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Welcome to the 3rd issue of SPARK !

This year’s special issue on Inclusive Science Communication is the result of a year-long training collaboration on Inclusive Science Communication and Engagement (ISCE). Bringing together the Community of Scholars Program (COSP), the Biomedical Graduate Research, Education, and Training Program (BGREAT), the Science Communication Lab, and the Community Outreach Retention and Engagement (CORE) Program, our collaborative aspired to explore Inclusive Science Communication and Engagement from a theory and practice-based perspective.

While the term Inclusive Science Communication (ISC) broadly refers to approaches, design, and research that brings the lens’ of inclusion, equity, and intersectionality to science communication, our collaborative was specifically interested in what ISC means for our graduate researchers in STEMM fields who identify as Black, Indigenous, and persons of color (BIPOC).

The contributions for this issue are created by COSP Scholars who either participated in the ISCE training program or whose research and/or creative work aligned with the goals of the collaborative or the mission of SPARK to amplify the experiences, research and voices of BIPOC graduate scholars. 

The contributions from our graduate scientists will also be shared at the Bell Museum in May with the CORE program families – CORE strives to ensure that historically excluded and marginalized students and their families know about the University of Minnesota STEMM programs and are supported in identifying, enrolling, and fully participating in them. We hope SPARK’s values of social justice, community building, innovation, creativity, and public scholarship inspire our BIPOC youth to see themselves as scientists, now and in the future, and the knowledge and research they bring as valuable to their communities both within higher education and beyond. 

In This Issue

Black Soilship

FOREWORD: How Tiffany Became Farmer Tiffany The summer before my senior year of undergrad my mom suffered a massive stroke. She had to learn how to walk, talk, chew, swallow, live life all over again. I thought that I could heal her with food. This begins the story of Tiffany becoming Farmer TIffany. I began traveling to not only learn…

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Cover Art Beats

I first started beatboxing when I was about 12 years old, and it quickly became my favorite pastime. I’ve always appreciated the importance beatboxing has had in my life, both as an act of spontaneous creation and as a chance for connection with others.

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Kim’s Declassified POC Grad School Survival Guide

This piece is for first-generation graduate students; for the first of anything. It’s for the grad students that may be questioning their position in higher education, as I often have, and continue to do so. It’s for the grad students with responsibilities beyond school. This is for the grad students that have failed a homework assignment, or exam, or class…

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On Whose Shoulders: Towards a Mindful Citational Practice

“Use at least 5 peer-reviewed sources,” the assignment guideline says.  Quickly, I search within the library catalog and use the advanced search function to set the filter as “Scholarly/peer-reviewed.” Without a second thought I start to browse through the results and look for useful articles for the project. As graduate students, we probably have worked on assignments that require students…

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The STING of Colonization

by Sylvia Klein Abstract  I enter the lab and don my small black nitrile gloves and papery, disposable lab coat. I look around at the sterility of the lab as I begin to gather the things I need for the experiment I’m planning to do. As I grab items I need from shelves, the freezer and fridge I think about…

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Cover Art

Art is an important medium for both creativity and communication. At first it may seem that these are ‘soft’ skills, separate from the ‘hard’ skills of science. They are not. Today, infographics and animations combine art and science; historical works, such as old field guides, full of hand painted portraits, have tied the two disciplines together.

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Scary White Men

In Minnesota, the high school graduation rate for White-identifying students in 2018-2019 was about 89% and for BIPOC students that percentage is lower no matter which racial group is being analyzed. The racial group with the lowest high school graduate rate are American Indian students at about 51%, a historic high (UnitedHealth Foundation, 2022). In Minnesota the racial group with the…

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