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Diversity and inclusion

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WBUR

Chase Anderson SB ’11, SM ’13 writes for WBUR’s Cognoscenti about how the friends he made during his studies at MIT showed him the meaning of friendship and support. “These friends validated my identity and helped me unshackle the self I’d been hiding, or had been forced to hide,” Anderson writes. “They taught me that being African-American and gay were beautiful aspects of my entire self, and that I was so much more than I ever dreamed possible.”

Wired

In an article for Wired, Prof. Amy Moran-Thomas writes about racial bias in pulse oximeters, noting that oximeters designed to work equitably existed in the 70s. “As part of AI’s growing role in health care, a wide range of noninvasive sensors are being developed with the pulse oximeter as their model,” writes Moran-Thomas. “Without care, a coming generation of optical color sensors could easily reproduce the unequal errors for which pulse oximetry is now known across many other areas of medicine.”

Dezeen

Hashim Sarkis, dean of SA+P and curator of this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, speaks with Cajsa Carlson of Dezeen about how the field of architecture is transforming due to climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, and efforts to increase diversity and representation. "Talent and imagination are not restricted to advanced development economically,” says Sarkis. “I hope this message comes across in this biennale.”

Commonwealth

In an article for Commonwealth, Prof. Michael Cima and Prof. Fiona Murray spotlight the importance of invention and innovation, noting that “there is an immediate need for actions that will further the nation’s growth in productivity and inclusive prosperity, a measure of the extent to which all sectors of our population are empowered to contribute to the economy and share in its benefits.” Cima and Murray write that: “The power of inclusion is illustrated by the backgrounds and inspirations of the winners of the Lemelson-MIT Prize over 25 years.”

Science

In an editorial for Science, Prof. Sangeeta Bhatia, Prof. Emerita Nancy Hopkins and President Emerita Susan Hockfield underscore the importance of addressing the underrepresentation of women and minorities in tech transfer. “The discoveries women and minority researchers are making today have great potential as a force for good in the world,” they write, “but reaching that potential is only possible if paths to real-world applications are open to everybody.”

The Boston Globe

Lecturer Karilyn Crockett is joining the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce as a research and program consultant, reports Jon Chesto for The Boston Globe. “Crockett will help the chamber and the broader business community address economic and racial inequities and related barriers to opportunity, particularly in the areas of transportation, housing, education, and climate change,” Chesto writes.

New York Times

Graduate student Joy Buolamwini joins Kara Swisher on The New York Times' “Sway” podcast to discuss her crusade against bias in facial recognition technologies. “If you have a face, you have a place in this conversation,” says Buolamwini.

Stat

Prof. Emerita Nancy Hopkins speaks with Rebecca Sohn of STAT about the Boston Biotech Working Group’s goal of increasing the number of women leaders and entrepreneurs in biotech and her hopes for the future of women in biotech and the sciences. “You want people to feel that they are free to participate in all the things wherever it leads them,” says Hopkins. “So I think the goal is just that people who really want to do this [pursue biotech] don’t face any greater barrier than anybody else. That everybody has equal access and education to do as they want to.”

Boston Globe

A group of MIT scientists has announced a new plan, called the Future Founders Initiative, aimed at addressing gender inequities in the biotech industry, reports Anissa Gardizy for The Boston Globe. “If we can’t advance discoveries at the same rate for women and men, that means there are drugs, therapies, devices, and diagnostics that are not getting to where they can actually benefit people,” says President Emerita Susan Hockfield. “If as a region we want to continue to lead the world, the best thing to do is not squander our resources.”

Scientific American

In an article for Scientific American, graduate students Meghana Ranganathan, Julia Wilcots, Rohini Shivamoggi and Diana Dumit call for the removal of racist language from the names of many geographic features and places in the United States. “We cannot have a just society when racist names are officially sanctioned,” they write. “We need a national, multifaceted push to change any instances of racial slurs and racist terminology in our natural land features.”

The Boston Globe

Through his art and information-based work, Prof. Ekene Ijeoma “finds the humanity in data points,” writes Cate McQuaid for The Boston Globe. Ijeoma hopes his work - including “A Counting,” a sonic poem featuring recordings of people from around the world counting to 100, and the virtual Black Mobility and Safety Seminar hosted by his research team - bridges “the gap between facts and feelings. It gets to ‘what are the things being felt when experiencing this?’”

New York Times

Prof. Ekene Ijeoma has been collecting video recordings of people counting to 100 in different languages and dialects for the past year as part of his project “A Counting,” and is now soliciting videos of people counting to 100 in sign language, writes Sophie Haigney for The New York Times. Ijeoma explains that he hopes the artwork will constantly evolve “into a more whole representation of society.”

Diverse: Issues in Higher Ed

Cherish Taylor, a fifth-year PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin, speaks with Pearl Stewart of Diverse: Issues in Higher Ed about how the MIT Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) program, “exposed me to the possibility of a career in academic research. Prior to my time at MITES, having a career in science meant serving as a medical professional or forensic analyst,” says Taylor. “I had no idea universities housed large research facilities that allowed scientists to answer questions about basic science (and) human disease.”

Stat

Prof. Ruth Lehmann, director of the Whitehead Institute, speaks with STAT reporter Elizabeth Cooney about the importance of fundamental scientific research. “There are so many areas that are so important for science,” says Lehmann. “One is supporting fundamental research. But then there are other areas like diversity and disparities.”

Education Week

Graduate student John Urschel speaks with Education Week reporter Kevin Bushweller about his work aimed at encouraging more students of color to pursue studies in the STEM fields, particularly math. “What really matters is resources, what really matters is how much a child is nurtured and fed things,” says Urschel. “This is just my opinion, but I would say that, by and large, if I had to choose between giving a child a little bit more innate math talent or a little bit more resources, I think, really, resources is what is a very good and bigger predictor [of future success].”