As graduate students who work with undergrads both in the lab and in class, you have an important role to play in encouraging young talent to pursue careers in science. Are you doing enough on this front? Might implicit biases be affecting how much support you give to one student or another?
In this New York Times Magazine piece, titled “Why Are There Still So Few Women In Science?“, Eileen Pollack discusses her experience as a Physics major in the late 1970s, and her efforts to discover how much things have changed for female would-be-scientists today. Dr. Pollack argues that “[t]he most powerful determinant of whether a woman goes on in science might be whether anyone encourages her to go on.”
Over time, graduate students tend to model the behavior and attitudes of their advisors, which is only natural after a long apprenticeship. This is a tried-and-true method for learning the trade of an academic, but one of the potential downsides is the transmission of bias and problematic behavior from generation to generation of sciences. This blog post, aptly titled “Don’t Be That Dude: Handy Tips for the Male Academic“, covers some important concepts that you may not yet be familiar with.