What inspired you to be a DIB Fellow?
I like producing solutions to problems. It’s a big part of why I find both research and clinical work rewarding. I’d say I became a DIB Fellow for similar reasons. Even before I began my doctoral training at Harvard, as a lab manager in the Department I felt disconnected. In that position, I didn’t feel I had much of a voice to steer change, nor a formal way to get involved in communal efforts to do so. Even so, I waged small battles. For example, I asked for the male/female bathroom labels for the single-occupancy bathrooms on our floor to be replaced with gender-neutral labels. It wasn’t much but it was a start.
Upon applying to PhD programs, I was fortunate to have pretty good offers to choose from, including one from Harvard, and I’ll admit that the relative lack of attention to DIB at that time struck me as a red flag and gave me pause. Weighing my pros and cons, I felt that Harvard would afford me a lot of opportunities that other programs couldn’t offer, and I figured I could, as I’ve often done, be an agent of change to address aspects of departmental culture and practices I took issue with.
Fast forward to today. I’m in my third year in the program and my second year as a DIB Fellow, and I feel really proud of the changes so many of us have come together to materialize. The entire DIB committee, comprised of departmental staff, grad students, post-docs, and faculty at various steps on the ladder, is a forward-thinking and highly-intentional group I am grateful to be a part of. We’ve made some really promising changes and implemented some new programs and projects that have made me feel connected and valued in a way I didn’t feel before. I’ve begun to feel the positive shift in values permeating more and more interactions and communications I’m having with people in our Department, and I’m hopeful that we can keep things moving in this direction.