Diversity Statement

Matthew Hirschey
Matthew Hirschey
Last updated 
Ideas are the engine of scientific progress. To keep moving forward, science requires all people, from all backgrounds, from all life experiences have a voice. A diversity of ideas can only come from a diversity of people.

I categorically oppose individual actions, institutional practices, or systemic policies that oppress any people, and am an ally to all, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, ability, age, sexual orientation, culture, gender, gender identity, or other personal characteristics.

I am personally committed to on-going learning, creating awareness, and taking action to build a diverse and inclusive environment where all persons are valued for their unique ideas and voices. I have a history of supporting under-represented minorities in science and pledge to continue to do so in the future. I have successfully mentored students to obtain NRSA (F31) diversity fellowships and NIH R01 Diversity Supplements that are funding mechanisms to specifically support under-represented minorities in science. I am a faculty member of the Office of Biomedical Graduate Diversity at Duke University, which was developed to "unite the individual biomedical PhD programs in the Duke University School of Medicine to provide support, resources, and training that enrich the Duke School of Medicine PhD experience, graduate curriculum, and professional development environment, empowering Duke students to develop their full potential as independent scientists poised to pursue diverse careers". I have served on Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) admissions committee to actively advocate for increased diversity in biomedical graduate admissions. I have also served on the Regulatory Networks in Health and Disease Seminar Series Committee to help provide a platform for scientists of diverse backgrounds to share their work. I have served as an instructor for several "Frontiers" courses, in which advanced undergraduate students, especially under-represented minorities (URMs), earn an NIH-supported scholarship to attend short-term, intensive laboratory and didactic courses, coupled with opportunities for Mentored Research and Pilot Research. Specifically, I have participated in the  FRONTIERS IN STEM CELLS IN CANCER at Howard University (HBCU) and Ponce School of Medicine, FRONTIERS IN AGING AND REGENERATIVE MEDICINE at Xavier University, Morehouse School of Medicine and Meharry Medical College (also HBCUs), and others. Lastly, I independently spearheaded a community-wide learning platform for Data Science in R called Tidybiology which brings together scientists and community members who share a common interest to learn in a safe and welcoming environment.
The history of science has recorded significant contributions from people of all races, ethnicities, religions, socioeconomic statuses, abilities, ages, etc. The future of scientific progress requires ideas and voices of all people. Paulo Freire said “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral ”. Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel, and Martin Luther King Jr. each shared the same sentiment that you cannot be neutral in situations of injustice. Their lives show that taking a stand is hard, but is essential to dismantling injustice. I will not be silent. I commit to learn, to create awareness, and to take action to be anti-racist and support change. Science requires it. Humanity requires it.

-Matthew Hirschey
Last updated July 7, 2020