I am so excited to introduce this amazing new organization, MISS - Minorities in Shark Science. Shelby Reef will be contributing to this organization, along with our two other nonprofits. We have already donated $200 and look forward to that number growing as we grow. We will keep you up to date on their activities via our newsletter. I am looking forward to getting to know them! I'm going to stop here and "share the mic" with our Shark Week Guest Blog from MISS, founded by Jaida, Amani, Jasmin, and Carlee...
In June of 2020 we launched Minorities in Shark Sciences (MISS). The idea for this organization was born out of the desire to form a community for women of color in shark science and create a welcoming space that would foster the professional development for a demographic of scientists often overlooked. After finding each other and realizing how isolated we had all been feeling in the field of shark science, we decided to do what we could to shape a more inclusive culture. We never imagined the impact we would have.
It has been said “with great power comes great responsibility” and we don’t take this lightly. So many people have rallied behind MISS and its mission by giving us a voice, offering financial support and using their institutional power to amplify us. We are so greatly appreciative and overwhelmed by the support. We are working tirelessly to push the envelope and provide resources as well as opportunities to those who need them. We want to take this opportunity to share our mission and our plans going forward.
We want to break-down the systemic barriers and gate-keeping that has kept so many women of color out of marine science and shark science in particular. Although we cannot tackle every barrier, we hope to address the following roadblocks: accessibility, financial barriers, lack of mentor-ship and lack of representation. We plan to make shark science more accessible by creating K-12 outreach programs for under-served communities and free online content so that more people have the opportunity to experience shark science from a young age from people they identify with. Representation matters and currently the vast majority of shark programming features white men. We hope to provide a source of alternative programming that showcases a diversity of shark scientists. We plan to address financial barriers by providing research and field experiences free of charge. We also hope to connect women of color with paid internship opportunities. No one should have to work for free. Unpaid and volunteer positions create an unnecessary divide between those with means and those without. We pledge to absorb all costs for participants in our programs. We plan to connect women of color interested in shark science with mentors to guide them and support them throughout their career. MISS will also be a network of support for members to engage with each other, share their research, get advice, access resources and form lifelong connections. However, the work of MISS goes beyond its membership. We are actively working to create a cultural shift within the shark science community, engage in K-12 outreach and fight for diversity, equity and inclusion within the broader STEM community. If you believe in this mission, visit our website to see how you can get involved in this important work. Please stay connected via Instagram and Twitter: @miss_elasmo.
This exceptional group is going places and I hope you are as excited as I am to help them get there!
Thank you MISS!