Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Growing up in the concrete jungle of South Korea, I never had a lot of opportunities to interact with nature yet I was still drawn to what I now know as the field of ecology and evolutionary biology. I was extremely fortunate to have middle-class parents who supported my interests and dreams, and ultimately helped me reach the path I stand today.

I am aware, however, that not everyone is as privileged, especially with all the systematic barriers in place. During my time in the U.S., I have learned a lot about North American history and culture and while I am sadly no longer shocked by the atrocities, I know we have a long road ahead. Being an Asian women in STEM, particularly in field ecology, I have experienced harassment, microaggression, and other discrimination in this field and witnessed similar, if not worse treatment to others. As a PhD student, I work hard to make my community, my field station, and my classrooms equitable, inclusive, and safe to everyone regardless of their identities. This is a constant work in progress and I know I have made, and may still make mistakes along the way, but I am committed to my lifelong endeavor for an equitable and inclusive space for every person.

Through the Archbold Expeditions Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, I have been working with my colleagues to survey our organization and develop ways to create a more inclusive and equitable field station. Individually, I have established a field safety protocol for the station, inspired by great work from Demery and Pipkin 2021, in order to inform and protect all interns, visiting scholars, and researchers. I am also on the field safety DEIJB working group at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell and our group has worked closely with the department and university to provide field safety gear (satellite phones, safety vests, etc.) and safety protocols. I will start serving on the Association of Field Ornithologist’s Ethics Committee to develop a complete code of ethics for all ornithologists in our society. I also work on various community efforts, including moderating the Diversity and Inclusion Workshop for the North American Ornithological Congress and volunteering for Cornell Diversity Preview Weekend.

It is essential to make our field sites, among many other institutions, accessible and welcoming to everyone.

Teaching Philosophy

My role as a teacher is to get students interested in science and the scientific process while helping them learn and understand key biological concepts. Coming from “injection-style” learning of Korea where I was forced to memorize and regurgitate information, I was pleasantly surprised in my classes in the U.S. where I was asked and encouraged to come up with my own questions and synthesize materials from lectures. I had never met a teacher who valued what I thought and this helped me gain the confidence to pursue science. Ever since then, I have been striving to provide the same supportive and stimulating environment to my students where they are not afraid to ask questions and can gain confidence in their own abilities. I utilize various media to expose my students to different situations (breakout rooms, presentations, in-class peer-review), viewpoints (academic vs. lay), and roles (scribe, presenter, moderator) to learn not just the course material but also ways of interacting with and understanding people from different backgrounds. I love asking questions back to my students to hear their explanations or encouraging them to answer each others questions. Ultimately, I want to break down the exclusive barrier of academia (stock image of white-male-scientist in lab coat) and help my students and underrespresented scholars feel welcomed and included in this field.

We all need a little guidance when we start off.

Teaching Experience

Teaching as an instructor

  • Writing in the Majors, An Introduction to Evolutionary Biology and Diversity (Spring 2021), Cornell University
    • A writing-intensive track of the original course that integrates course material supplemented with additional reading material, discussions, and writing. I design and lead the course as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. My goals for the semester include helping students:
      • understand major evolutionary processes and describe examples that illustrate these principles
      • read, analyze, discuss, and write about primary literature in evolutionary biology through active learning
      • think critically and creatively about the biology and science in published literature
      • communicate about scientific ideas through writing and discussion
      • appreciate questions in and implications of evolutionary biology

Teaching assistantships

  • An Introduction to Evolutionary Biology and Diversity (Fall 2020)
  • Mammalogy, Lectures and Laboratory (Fall 2017 and 2019)
  • An Introduction to Ecology and the Environment (Fall 2016)
  • Habitat Conservation and Restoration Laboratory (Winter 2014 and 2015, UC Davis)
    • helped students design and execute group projects at Yolo Basin Wildlife Area
  • Biology and Conservation of Wild Mammals, Laboratory (Spring 2014, UC Davis)
  • Natural History of California’s Wild Vertebrates (Winter 2014, UC Davis)