The use and access to resources has been found to be critical to successful outcomes in many fields (e.g., economics, anthropology, cell biology). For example, resource ecology describes how an organism’s access to resources is directly linked to their fitness and future persistence in an environment. I hypothesize that similar dynamics occur within graduate programs and may be pertinent for understanding extant equity and diversity gaps within higher education. In this context, a resource is defined as any person, place, or thing used to facilitate an action; as such, graduate students use a myriad of resources to attain their degree; consider, for example, how differential access to a resource such as funding may impact students’ persistence within their graduate programs. Although resource use is a ubiquitous aspect of the graduate student experience, the use of resources to attain educational outcomes is rarely studied. In this seminar, I will discuss the findings of three separate studies which have revealed novel information about which resources life science graduate students use, why students perceive certain resources to be more important than others, and how resource use and perception differs across demographic characteristics, such as race and gender identity. Further, this seminar will discuss the implications of these results at the levels of institutional decision-making, mentoring applications, and future research.
About the Speaker
Maryrose Weatherton is a PhD candidate at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Her research interests focus on resource use and student outcomes with STEM higher education. In 2020, Maryrose was named as a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow.