September 12th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

The Greatest Taboo: Mental Illness, Society, Science, and Medicine

By Andrew M. Harrsion

By Andrew M. Harrison

In 1902, Bertrand Russell wrote, “Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty—a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show.” Beautiful words by one of my heroes and also the pathetic opening to my medical school application essay in the summer of 2009. I did not even get the date correct, but it did not matter then and does not matter now. This post is not about facts and figures: my comfort zone. This post is about emotions and the [...]

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September 4th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Avoiding a Career as a Perpetual Postdoc

By Clara Castillejobecerra

As trainees, we are faced with a frustrating reality-- the job market cannot meet the increasing supply of PhDs. We know this and most of us decide to pursue further postdoctoral training in order to become more qualified for the limited positions. Unfortunately, the few years we anticipate for postdoctoral training can extend longer than desired, thereby causing many of us to become stuck in perpetual postdoctoral work. Disillusioned by the process, a portion of us will abandon our initial career goals to settle for less than desired or just leave science altogether. But are some of us simply destined to this path? If not, then what can we do to avoid the fate of a perpetual postdoc?

Well [...]

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August 24th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Learning to Listen: Doing Federal Policy from the Bottom-Up in Indian Country

By Andrew M. Harrsion

By Ibrahim Garba, MA, JD, LLM

In a Philosophy and Medicine course I took in graduate school, the professor spent the semester comparing two models of medicine: the biomedical and the humanistic. Broadly speaking, the biomedical model is based on a view of persons being measurable, empirical entities that can be restored to health through the return of bodily functions and processes to a state of normalcy (statistically defined). In contrast, the humanistic model proposes a dualistic view of personhood, framing humans as being constituted of both “body” and “self”. Consequently, restoring the measurable, empirical component of a person (i.e. the body) is only part of the task of healing. There remains the self, an entity so easily caricatured as the [...]

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July 10th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Lessons from My First Year in Graduate School

By Crystal Mendoza

I would like to thank my fellow Diversity Blog editors for their helpful advice and input for this blog post.

As summer begins, my first year of graduate school comes to an end. The fact that my first year of graduate school has come to a close brings mixed feelings. I have come a bit further than I was at this same time last year, and thankfully, have learned a few things. In honor of the incoming graduate school class, I have decided to dedicate this post to them to hopefully offer some helpful advice on first-year experiences.

The most important aspect of a PhD is the mentor and lab in which you will be conducting your thesis work. It’s easy to get [...]

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June 29th, 2014 · 5 Comments

Why aren’t more white males a part of the Lean In discussion at Mayo Clinic?

By Andrew M. Harrsion

By Rielyn R. Campbell

I think Jackson Katz said it best in his Ted talk from November 2012, “A lot of men hear the term “women’s issues” and we tend to tune it out, and we think, “Hey, I’m a guy. That’s for girls.” Or “That’s for the women.” And “a lot of men literally don’t get beyond the first sentence as a result.” I hope if you are a man reading this, you get past the first sentence.

On June 19, 2014, I attended the Lean In session (link through Mayo Clinic intranet only), hosted by Mayo Clinic’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and several Mayo Employee Resource Groups (MERGs). After opening remarks from Dr. [...]

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June 5th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

DREAMing a Career in Science (Undocumented Students’ Pursuit of Science Careers)

By Clara Castillejobecerra

On June 15, 2012, the Obama administration announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides deportation relief for a period of two years to qualified undocumented youth who came to the United States as children. While deferred action does not confer lawful status in the United States, it is a renewable program that can provide employment authorization to DACA recipients. Since its announcement, more than half a million youth have applied to deferred action becoming a successful first step into a more permanent immigration reform.

Modified from Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) - the case for undocumented students in higher education

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May 29th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

This is your mind on grad school: The state of graduate student mental health at UC Berkeley

By Carl Gustafson

Editor’s note: This article was first published in the Spring 2014 edition of the Berkeley Science Review. It has been re-posted to the Mayo Clinic Diversity in Education blog with the direct, written consent of the original authors. You may view the original article here.

This is your mind on grad school

Featured image: In a 2012 survey of UC Berkeley graduate students, nearly half of respondents reported frequently feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, sad, hopeless, or depressed. credit: concept: Holly Williams; design:; source for words: csf/asuc/ga 2012 graduate student survey and


This is your mind on grad school: The state of graduate student mental health at UC [...]

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May 22nd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Finding a science Profession, or What do I want to be when I grow up?

By Andrew M. Harrsion

By Stephen C. Ekker, PhD

High angst for a PhD student in life sciences today. From the mea culpaRescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws’ in published in PNAS by Drs. Alberts, Kirschner, Tilghman, and Varmus, to the high uncertainty of public funding of science, it is understandable – and very appropriate – for young scientists to be concerned about their future.

Chen, Ekker, and Davis

Dr. Ekker with Drs. Eleanor Chen and Ann Davidson, both former grad students in the Ekker lab and both pursuing their own science adventures (one in the US, one now in Canada).

Although all of the current [...]

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