Strategies to Foster LatinX Inclusion in Microbiology Programs

Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education / April 2020

Inclusion is an active, powerful, and emotional noun that over the past years has helped me reconcile my main passions in life: microbiology, teaching, research, and mentoring. Although I am now part of an inclusive excellence family, during my graduate school I always felt alone, like an imposter microbiologist. I want to avoid other Latinas feeling the same way; consequently, I share frameworks and strategies here to foster inclusion in Microbiology departments. I have been teaching Microbiology for more than 20 years at a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), and my strategies range from the personal to the institutional level. As a first-generation Latina who barely survived in a Microbiology graduate program at a Primarily White Institution (PWI), I emphasize how culture can affect student learning. I use the example of microbial mats, resilient laminated ecosystems, as inclusive communities in the microbial world.