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Peer Networking in Alaska TWS

Research that is performed by diverse teams results in better science (Hofstra et al. 2020). However, there are many barriers to inclusion for some pursuing a career in science. Increasing connectedness and developing peer support networks may help overcome these barriers (Anthony-Stevens et al. 2022, Minnett et al. 2019, and Murry et al. 2022).

At our last statewide meeting, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) working group conducted a survey to determine whether members were interested in participating in peer-networking opportunities. The response was overwhelming with 83% of respondents saying they were interested!

Peer networking opportunities exist within the national chapter. However, these groups are so large it might be difficult to achieve a lasting personal connection. Smaller, more accessible groups that may lead to more personal connections. To meet this need, the DEI working group will facilitate peer-networking groups within the Alaska TWS chapter. Based on survey feedback, groups will meet once every month until May. We will assign groups and coordinate the first meeting, and then the groups will be self-directed (deciding their own meeting days/times, whether they will have a structured or informal format, and whether they will pick a leader or rotate leadership each meeting).

The goal of these groups is to provide opportunities to support each other, provide mentoring opportunities and advice for navigating challenges. We are starting with the following groups:

  • WOW (women of wildlife) – Focuses on women in wildlife and those that support them.
  • BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color)- Focuses on people of color in wildlife, and those that support them.
  • OiTF (out in the field)- Focuses on LGBTQ+ people in wildlife, and those that support them.
  • Brooding with wildlife (BWW)-Focuses on those that are blending parenting with a career in wildlife and those that support them.

If you are interested in joining a peer-network group this year, please click the survey link below to sign up for a group.
Peer Networking Interest Survey

Literature Cited

Anthony-Stevens, V., Moss, I., Jacobson, A.C., Boysen-Taylor, R. and Campbell-Daniels, S., 2022. Grounded in Relationships of Support: Indigenous Teacher Mentorship in the Rural West. The Rural Educator, 43(1), pp.88-104.

Hofstra, B., Kulkarni, V.V., Munoz-Najar Galvez, S., He, B., Jurafsky, D. and McFarland, D.A., 2020. The diversity–innovation paradox in science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(17), pp.9284-9291.

Minnett, J.L., James-Gallaway, A.D. and Owens, D.R., 2019. Help A Sista Out: Black Women Doctoral Students’ Use of Peer Mentorship as an Act of Resistance. Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 31(2). Gal, N.,

Shifman, L. and Kampf, Z., 2016. “It gets better”: Internet memes and the construction of collective identity. New media & society, 18(8), pp.1698-1714.

Murry, A.T., Barnabe, C., Foster, S., Taylor, A.S., Atay, E.J., Henderson, R. and Crowshoe, L., 2022. Indigenous mentorship in the health sciences: Actions and approaches of mentors. Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 34(3), pp.266-276.