"If we want to ensure our workforce reflects the diversity of the public we serve, we need individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, skills, and abilities that can bring unique perspectives, and life experiences, to tackle highly complex challenges to achieve NASA’s mission."
~NASA, 2015: Promising Practices for Equal Opportunity, Diversity, and Inclusion

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What is DEIA?

You may have heard the terms or acronyms of DEI or DEIA. What does this mean, and why is it important?

Below is a quote from an unknown author:

  • Accessibility is being able to get into the building. 
  • Diversity is getting invited to the table.
  • Inclusion is having a voice at the table.
  • Belonging is having your voice heard at the table!

To this, we would add an explanation of equity (in contrast to equality): 

Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities, whereas Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.  [Source: The George Washington University School of Public Health] These resources and opportunities might be different for each person involved.

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility are vital to ensure a safe and supportive environment for all NEBP team members, and we encourage all students, adult leaders and other mentors to be thinking about how we can make our NEBP environment the most welcoming to all.

The NEBP project has many goals. Below are just a few related to DEIA:

  • Advance participants' understanding of worldview diversity in education and the workplace
  • Grow learners' awareness of cultural perspectives in science
  • Increase the capacities of participants, leaders and Subject Matter Experts to offer inclusive, equitable STEM education
  • Broaden participation for people who have been historically under-represented or under-served in STEM

NASA Core Values + Science Activation Application

NEBP is support by NASA SciAct (short for Science Activation), a NASA Science program that helps learners of all ages “do” science!  For the next four years, a cooperative network of thirty-three competitively-selected teams from across the Nation will work with NASA infrastructure teams to connect NASA science experts, real content, and experiences with community leaders to do science in ways that activate minds and promote deeper understanding of our world and beyond.

Below are NASA's Core Values and how they apply to NASA SciAct:

  • Safety/Health
  • Excellence
    • Rigor – We use evidence and work toward audience-based solutions
    • Innovation – We look for novel ideas to improve our practices
  • Integrity
    • Public Value – We seek to add value in all our activities
  • Teamwork
    • Partnerships – We leverage connections to amplify our impact
  • Inclusion
    • Broadening Participation – We strive to share NASA science with all

Science Activation Group Norms

Mutual Respect – We respect each other and value each other’s perspective

Reciprocity – We take care of ourselves so we can also care for others

Openness – We listen first and seek to understand other perspectives

Accountability – We take full responsibility for our words/actions

Humility – We own our limitations of perspective and seek others’ viewpoints

Kindness – We are kind to each other, even when we disagree

Collaboration – We work together to achieve common goals and objectives

Some Issues Related to Inclusive STEM Culture from The Breakthrough Inclusive Action Toolkit

The Breakthrough Inclusive Action Toolkit is a resource developed by Science Friday and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to provide guidance for advancing STEM inclusion. Full Toolkit document.

Below, we borrow from the Toolkit to offer brief descriptions of issues of potential relevance to partners and participants in the Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project. We encourage partners and participants to download the Toolkit to explore these topics further. Additional references are also provided within the Toolkit.

Marginalization is a state of exclusion where a person or a group’s participation in society, rights, power, and/or privilege is limited.

Minoritization is the social construction of underrepresentation and subordination in social institutions that is imposed in certain situations and institutional environments.

Underrepresentation denotes that the representation of certain groups of people in science and engineering education and employment differs from their representation in the U.S. population.

Conscious (i.e., explicit) and unconscious (i.e., implicit) bias impact the educational experiences of marginalized, minoritized, and underrepresented students.

People with personal identities including (dis)ability, neurodiversity, and LGBTQ+ experience bias and discrimination in science and engineering contexts.

These issues (e.g., marginalization, etc.) can impact retention and/or completion of an individual’s educational and professional experiences.

Inequity in funding processes and outcomes have been shown to disproportionately affect women and minoritized groups. Word-of-mouth dissemination and recruitment tactics are intrinsically biased.

The idea of fit is often used to eliminate non-majority applicants.

Recommendation letters have been found to be subject to biases that favor males and more privileged applicants with connections to powerful letter writers.

Microaggressions are brief phrases or actions that communicate (sometimes subtle) slights or insults against a group of people (e.g., Where are you “really” from?).

Gaslighting is when a hearer tells a speaker that the speaker’s claim isn’t that serious, or that they’re overreacting, being too sensitive, or not interpreting events properly (e.g., They didn’t mean anything by it.)

Weed out practices and courses disproportionately lead first-generation college students and students of color to change their major or even their institution.

Culturally relevant practices that connect curriculum, instruction, and assessment to the experiences, cultures, and traditions of students from racial and ethnic minorities can provide educational benefits to all students.

The contributions of women, Black, Indigenous, people of color, and those with LGBTQ+ identities are often omitted from STEM learning experiences.

Inclusive meetings

Meetings and collaborative teamwork are at the heart of NEBP. Below are some resources on planning -- and participating in - inclusive meetings.

Guide to inclusive meetings – Harvard Office for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

This guide from Harvard University is designed to help meeting organizers:

  • Establish meetings that are more inclusive for all individuals, especially those from marginalized groups such as women and people with disabilities;
  • Educate organizers on before-meeting strategies that can improve meeting engagement for attendees;
  • Allow facilitators to run effective meetings that are well-structured and consider attendees' diverse learning styles; 
  • Provide an after-meeting protocol to follow-up with attendees and reflect on the meeting experience.


Inclusive meetings checklist - Quiet Revolution

This guide from quiet Revolution includes tips for both meeting organizers and meeting participants.

© 2018 Quiet Revolution


Guide to organizing inclusive scientific meetings - 500 Women Scientists

Because participation in scientific meetings is so essential for a successful career in science, it’s imperative that they be designed as equitable, inclusive, accessible, and just spaces. Only by creating such conditions can we support diversity in career advancement and, in turn, produce more robust scientific exchange and science-informed solutions.