DEI Webinar: Intentionally Building Inclusive Spaces for Queer Scientists

Intentionally Building Inclusive Spaces for Queer Scientists

Co-hosted by the SMM and Absolutely Smashing Event and Consulting’s Mindful Conservation
on Thursday, 18 November 2021
12 PM–2 PM Eastern Daylight Savings Time

To highlight matters of diversity, inclusion and equity (DEI) within the SMM, the ad hoc Diversity and Inclusion Committee are organising a series of DEI-related webinars. The first, focused on Internship Equity can be found here. The second, on challenges and successes of conducting research in Southeast Asia can be found here.

About the Event

The advancement of ocean science and marine conservation success ultimately relies on the well-being of the scientists involved. This well-being largely depends on our scientific community providing a safe and supportive space for scientists and conservation practitioners to work in. There are large number of LGBTQ+ scientists within our community that often face prejudice, exclusion, and discrimination. Success of the whole community depends on diversity, equity, and inclusion. In this webinar we seek to promote understanding of the issues and struggles our LGBTQ+ scientists face, and work towards solutions to problems and barriers that they face. 

The webinar opened with a presentation of the language of identity by Zeke Gonzalez that discussed definitions in the queer community and the challenges that queer people in STEM who are out face. The panel then shared stories and thoughts in a discussion on a variety of topics covering the dangers of field work and travel, problems of intersectionality and heteronormative privilege, and the emotional load and time commitment of queer people who are frequently tapped to represent the community in DEI activities. The webinar ended on notes stressing the  the importance of support for the queer community from faculty, universities, and the wider STEM field in general.


Speakers and Panelists

Zeke Gonzalez (he/him/his)
Zeke Gonzalez is a queer graduate student in the Carleton lab at the University of Maryland studying cichlid color vision and reproductive behavior. Besides his passion for sexual selection, Zeke is also a swim coach and gives talks at local schools with arthropod specimens from the UMD Insect Zoo. He spends his free time hosting horror movie night with his friends and colleagues, trying out new games, and training for a triathlon.
Dr. Daniel M. Palacios (he/him/his)
Dr. Daniel Palacios is an Associate Professor with the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University, where he leads the Whale Habitat, Ecology & Telemetry Lab. He hails originally from Colombia, and his research addresses questions dealing with the large-scale (“seascape”) ecology of top marine predators in relation to ocean processes, including interactions with the environment, with other species, and with human activities.
Annabel Gong (they/them)
Annabel Gong is a master’s student at the University of San Diego studying the movement of the shovelnose guitarfish and California bat ray along the Southern California coast. Annabel is also the co-host of the podcast LGBTQ+ STEM Cast, a podcast where they interview LGBTQ+ identifying STEM professionals from around the world. Annabel is a huge shark enthusiast and is currently applying to PhD positions to continue their work in shark and ray movement ecology.
Panel Planners and Moderators

Dr. Heather Penney
Heather Penney is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Memorial University in Newfoundland Canada. She is an evolutionary ecologist currently working on sea cucumbers. Outside of her primary job she helps plan conferences and workshops.

Dr. Ashley Scarlett, Founder of Absolutely Smashing Events and Consulting
Ashley Scarlett is a scientist that specializes in marine mammal science and science communication. She is a consultant of social media, product or service promoting, video & podcast production (editing, hosting, etc), outreach, events planning, and her favorite mindful conservation advocacy.

Please direct any questions or comments about the webinar to Dr. Ashley Scarlett.

If you have suggestions for future webinars in this series, please direct them to the SMM ad hoc Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

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