Increasing Diversity in Biology

Integrating Concepts in Biology

I want to share this senior student comment (with permission) after reading the new section that my intro bio students will read soon. The section deals with human evolution and race. I think this student’s comments are insightful and could stimulate more STEM courses to embrace, rather than avoid, topics of race, sex/gender (Chapter 15.5 + ELSI) and the anthrome (Chapter 30.4 + ELSI). If we want to recruit/retain a diverse population of STEM majors, we must fill the void felt by this student, and many others.

As a minority student in STEM, reading about the issues that affect people of color in the context of biology is inviting and comforting. In my experience, the manner in which biological sciences are taught tends to be whitewashed, and as a result students of color flock towards disciplines like public health and anthropology to fill that sociocultural void. While it isn’t reasonable for all STEM courses to extensively address the social impacts of systemic racism, learning about topics like race-based medicine and the genetic basis of skin color are particularly relevant and important, especially for the future doctors and healthcare professionals that make up a majority of Biology majors at Davidson.