colorful blue/purple and fiery orange mesh that resembles neuropil

Fall 2021 Reads

These are the articles and questions covered during our Fall 2021 Zoom (maybe in-person) meetings.

To join the reading group listserv and attend the meetings, please email us at

A screen shot of a tweet by Mentally Aware Nigeria reading finally it is not realistic to think we could ever counsel or therapy our way out of these systemic barriers

October 28, 2021 Meeting

Importance of Student Mental Health in Higher Education 


Our discussion will be inspired by a series of tweets (making STEM more inclusive requires that we move beyond the limiting, exlusive and heavily biased realm of published articles) as well as the article Importance of Student Mental Health in Higher Education (link). 

Although we are constantly encountering unprecedented times, such as the largest protest in history over the war on Iraq in 2003, the financial crisis of 2007/2008, pandemic, climate crisis, and the takeover of capitalism, we must remember that there is only so much that we as individuals can do to improve mental health such as coping skills and self-care before realizing we are encountering systemic issues. This article explains that although there are systemic issues, we can still do small things to help us survive. Importantly, the article provides surveys and studies showing that mental health problems are the top reason students leave academia, and suggests how universities can improve mental health services to better support the student population.


Discussion questions here.


Black and white image of people gathered around a desk at a meeting

October 14, 2021 Meeting

Factors That Influence Career Choice among Different Populations of Neuroscience Trainees


Article Link

Abstract: Specific groups have historically been, and continue to be, underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce, especially academia. Career choice is a multifactorial process that evolves over time; among all trainees, expressed interest in faculty research careers decreases over time in graduate school, but that trend is amplified in women and members of historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups (Golde and Dore, 2004Fuhrmann et al., 2011Sauermann and Roach, 2012Gibbs et al., 2014Roach and Sauermann, 2017). This work was designed to investigate how career interest changes over time among recent neuroscience PhD graduates, and whether differences in career interests are associated with social identity, experiences in graduate school and postdoctoral training, and personal characteristics. We report results from a survey of 1479 PhD neuroscientists (including 16% underrepresented scientists and 54% women scientists). We saw repeated evidence that individual preferences about careers in general, and academic careers specifically, predict current career interest. These findings were moderated by social identity and experiences in graduate school and postdoctoral training. Our findings highlight the important influence of the advisor in shaping a trainee’s career path, and the ways in which academic culture is perceived as unwelcoming or incongruent with the values or priorities of certain groups. They suggest several areas for positive growth, ways to change how we think about the impact of mentorship, and policy and programmatic interventions that extend beyond trying to change or “fix” the individual and instead recognize the systemic structures that influence career choices.


Discussion questions available here.

a map of the world with flags over their respective countries/territories

September 30, 2021 Meeting

Is Science Only for the Rich?


This week’s article Is science only for the rich? may have been published in Nature in 2016, but it’s just as relevant five years later. The article briefly touches on some of the major barriers to equitable participation in STEM on a global scale. Access to STEM education, training, and productivity are viewed through a lens that takes into consideration the unique social, political, and cultural atmospheres of the U.S., China, Japan, India, Kenya, Russia, Brazil, and the U.K.

Discussion questions available here.