Holding a Mirror to Analytical Science
Racism is systemic in science – and analytical chemistry is no exception. We spoke to Candice Ulmer, Christina Jones, Michelle Reid, Isiah Warner, Devin Swiner, and Renã Robinson about their own experiences in the field, their efforts to combat the problem, and what still needs to be done.
A Network for Progress
The co-founders of the Coalition of Black Mass Spectrometrists (CBM) tell us how it provides a much-needed space for discussion around racism, and offers a platform to not only cultivate support, but also to drive positive change
"Be an advocate for people – make sure Black people are considered for the same opportunities and speak up if someone is being overlooked. Some people will say these are small actions, but they can really make a difference." - Christina Jones
Isiah Warner discusses the value of mentors to Black analytical chemists, and shares his own journey to the top of the field
"There are still people in this field that are not getting the same opportunities as others based on whether they are from a minority group or not. It’s vital that these people have mentors that can help them navigate the system and reach their goals. These mentors don’t need to be Black or from the same background as you – they just need to be able to empathize." - Isiah Warner
A Social (Media) Movement for Change
Devin Swiner, co-founder of the #BlackInChem campaign, explores the power of social media and describes the aims of the initiative
"I think we were really successful at creating a space where people felt comfortable and could ask any questions. Social media is a great way of connecting with people across the world. It’s also a fantastic resource for archiving content – the hashtags in themselves make it easy for everyone to follow what’s being posted and it means you don’t miss anything." - Devin Swiner
Advocate and Advance
Renã Robinson tells us about her role as President Elect of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), and why advocates are vital to ensuring true representation in the field of analytical chemistry
"It’s really helped build my capacity to truly understand just how many barriers there are to Black students advancing in the field. The systems are broken, and even when someone does make it into this space they might merely be tolerated rather than respected based on their value as scientists. Organizations like NOBCChE offer the chance to combat such issues." - Renã Robinson
By the time I finished my degree in Microbiology I had come to one conclusion – I did not want to work in a lab. Instead, I decided to move to the south of Spain to teach English. After two brilliant years, I realized that I missed science, and what I really enjoyed was communicating scientific ideas – whether that be to four-year-olds or mature professionals. On returning to England I landed a role in science writing and found it combined my passions perfectly. Now at Texere, I get to hone these skills every day by writing about the latest research in an exciting, creative way.