Inclusion and Diversity

Inclusion & Diversity Lab Statement

We aim to include all lab members in the discovery process and to carry out experiments honestly and carefully. We expect members of the lab to treat each other and the animals that make our work possible with respect. We recognize that a diversity of skills, thought, and life experiences increases our ability to solve problems and aim to broaden representation in science to include those underrepresented due to race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, immigration status, and/or socioeconomic status. We are committed to recruiting and supporting scholars from all backgrounds and to promoting their sense of belonging and safety. We work to respect individual needs, styles, and career goals and mentor accordingly. When we fail to live up to these goals, we pledge to listen, learn, and change our behavior, just like we would if an experiment failed.

Please see below for diversity resources and a copy of the Wilkinson Lab Mentorship Contract which explains expectations for both students and the PI.

Research Programs that Support Students Underrepresented in STEM

  1. NIH Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program (Director: Dr. Cleber Ouverney):
  2. NIH Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Program (Director Dr. Karen Singmaster):
  3. NSF Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) (Director Dr. Karen Singmaster):
  4. Department of Education McNair Scholars Program (Director: Dr. Maria Elena Cruz):

Campus Resources

  1. UndocuSpartan Student Resource Center :
  2. SJSU PRIDE Center :
  3. International Student and Scholar Services
  4. Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center :
  5. African American/Black Student Success Center :
  6. Mosaic Cross Cultural Center :
  7. Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, SJSU Chapter :

Wilkinson Lab Mentorship Contract

Expectations for Lab Students

You will take ownership of your educational experience

  • Early on we will discuss your personal and program goals for your experience.  You will need to know what you are required to do for your degree program. If there are elements where you need feedback from me or your team leader, please involve us early.
  • You are strongly encouraged to make an Individual Development Plan and talk with me about your career goals and steps you can take to meet those goals.
  • Ensure that you meet with me regularly and complete your weekly check-ins on Slack so I can help you with any challenges that you are facing.
  • All students must sign up for directed research credit (BIOL 180, BIOL 297, or BIOL 298), unless there is a reason that you cannot do so that you have communicated to Dr. Wilkinson.
  • To gain the most from the research experience, students are expected to work 10 hrs/week on average during the school year. It is understandable that this is not possible some weeks due to other commitments or changes to experiment schedules.

You will maintain a professional attitude and work to improve your research skills

  • Establish and maintain a regular research schedule.  Be on time for all meetings. If a situation comes up that you will need to be late or adjust your hours, tell your team leader or other shift members first.  Please ensure that you find someone to cover your shift if necessary so that your team isn’t shorthanded.
  • Keep detailed lab notebooks – these are essential to turn your hard work into a finished paper and for us to understand what happened during the experiment. For many procedures in the lab we have a template of which information should be recorded. If you aren’t sure, don’t hesitate to ask others in the lab.
  • Begin reading the scientific literature – read the papers your mentor or I suggest, run a literature search and read papers suggested by this search. Spend some time updating your literature search and just browsing – if you plan to stay in science this is a good way to find out what other areas sound interesting.
  • You will work safely in the lab.  Before beginning in the lab you must complete safety training.  Be sure to label everything you work with in the lab so that others know what it is. When working in the labs of other investigators or in common equipment rooms, be polite, neat, and gracious.  Always follow their rules. Equipment issues should be communicated to Dr. Wilkinson as soon as possible and in as much detail as possible.
  • Treat all animals with respect. Our research cannot be accomplished without the use of animals. We all must commit to minimizing pain and discomfort and doing our best to get usable data from every animal we use. All students must complete Citi Animal Training, read all animal protocols, and complete a training in the Animal Care Facility. No pictures of animals may be posted on social media.
  • Learn how to accept and use constructive criticism. This feedback is intended to improve your work and is part of the scientific training process. I do not expect you to be perfect the first time and you should not take constructive criticism to mean that you are not good at science. I go through many drafts of my own work before I am happy with the result. However, if there is a more productive way for me to communicate feedback to you, please let me know.
  • Practice good data management. All students are responsible for keeping their data and analyzed files organized and backed up on the Lab Backup Drive and Google Drive. When you leave the lab, another student should be able to understand your system and find all relevant data.
  • Be respectful, tolerant of, and work collegially with laboratory colleagues:  respect individual differences in values, personalities, and work styles.  Working in teams can be very challenging, but it is an important skill for any future career. Approach any conflict with the idea that the other person has the best intentions and try to calmly discuss potential solutions. Recognize that not all students will have the same goals, priorities, or available time that you do, but they can still play an important role in the lab. Realize that we all have implicit biases that we need to actively work to minimize. Involve Dr. Wilkinson if a conflict cannot be managed productively.

What you can expect from me

  • I am committed to mentoring you now and in the future.  I am committed to your education and training while in my lab, and to advising and guiding your career development. I will work to promote you and your work. I am always happy to provide you letters of recommendation or references, but do give me 3 weeks’ notice for letters if possible. I appreciate reminders of deadlines so that I do not inadvertently miss any.
  • I will be available for regular meetings and will provide timely review of research.  In addition, I will do my best to provide an open door policy and respond quickly to e-mails/Slack messages.  Please be aware that there will be times when I will be unavailable due to other obligations, but this does not mean that I do not want to help you succeed. 
  • I will provide a work environment that is intellectually stimulating, supportive, safe, and free from harassment. I take seriously any difficulties you experience in relationship to this statement. I am open to feedback on how I am mentoring you and recognize that I do not always understand the needs of students in the lab. If there are conflicts with another lab member, please inform me and I will work with you and the other lab member to find a resolution.I will strive to understand your unique situation and am open to your suggestions on how to improve your experience in the lab.