Diversity and Inclusivity in Human-Nature Connections
Starting in 2021, ASU Natural History Collections and the NEON Biorepository at ASU (together constituting the ASU Biocollections), have put on a six-week research Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (JEDI) internship aiming to help provide opportunities for local undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds to gain collections-based fieldwork and research experience. I lead the Vertebrates portion of the activities, working alongside Laura Steger, Nathan Upham, and Rosie Liao to lead the JEDI scholars in gaining experience setting and checking mammal traps, handling wild small mammals and other vertebrates, processing specimens in the lab (including taking tissue samples and preparing the specimens) and managing specimen data. A focus of the programs is on building research skills and fostering ownership of the occurrence records each scholar generates - working across the different taxonomic divisions at ASU Biocollections during the length of the program, the scholars build collection profiles linking to the various specimens they collected over the course of the program.
2022 School of Art Summer Camp: Art Under the Microscope!
ASU Natural History Collections partnered with the ASU School of Art to present the middle- and high-school summer camp "Art Under the Microscope" coordinated by Caroline Schmidt and instructed by Aimee Ollinger. Students enrolled in this program learned about the diversity of shape, pattern, line, color, and texture found in natural history specimens and about the diversity of organismal form and function. I enjoy collaborating with artists and designers in activities that showcase the beauty and aesthetic diversity of the natural world, and I believe it is an area of natural history collections that is underutilized.
ASU School of Life Sciences Biobridge Scholars Program
The School of Life Sciences BioBridge program provides incoming first-year students who are first-generation with a head start on acclimating to the college environment. As a part of this program, the students tour various labs and learn about the various types of activities that are conducted there and the opportunities for involvement. As a first generation college student myself, I take great pride in being a part of this program and sharing the opportunities for volunteering with the collections to help start students off building collections skills as first-year students.