We were challenged by #Strike4BlackLives and #ShutdownSTEM to work on ways to further support Black and Brown people of color in STEM. Reading #BlackIntheIvoryTower tweets about POC experiences in STEM inspired us to take action.
As a group, we strive to increase access to STEM education for people of color (POC), young and old. Access to education can create long-lasting and far-reaching effects to communities. We are starting an initiative to increase participation of POC in scientific societies. Recently, statistics about the drastically low number of POC in Ecology and Evolution were highlighted (Graves, 2019). Similarly, for entomology we know that the numbers of POC graduate students is low, compared to the number of POC in the general population; for example, the NSF reports that of graduate students in entomology/parasitology, only 2.3% are Black, 4.8% are Hispanic/Latinx, and 0.17% are Pacific Islander (NSF Demographic Report, 2016; 16% of entomology graduate students are POC). For graduate students in general, the cost of membership to scientific organizations may be a barrier to participation.
Our group, Entomologists for People of Color, has created a movement, @EntoPOC (#EntoPOCFund), which strives to close this gap by providing POC paid memberships to various entomological societies, making participation, scientific communication and outreach more inclusive to POC.
Why focus on society memberships? By sponsoring a POC scientists membership here, you are providing an entomology student of color with STEM resources, and community activities that will help them become lifelong insect lovers. Membership to scientific societies allows participation in networking events, provides access to publications and other member-restricted scientific content, and reduced meeting costs.