Celebrating Diverse Voices in Neuroscience: Introducing Project DiViNe
Kristen Frenzel and Ian A. Harrington
Institutions of higher education are meant to provide opportunities for the growth and development of their students. As student bodies have become more diverse it would seem to follow that institutional efforts to satisfy this obligation would likewise need to change. Despite increases in the numbers of historically underrepresented students entering higher education, the proportion of these students who graduate continues to lag behind that of students who are not historically underrepresented. As others have suggested, we believe the disparity between rates of matriculation and graduation parallels a disconnect between diversity and inclusion. Whereas the former is a relatively simple matter of access and demographic accounting, the latter concerns the lived experiences of students within our programs. Evidence suggests that the degree to which students feel valued within their programs can predict students’ success, persistence, and graduation from these programs. Here, in an effort to promote greater inclusion, we propose a new pedagogical resource designed to share the personal stories and scientific contributions of neuroscientists from historically underrepresented or marginalized groups. After providing some context for why these interventions are so important, we describe the general expectations of these profiles and, in an accompanying article in this same issue, provide a number of examples. By incorporating these stories into our curricula we would hope to increase the sense of belonging of historically underrepresented or marginalized students and to increase awareness of disciplinary diversity among their peers. Ultimately, by challenging a colorblind approach to science in general and to neuroscience in particular, we hope to change our collective assumptions about who neuroscientists are and can be.