FAQ

Why didn’t you create a “white speakers” blog?

A – Because no one has ever asked me how to find white speakers or has expressed any difficulty with finding them.

What do you mean by “underrepresented?”

A – Ethnic / racial groups that are not traditionally / stereotypically associated with research science. Due to social habits these speakers, although extremely talented and accomplished, are often overlooked when invitations to speak at conferences are distributed by conference committees.

Why not focus on the underrepresentation of women?

A – Women are also often overlooked when committees seek podium speakers. The disparity is glaring given that the human population is approximately 50% women. Even considering the fact that a smaller proportion of senior scientists are women, many conferences still fall short of reflecting that number in their speaker line-ups. Please visit the women speaker’s list for Synthetic Biology which is hosted by the Engineering Biology Research Consortium, which I help to curate as an EBRC Board Member.

Someone added my name but I prefer not to be listed. My reasons are my own. How do I remove my name?

A – Please contact me (simply state “I prefer not to be listed, thank you.”) and I will remove it, no judgement passed and no questions asked. However, if someone else nominates you, I will have to let that person know that you requested not to be listed so that they understand that I am not simply ignoring their nomination. If you change your mind later, I will happily repost your name.

How does one identify someone as a speaker or scientist “of Color?”

A – Here, “speaker or scientist of color” is based on the underrepresented minority (URM) groups defined by the NSF: American Indian or Alaska Native, Black or African-American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. See the NSF’s data that quantifies the underrepresentation of these groups here: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showpub.cfm?TopID=2&SubID=27. It is also important that they self-identify  as a scientist of color. Direct dialogue with them and sometimes their website or cv *may* indicate self-identification: memberships in URM societies, URM fellowships and awards, mention of being URM STEM, etc.