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What Are Rape Scenes Really For?

  Photo credit: HBO public domain Film will have you believe that it’s better to “show, not tell”, but I’m inclined to disagree after half an hour into any episode of Game of Thrones. Rape scenes in media are often gratuitously drawn out, uncomfortable to watch, and wholly unnecessary as a plot device. We don’t…

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Crime and Punishment and Science: What Exactly is Scientific in Forensics?

(Image credit:  http://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/q-a-with-jennifer-mnookin:-raising-the-bar-for-scientific-evidence-in-court) Systematic discrimination in the criminal justice system has been painfully highlighted recently in mainstream media.  As a scientist, researcher, and person of color, I have been thinking about ways to eradicate that discrimination in both long and short times scales.  Based on my experience trying to change safety culture (i.e., helping researchers…

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You Deserve To Be Here: Imposter Syndrome and Mental Health in Graduate School

(Photo credit: http://berkeleysciencereview.com/article/mind-grad-school/) I did something either very brave or very stupid when I came to graduate school. I changed fields. I have an undergraduate degree in Physics with a minor in English, and I switched to Materials Science for a PhD, which does not sound too different until you consider that the material scientists at…

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Triggered! Why we need trigger warnings to engage in inclusive and constructive conversation

Trigger Warnings for brief mentions of: abuse and eating disorders I feel as though there is a fundamental misunderstanding on what trigger/trigger warning is. “Stop censuring us!” people cry, “You can’t hide in your safe space forever, you have to face the real world!”. These statements always make me laugh because triggers/trigger warnings have nothing at…

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Being Active in Anti-Oppression Work and Allyship

The first Feminist Ambassador Brigade (FAB) meeting was a success! The group chose to make the first meeting a space to talk about being active in our allyship in light of the painful injustices that have happened recently. FAB read through various articles in smaller groups, then discussed in larger groups some thoughts and ideas…