From: Jessica Martin <jessica.a.martin**At_Symbol_Here**UCONN.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Diversity in Chemical Health and Safety
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 2020 10:43:35 -0400
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**Princeton.EDU>
Message-ID: F2916ADD-E65B-4C1B-BA1A-ECE1101AB033**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <724BEA7E-FA10-48CE-B749-D1628672E118**At_Symbol_Here**>


I was absolutely blown away by that statistic! Over 80% of the OSH undergrads at Keene State are white males? What do the demographics of Keene State look like overall?

I am particularly fascinated by the male part. I have had several conversations with people about who has been attracted to the LST movement and to discussions about safety in academic labs, and it appears to be very heavily female. It has been hypothesized that this may be because women often feel "responsible" for others and that safety could be connected to the concept of "nurture." That being said, I also notice a very heavily male component to safety within the industrial context. 

Jessica A. Martin
NSF Graduate Research Fellow
Joint Safety Team 
Pinkhassik Group, Department of Chemistry
University of Connecticut

"To change a community, you have to change the composition of the soil-
If you want to meet with me, come to the garden with your shovel so we can plant some sh-t." 
Ron Finley

"Argue for your limitations 
and sure enough they're yours." 
Richard Bach

"You know, farming looks mighty easy
when your plow is a pencil, and you're
a thousand miles from the corn field."
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from prior leaders before it all dies in the black holes of their souls."
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On Jul 22, 2020, at 1:02 PM, Stuart, Ralph <Ralph.Stuart**At_Symbol_Here**KEENE.EDU> wrote:

*Message sent from a system outside of UConn.*

My initial thoughts are that we do have an issue about how people enter the profession in the first place.

There is an interesting challenge for two reasons:
1) I suspect that professional safety work is not something that people become aware of as a career choice until they are recruited into the work, either due to a unfortunate personal experience or an unexpected career opportunity.
2) Among those who intentionally choose an occupational health and safety undergrad major here at Keene State are white males by a large majority (at least 80%).
So I'm not sure that the problem is the leaky pipeline we see in other fields so much as getting diverse people into the pipeline to begin with.

If we are able to do recruit a more diverse group, I think that the profession will see similar benefits to those realized by other fields when women and people of color start asking questions that the profession doesn't traditionally address. A good discussion of the challenge these professionals face can be found in the Probability Matters podcast at
particularly Episode 16, where a female woman of color talks about her experiences as a safety professional. There are several other episodes of this podcast that discuss diversity issues. Probability Matters is a podcast from the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the AIHA.

Thanks for raising this question.

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
603 358-2859


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