society’s mission is to establish a society of Cognitive Scientists of color that improves the visibility of its membership and creates mentorship opportunities for junior cognitive psychologists of color.”
Black In Neuro – “Celebrating Black excellence in neuro-related fields.”