MPOWIR hosted a town hall on February 24th at the Ocean Sciences meeting in New Orleans. We were pleased to have over 75 attendees join us for a discussion on the future of MPOWIR. Also of note, there were a significant number of men in attendance showing their interest and support of MPOWIR. A short talk by Colleen Mouw introducing MPOWIR, its history and programs started off the session. Panelists then shared their experiences with MPOWIR.
Four panelists each described their involvement with MPOWIR, the significance it has had for them personally, and their ideas for MPOWIR going forward. All four panelists echoed the sentiment that, whether as a mentor or mentee, MPOWIR involvement has had a lasting impact on their careers. Panelists’ stated that involvement in MPOWIR helped them feel included in the community as a graduate student, gave them concrete advice, and gave them support at critical times in their careers when they might otherwise have considered leaving the field.
Following the panelists’ introductions, the floor was opened for questions and comments. Topics varied from entraining technical oceanographic staff, to being a resource as well as a voice in sensitive issues like discrimination and harassment. Several participants stressed the importance of educating men on issues associated with gender bias. Much of the discussion revolved around the debate of expansion versus replication for other fields and minority groups, as well as physical oceanographers outside the USA.
MPOWIR will respond to these suggestions over the next few months, for example by updating resources on the website to address harassment, as well as exploring new ideas over a longer period of time. We are also keen to make resources readily available for other groups wishing to replicate our mentoring model.
If you were unable to join us, or thought of an idea after the meeting, please feel free to contact us or submit your ideas online: http://mpowir.org/get-involved/suggestions/