Diversity and Inclusion

Our lab embraces diversity in experience and thought, and we are committed to increasing the inclusion and equity of diverse people in our work and in STEM. We aim to center those who have been traditionally marginalized (i.e. under-represented minorities, URM) in the sciences, including (but not limited to) African American or Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and LGBTQ+ scientists, women, and religious minorities. Towards this goal, we abide by the following guidelines:

  1. We work to become aware of systemic bias against URM scientists, including our own implicit biases.
  2. We are inclusive of URM scientists and their work in our research. 
  3. We advocate for URM students and scientists, including their nomination for awards and promotion to positions of leadership.
  4. We aim to be considerate of the needs of URM students and scientists.
  5. We provide a safe work environment for URM students and scientists, including a code of conduct and anti-discrimination policies.

Bhatnagar Plan for Corrective Action Against Systemic Bias

  1. We are aware of systemic racism and other forms of bias against URMs.

Action items: Together, we read a resource about systemic racism and other systemic biases in science once per semester. We also revisit and revise our Diversity and Inclusion Statement, Action Plan, and Code of Conduct every year. At that time, we each take an implicit bias test: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html.

  1. We are inclusive of Black academics, other academics of color, and other URM academics in our research.

Action items: We cite the work of URM scholars in each of our publications and presentations. We invite URM scholars to present at our Department seminars and when organizing conference symposia. When we begin a new project, we ask Black or other URM scholars to collaborate on it. We invite URM students to work on each of our lab’s projects through BU outreach programs. Specifically, we each collaborate with a URM REU student to complete an independent research project in the summer. During this internship, the students can build proficiency in an area of microbial ecology and confidence in their scientific abilities. We participate in outreach programs like Skype a Scientist and BioBUGS. We recruit URM scholars to join the lab and the graduate programs at BU

  1. We advocate for Black academics, other academics of color, and other URM academics.

Action items: We help to promote our URM academic colleagues and mentees in leadership positions. We do this by nominating them for awards, writing letters of recommendation, and bringing paid opportunities for career advancement to them. We also compile specific information on available URM grants and scholarships and post on our lab website

  1. We aim to be considerate in serving Black academics other academics of color, and other URM academics.

Action items: We will provide space, equipment, supplies, and mentorship to Black academics and other academics of color who wish to work with us. We will support our Black colleagues and other colleagues of color by providing culturally-relevant/responsive resources.

  1. We will provide a safe work environment where Black students, other students of color, and other URM students can thrive, fully participate, and bring their whole self to their role. 

Action items: We abide by our lab’s code of conduct and continually will work to ensure that everyone feels physically and psychologically safe in the workplace. We speak up when we recognize bias in any form. We also advocate for URM opportunities to BU administration. 

Bhatnagar LGBTQ+ Inclusive Practices

  • We use each lab member’s correct pronouns.
  • We use each lab member’s correct name, and we avoid using the deadname of a colleague who has changed their name.
  • We do not out a colleague’s LGBTQ+ identity.
  • If a lab member is undergoing a medical gender transition, we accommodate these medical treatments when planning the student’s academic career.