Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Lowry Lab is committed to creating an inclusive and safe work environment for all people, particularly those who have been historically excluded from academia, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities. We believe that fostering inclusivity is essential to the scientific enterprise and that biases in research and education are harmful to societal and intellectual advancement. Diversity in scientific research and teaching is critical to maximizing understanding, cultivating a diversity of ideas, and empowering everyone’s creative potential. Supporting racial and ethnic diversity in higher education has numerous advantages for students, ranging from improved learning outcomes to increased scientific impact. Active recruitment and retention of historically excluded individuals requires addressing structural and systemic biases to create an equitable scientific community. 

We recognize that creating a truly inclusive workplace will require continuous effort on the part of all members of the lab. We are committed to regular discussion and reflection on issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which we implement at least once per semester through lab readings and discussions. At the end of this page is an important list of readings and resources for our lab and others. (Thanks to the Josephs and Evans labs for providing resources and ideas). 

Commitment to outreach which increases diversity in STEM

To engage historically underrepresented students early in their education, the Lowry Lab has developed an education module for low-income and minority middle school students in Michigan. In 2016, we started a collaboration with Renee Bayer, Idit Adler, and Consuelo Morales of the MSU College of Education and with a creative writing expert, Danny Jackson, to construct narratives for the modules to connect with students and facilitate inquiry-based learning. We are now collaborating with graphic artist, Louie Chin, to produce a comic book to accompany the module. This module has been implemented in 7th grade classes at the University Prep Science and Math Middle School in Detroit, MI (~90 students in Spring 2017), Carmen-Ainsworth Middle School in Flint, MI (~150 students in Spring 2018, ~235 students in Fall 2018), Scott Middle School in Flint, MI (~190 students in Fall 2018), and Flint Junior High School (Spring 2020). Students at these schools are predominantly African American. Following the pilot modules, Adler, Bayer, and Morales interviewed the teachers and reviewed student accomplishments. Overall, the teachers indicated that the pilot module was a great success: students were highly engaged by the narrative and the plant experiments, including students who had not previously demonstrated strong interest in science. We have now received funding as part of an NSF-IOS grant to refine this module and post it online so that it can be implemented by teachers across the USA. In the future we will continue to support primary and secondary education in underserved schools in Michigan through the development and implementation of new teaching modules. 
You can read our comic book and learn more about this outreach effort at the Create for STEM website.

Commitment to confront scientific racism

As members of the fields of genetics and evolutionary biology, we believe that it is incumbent on us to acknowledge the historical role of our fields in the development of and perpetuation of eugenics and scientific racism. Those ideas contributed directly to the Holocaust in Europe as well as forced sterilizations and the perpetuation of Jim Crow laws in America. Further, we acknowledge that research in the biological sciences is currently being used to support modern scientific racism and eugenic ideas. We believe that it is important to confront this reemergence of scientific racism. To accomplish this goal, Dr. Lowry has developed a module on the history of Eugenics and Scientific Racism that he teaches every year in his undergraduate Evolution Course (IBIO445). You can learn more about these issues here: 

PBS Film: The Eugenics Crusade

Blog: The history of eugenics in the field of genetics

Explainer: Race, Genetics, and Pseudoscience

External Resources:

MSU Resources:

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – College of Natural Science MSU Natural Sciences Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Under the Resources tab this page also includes a thorough list of MSU specific resources including but not limited to:
    • Health and Wellness resources
    • DEI training and informational resources (particularly for faculty)
    • Food and monetary support resources
    • Links to MSU groups for the LGBT resource center, the resource center for persons with disabilities, MSU center for survivors, MSU office for international students
  •  Office of the University Ombudsperson The MSU Office of the University Ombudsperson is a confidential resource that can help students, faculty, and staff address academic and workplace issues by providing resources and information regarding MSU policies. They are not part of the formal complaint process. 
  • Policies Anti-discrimination policies at MSU
  • MSU’s Office of Institutional Equity Formal complaints can be made through the Office of Institutional Equity
  • MSU Misconduct Hotline Report misconduct (can be anonymous) through MSU’s online form or hotline number.  

Mental Health Resources for Students:

We care about your well-being and we encourage you, when needed, to access resources that are available to help you cope with life’s struggles. These resources include:               

MSU Counseling Center:
Web: counseling.msu.edu
Email: counseling@cc.msu.edu
Phone: 517-355-8270               

MSU Olin Student Health Center
Web: olin.msu.edu
24/7 phone nurse: 517-353-5557           

Listening Ear Crisis Center – Lansing, MI
(517) 337-1717 (24-hour Crisis Line)
(517) 337-1728 (Business Line)
2504 E Michigan Ave., Lansing, MI