Welcome to episode 100 of the Papa PhD podcast! In a lot of the conversations I’ve had in past interviews here on the show, we have talked about how academia and graduate school need to change. For this special episode, I’m bringing you a conversation during which I got a glimpse at what that change can look like. With this week’s guest – Shaz Zamore – we dove into the current diversity and inclusivity challenges facing academia today and into how addressing them can change the face of science and research.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Current roadblocks to diversity in university and in research
  • How we can widen the horizons of minorities early on
  • What has to change to make academia a really inclusive environment
  • Why having a support group where you can drop your guard is key
  • What a mentor can look like if you’re working in uncharted territory
  • Best practices for widening your network of likeminded people
  • How changing how science and research is depicted on all media can positively impact young people who are minoritized or intersectional
  • How to think of your PhD from the point of view of the private sector and of entrepreneuship
  • The importance of finding joy and of giving yourself the rest you need, in whichever form it takes for you

Do you enjoy Papa PhD? Leave me a comment here – one short sentence is enough! And be sure to include your Twitter handle – that way, I can thank you personally!

Shaz Zamore

Shaz Zamore is a neuroengineer and STEAM Outreach Coordinator at CU Boulder. Looking to revolutionize access to STEAM learning, they are creating innovative interactive tools aimed at intersectional minoritized middle school students. Outside of work, Shaz has a penchant for creative coding, snowboarding, baking bread and woodworking.

Thank you, Shaz Zamore!

If you enjoyed this interview with Shaz, let them know by clicking the link below and leaving them a message on Twitter:

Click here to thank Shaz Zamore on Twitter!

Click here to share your key take-away from this interview with David!

Shaz’s pearls of wisdom:

“My advice is echoed by research – have a support group. Have a support group, have a support group, have a support group. Have people you can go and go back to your base code, go back to that natural language. Drop your guard, you know? Be yourself. Be really comfortable. You’ve got to have those, especially as any sort of minoritized, especially intersectional. Have your support group. For intersectional people, I will acknowledge it’s super hard. For me, for example, black spaces aren’t always queer friendly spaces. Queer friendly spaces aren’t always black friendly spaces, and so it’s a really hard thing to navigate. But still, even if you’re not fully relaxed, even if you can’t find a black queer space, for example, that combination, even those little bits that you get those steps that you get, if it’s a single person, even, it goes so far.”

“I started to realize that there was nobody to look forward to, to say – OK, this is how you do it, this is what the decision is – because what I want to do is not really something that’s been done before. And so it stops being looking ahead and seeing who is advanced, who is further, who is better, who can tell me things, and start looking to the side and saying – Who is doing something different? How are they accessing their path to success? How are they managing their work-life balance? How are they succeeding? Who are my allies? Who are people who I feel safe around as we move forward together?”

This episode’s resources:

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