Curating Diverse Content that Represents Your Community

Today we continue our series of regular posts on the Trellis blog for science community managers interested in diversity, equity and inclusion. This installment was authored by Marsha Lucas, Society for Developmental Biology, Melissa Varga, UCS Science Network Community Manager and Partnerships Coordinator, and Josh Knackert, UW-Madison Neuroscience Training Program. Additional series coordinators are Jennifer Davison, Urban@UW, University of Washington, and Rosanna Volchok, The New York Academy of Sciences. You can find all of the posts in the series here.

For the scientific community manager who values diversity, equity, and inclusion, seeking out diverse content and diverse content creators is of utmost importance.  Your content strategy, whether for written (e.g., blog posts, discussion threads), visual (e.g., videos, social media posts), or in-person gatherings (e.g., journal clubs, conferences), is an expression of what your community values.

Create a space for your community's stories to be told. Image Credit:
Create a space for your community’s stories to be told.
Image Credit:

Here are five tips for broadening your community content.

  1.   Use member spotlights to profile a broad spectrum of community members.

One of the keys to bringing in and retaining underrepresented groups in STEM is having models who look like them, come from similar backgrounds, and are doing what they want to do.  Put in the time and effort to ensure you are celebrating a diverse slate of members. For example, an interview with a Ph.D. student who is also a DACA recipient brings awareness to voices in STEM who may not feel safe enough to speak out otherwise.

  1.   Let your community members take the lead.

The role of the community manager here is to cultivate leaders within the community who are actively talking about or working on diversity inclusion, and support them in starting discussions and sharing their perspectives. Support leaders in sharing their own stories through blogs or other mediums.

  1.   Look for diversity in perspective and background.

When inviting members to write guest blog posts, social media posts, or other content shared with the community, look for contributors who can not only speak about diversity in STEM, but who will also talk about their research and training experience like any other community member. Storytelling can help broader audiences understand the impacts of diversity and inclusion in STEM.

  1.   Provide opportunities for leadership development.

Pay attention to the message you are sending when you select the speakers and participants for seminars, panels, outreach events, or other spaces where leaders within your community are recognized.  Break the mold. Give underrepresented voices in science a chance to shine in your community. Create spaces, like a social media campaign, to let these leaders shine.

  1.   Expand your knowledge base.

It’s important to recognize the thought-leadership of others who have spent much of their time and research on diversity and inclusion issues. Social media is a great place to listen and learn, and to “like” and “share” the work of others. Consider this an education and awareness-raising process not only for your members but for yourself as well. Start by browsing hashtags like #LatinxinSTEM #BlackinSTEM #lgbtSTEM #NativeScience #MarginSci #DisabledinSTEM.

Bonus Tip: Avoid Tokenism

Highlight members from underrepresented groups throughout the year, not just during days or months of celebration (e.g. Black History Month, Native American Heritage Month). This will give you content to point back to during specific times of celebration and avoids tokenizing the work of already marginalized groups.



8 Ways People of Color are Tokenized in Nonprofits, Helen Kim Ho on Medium

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