Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 

This May, the American Society for Microbiology celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month by highlighting the achievements and contributions of the AAPI community to the field of microbiology.

Committing to Inclusive Diversity with Equity, Access and Accountability (IDEAA)

ASM is committed to making diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) a top priority in our mission to advance the microbial sciences. By elevating the work of scientists from AAPI communities, we aim to increase diversity within our leadership and volunteer positions to ensure that ASM reflects the demographics of the U.S. population and the entire spectrum of professionals strengthening and promoting the microbial sciences.  

Elevating Diversity in Leadership

In 2023, ASM was awarded a grant for nearly $500,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund the Microbiology Leaders Evolving and Accountable to Progress (MicroBio-LEAP) project. MicroBio-LEAP will encourage leaders to embrace and promote IDEAA within the microbial sciences and broader STEM community. The program aims to empower leaders with the strongest influence on institutional practices to guide the cultures and climates of their respective sectors and organizations.

Supporting Mentorship

We also acknowledge that we must continue to support mentorship opportunities among AAPI students and early career researchers. In 2022, we developed the Future Leaders Mentoring Fellowship to support graduate students from underrepresented groups as they navigate education and career trajectories and pursue leadership development in the microbial sciences.

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month graphic

Source: iStock

Practicing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Scientific Publishing

In 2023, we launched our curated Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Journals Collection, which includes articles from across the portfolio of ASM's journals, with papers on parallels between the microbial world and the DEI realm, how to foster DEI and inclusive accommodations in STEM education.

Please join us in supporting our AAPI colleagues by continuing to foster a professional community that uplifts, empowers and celebrates all scientists.

Featured Articles 

We prioritize the creation of robust content that celebrates DEI achievements in the microbial sciences, elevates the voices of scientists from historically underrepresented groups and identifies and engages with the work that still needs to be done to ensure the field of microbiology promotes IDEAA.

Better Student Presentations Using the Pecha Kucha Format 

Public speaking skills are critical in STEM careers. Min-Ken Liao, Ph.D. shares how to implement Pecha Kucha, a presentation method of 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each, in your classroom with your students.

Alice Huang

Exploring ASM’s DEI History: Celebrating and Learning From Our Past 

In 1988, Alice Huang, Ph.D., became the first ASM president from a historically underrepresented background and the first Asian American in the U.S. to lead a life sciences organization. Huang joined the Society in 1967 and was awarded ASM’s Eli Lilly Award in Immunology and Microbiology in 1977. In 2001, she received the Alice C. Evans Award, recognizing outstanding contributions toward the full participation and advancement of women in the microbial sciences.

Spotlights on AAPI Microbiologists 

Spotlight profile articles highlight the work and experiences of microbiologists from a diversity of backgrounds and identities in science.

Blake Ushijima

Build Your Support Network: Spotlight on Blake Ushijima

Blake Ushijima, Ph.D., highlights the value of diverse perspectives for tackling complex problems and encourages early-career scientists to find their support network—wherever it may be.

Two researchers

Keep Thinking Boldly: Spotlight on Dr. Jyothi Rengarajan 

When Dr. Jyothi Rengarajan speaks with students pursuing careers in STEM, she advises them to “stay as bold and ambitious as possible.”

Balancing Cultural Pride with Fitting in: Spotlight on P Hemarajata

Dr. P Hemarajata’s self-taught skills made LA County Department of Public Health a SARS-CoV-2 variant sequencing leader. He discusses his scientific journey and how he maintains his Thai identity in this Spotlight article.

Featured Journals Content

Intercultural Competency: Steps for Introducing Active Learning Case Studies Internationally in Confucian Heritage Culture 

As educational interculturalism continues to expand, and evidence of the benefits to science education of case-based active-learning mounts, educators must decide which key curricular elements are beneficial to use in globalized education and must be aware how these strategies impact culture.

The Emory-Tibet Science Initiative: Rethinking Cross-Cultural Science and Teaching 

The Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, a science education collaboration between Emory University and the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, provides an opportunity to explore multiple perceptions related to cross-cultural science and to situate them in the context of teaching and learning science.

mSystems logo. An open access journal published by the American Society for Microbiology.

Indigenous Knowledge and the Microbiome—Bridging the Disconnect between Colonized Places, Peoples and the Unseen Influences That Shape Our Health and Well-Being 

Read about a 3-year study taking place in New Zealand to explore environmental observations and knowledge stored in Māori and Pacific narratives and stories, and learn how sientists are using these narratives to restore local ecosystems and strengthen the connection of Indigenous Peoples to the natural environment.

Videos and Podcasts

mSystems Thinking Series: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in Microbiology

Dr. Rosie 'Anolani Alegado's expertise centers around how microbes influence the environment and, conversely, how the environment impacts the evolution of microbes. Watch this mSystems Thinking Series video and hear insights from community-embedded microbiology in Indigenous spaces.

Outbreak Detection with Wun-Ju Shieh 

Dr. Wun-Ju Shieh worked as a pathologist and infectious diseases expert with the CDC from 1995-2020. He recounts his experiences conducting high-risk autopsies on the frontlines of outbreaks, including Ebola, H1N1 influenza, mpox and SARS-CoV-1 and 2.

Minority Mixer at ASM Microbe 2022.

Minority Mixer at ASM Microbe 2022.

Source: American Society for Microbiology

Get Involved at ASM

Interested in becoming involved with ASM’s DEI efforts?