Neuroscience and Social Justice

Neuroscience and Social Justice Webinar
Posted on 03/25/2021
Neuroscience

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How does a kid from Compton, CA embark on a life-long journey and academic career path to Full Professor in Neurobiology? The answer is simple: Access, Mentorship and Advocacy. Dr. Gentry Patrick’s experiences as a first-generation college student doubting that he belonged, and the many emotions that colored his story, shaped his STEM- and self-identity as they developed and merged. His access to education—a master’s degree from UC San Francisco, a doctoral degree from Harvard University and postdoctoral training at Caltech—transformed his life. He turned his love of neuroscience into a mission of (re-)creating those opportunities for the next generations of underrepresented students from backgrounds like his. This is of course the right thing to do. Everyone should have the same opportunities. However, a failure to do better is also an opportunity lost to science. Research on creativity, innovation, and problem solving has repeatedly shown that diverse teams are more successful than those that remain restricted to a singular vision of “who” can be a scientist. Awareness of this challenge has increased dramatically over the past year, alerting all of us to the need to strengthen science by creating a scientific community representative of the community in which we all live. Dr. Patrick’s story and his efforts call on all of us to empathize, innovate, and come together to do our part in shaping a better future for all students including those who remain underserved.

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