COSM Diversity & Inclusion News

September 2020

Welcome to Fall 2020!

The Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter is delivered monthly via email during the fall and spring semesters and is always available on the new COSM D&I webpage. Send contributions and suggestions to any of the COSM D&I Ambassadors (list at the bottom of the newsletter and on the webpage).

This Month’s Theme: Collaboration & Team Management

“I’m not prejudiced. So why did I do that?!?” Confronting Intergroup Anxiety
& “From Capable to Phenomenal, A Team of Differences”

Diversity Quote of the Month

"Inclusivity means not ‘just we’re allowed to be there,’ but we are valued. I’ve always said: smart teams will do amazing things, but truly diverse teams will do impossible things.”  -Claudia Brind-Woody  VP & Managing Director of Intellectual Property, IBM   2011 Out & Equal Trailblazer Award

Fact Fuel for Data-driven Conversations

Fact: Projection of Education Statistics to 2028, page 21 shows that the Latinx student population continues to be the fastest growing racial or ethnic group in college enrollment. Currently, 8.9% of COSM students are Latinx versus 2.2% of COSM faculty.

COSM Community D&I Spotlight

The ORSSP Research Spotlight highlights COSM 'Champion of Diversity' Worlanyo Eric Gato, who is committed to training students from diverse backgrounds. He and his mentees pursue studies focused on diabetes, environmental chemistry, and toxicology. Dr. Gato is also using his biochemical skills to make a difference in communities in Ghana through his collaboration with Public Health faculty. He serves as a co-advisor for the Georgia Southern NOBCChE student chapter and he is a planning committee member and a research mentor for Chemistry & Biochemistry’s NSF-REU, CEMITURE. Dr. Gato is active in the Society of Toxicology (SOT).

In spring 2020, in collaboration with SOT and colleagues in his department, Dr. Gato brought a keynote speaker to Georgia Southern to honor Black History Month and NOBCChE week. Dr. Gato is deeply committed to empowering his students for success in STEM. Gato research group alumni have earned positions in graduate and post-baccalaureate programs, medical schools, and industry. We are proud of our colleague and the great work he is doing with our students!

D&I Campus Connections and Opportunities

Webinars and Conferences

University Opportunities

External Opportunities

Try This! – Create a Research Group Manual To Increase Productivity

Research labs have many moving parts. In the work you do at Georgia Southern your team is mainly undergraduates. Undergraduates are new to the culture of research, and thus unaware of unspoken but well-known “ways of doing things” in your field. A research group manual that clearly outlines expectations, typical protocols, safety operation, answers to common questions, and more will increase your lab’s efficiency, allowing you and your mentees to make better use of your time. Check out these tips from Nature for creating a manual.

This Month's Theme: Collaboration & Team Management

Intergroup Anxiety: Can you try too hard to be fair?

Fear of being viewed as racist can prevent teachers from giving critical feedback to students of color. Additionally, when male coworkers avoid interacting with women in the workplace, women lose out on valuable mentorship and advancement opportunities.

We have all had those times when we want to connect with a student or colleague but a fear of offending them creates anxiety that leads to uncomfortably awkward interactions. This type of behavior results from a feeling called “intergroup anxiety” and there are ways to deal with it!

'Intergroup anxiety': Can you try too hard to be fair?

Groups of Diverse Problem Solvers Can Outperform Groups of High-Ability Problem Solvers

Building a diverse team can take you from capable to phenomenal. STEM research backs this up. Computational experiments and mathematical theory show how and why a team with a range of abilities outperforms a homogenous group of top performers. Check out the article in PNAS.

Ideas From Female and Minority Science PhDs Are More Novel but They’re Often Overlooked

We are missing out on amazing talent! Analysis of the thesis work of 1.2 million PhDs in the US between 1977 and 2015 shows that ideas generated by female and minority PhDs are more novel. However, these ideas are less likely to gain traction in the research community or lead to academic positions. Persons from underrepresented groups have to produce higher quality contributions than White peers to attain similar career achievements. Read the summary in Chemistry World and the original research article The Diversity–Innovation Paradox in Science to learn more.

The Belief that ‘Asians are Good at Science’ is a Problem

While it is common to think that Asians have a competitive advantage in STEM due to the belief that they are “naturals,” the facts actually suggest the opposite, particularly for Asian women. Asians encounter a “prove it again” bias, face more pushback than other groups if perceived as dominant (assertive), are expected to work hard at the expense of family life, and are often overlooked for leadership positions. A culmination of all of these occurrences and more hinder career advancement. An article in The Atlantic provides valuable insight.

Big picture

Reflective Moment

The intersection between all types of identifiers alters the challenges that individuals experience. Watch the TEDTalk from TEDWomen 2016 about intersectionality and consider these issues in your department, lab, or office. How can you help students who identify with multiple underrepresented identities in STEM?

In your department/lab/office...

What are the expectations across gender and race/ethnicity?

Who is celebrated for achievements, encouraged for potential?

Who is seen as a leader?

Do you (or coworkers) view assertiveness differently based on the person’s gender?

The urgency of intersectionality | Kimberlé Crenshaw

Something you'd like to see? We'd love to hear from you.

Brigette, Karelle, and Ryan lead the COSM Diversity & Inclusion webpage & newsletter team. They’d love to hear from you, and you can also contact any of your COSM D&I Ambassadors if you would like to contribute to or comment on the newsletter - or discuss other D&I issues. The webpage also includes information on becoming an ambassador yourself.

COSM Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Leaders

  • Arpita Saha - Chemistry & Biochemistry

  • Brandon Quillian - Chemistry & Biochemistry

  • Karelle Aiken - Chemistry & Biochemistry

  • Sabrina Hessinger - Mathematics


  • Amanda Klingel

  • Brian Koehler

  • Issac Taylor


  • Brigette Brinton

  • Geneva DeMars

  • Jennifer Brofft-Bailey

  • Johanne Lewis

  • Justin Montemarano

  • Marylou Machingura

  • Sara Gremillion

  • Sue Ellen Dechenne-Peters

Chemistry & Biochemistry

  • Arpita Saha

  • Brandon Quillian

  • Brent Feske

  • Debanjana Ghosh

  • Karelle Aiken

  • Ryan Groom

  • Shainaz Landge

Geology & Geography

  • Amy Potter

  • Rob Yarbrough

  • Kathlyn Smith


  • Duc Van Huynh

  • Eryn Stehr

  • Jim Brawner

  • Kyle Bradford

  • Sabrina Hessinger

  • Stephanie Wiggins

  • Tuyin An

Physics & Astronomy

  • Hua-Jian Jason Liu