Statement of Values

Boots Lab Statement of Values

We are committed to working towards an inclusive future where BIPOC, women, and LGTBQIA+ scholars are treated equitably in all realms of society. We acknowledge that our field was founded on discrimination, elitism, sexism, and racism, and that the legacies of these systems are still seen today. We also recognize that today, nations with significant research budgets determine much of the global access to the pursuit and dissemination of science which are shaped by colonial practices. That is why our lab is acting to promote antiracist ideas and policies to fight inequality in our lab, the biological sciences, and academia. We are dedicated to creating opportunities for those from historically marginalized backgrounds in our scientific community to make an environment that is equitable to all and representative of the American population. 

“We will act to promote antiracist ideas and enact antiracist policies to fight racial inequality in society and academia.”


  1. We will advertise all available positions in the lab, attempting to reach as broad an audience as possible.
  2. We will work to recruit BIPOC, women, and/or LGBTQIA+ people.
  3. We consider diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work as valuable experience and criteria for appointment.

Creating and maintaining an inclusive environment:

  1. We are committed to personally educating ourselves about the history of racial injustice and current issues in academia and beyond.
  2. We are committed to staying up-to-date on best practices for equity and inclusion and implementing them whenever possible.
  3. We are committed to listening to our BIPOC, women, and/or LGBTQIA+ lab members and colleagues about their experiences of discrimination and supporting them.
  4. We are committed to reflecting on our own behavior and privileges, and working to fight racism wherever we may find it, including within ourselves.
  5. We will make sure that training, mentoring, funding, and networking opportunities are equitably offered and distributed within the lab.
  6. We will share learnings, resources, activities, and best practices with the lab to foster active conversations about equity and inclusion. 
  7. We will devote a semesterly lab meeting to explicitly reevaluate our lab climate and how we have upheld and could improve on this statement of values.
  8. We support lab members using their time to contribute to department, campus, field, or public DEI work as a key part of being a responsible member of the scientific community. We will specifically share our work in these areas during lab meetings and on Slack to recognize its importance and discuss ways to get involved.
  9. We encourage participation and attending activities, seminars, and workshops about DEI initiatives that are organized at our institution, and at scientific conferences. This includes workshops that focus on topics such as microaggressions, implicit biases, historical context for racism, etc. 
  10. We aim to actively include publications from people of color into our lab meetings, presentations, lessons, scientific talks, and public presentations. 
  11. When hosting conferences or seminars where we are inviting speakers, we will always aim to invite speakers from historically underrepresented groups to diversify the panelist speakers.
  12. When reviewing papers, we will not make assumptions about the quality of the science in the paper based on the authors names, affiliations, nor the quality of the English, as this form of bias is rooted in racism (see:

Stance on discrimination within the lab:

  1. We are committed to work against discrimination and harassment in our lab and broader community. We pledge to promote antiracist ideas on a daily basis, and actively speak out against racist remarks, microaggressions, and discrimination.
  2. Avenues for reporting 
    1. You may report incidents to Professor Boots or other lab members anonymously or by name.
    2. For more serious incidents, the IB GSAO, cohort advisors, head graduate advisor, equity advisors, and chair can all respond to reports.
    3. You may also file a report anonymously or by name on the UC Systemwide Intolerance Reporting Form
  3. We will not retaliate against any reports of harassment or discrimination in the lab, instead welcoming criticisms and seeking to educate ourselves to prevent such instances from recurring. We will also support lab members in the event of reporting discrimination at the department or university level.
  4. We are committed to addressing and learning from all instances that make the lab climate unsupportive, not only instances that require formal intervention.


  1. We will not collaborate with Professors/researchers who refuse to hire Black students and those with a history of sexual harassment. We will extend this to people who discriminate against any minoritized group.
  2. We will support trainees building diverse mentoring networks, including giving trainees full control over the composition of their committees, so that they can choose mentors who will support them.
  3. We will actively seek collaborations outside of our immediate networks in order to promote diversity in our work.
  4. We will promote an open and inclusive work culture in our field and beyond. 
  5. We will promote and cite work of BIPOC, women, and/or LGBTQIA+ scholars.
  6. We pledge to amplify the voices of BIPOC, women, and/or LGBTQIA+ scholars on a daily basis.

Role in the wider community:

  1. Lab members are encouraged to participate in outreach activities that foster science education in the community. 
    1. Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS)
    2. Skype a Scientist
    3. Future Advancers of Science and Technology (FAST)
    4. Communication, Literacy, and Education in Agricultural Research (CLEAR)
    5. Expanding your Horizons
    6. Bridges to Baccalaureate (NIH B2B)
  2. We will actively consider the implications of our work, especially when related to applied human and agricultural disease, in the context of its possible impacts on racial justice and equity. We will be active in sharing these implications with a broader audience through social media, news articles, etc. 

Field research: 

  1. We will only engage in projects that foster equal collaboration, participation, and authorship opportunities between foreign and local researchers from diverse backgrounds.
  2. We recognize our field’s colonial roots and aim to educate ourselves in our colonialist history and conduct best practices to collaborate with others (see “Colonialism in Entomology” video from Black in Ento week for more info). 
  3. We condemn research that extracts data, samples, or ideas from local communities. We are committed to using our position of privilege to amplify and support the voice of local researchers, as well as develop scientific capacity in our study regions.
  4. When we arrive in new areas, we will engage with local communities and learn from the people who are experts in the field, collaborating with them and giving them proper co-authorship of research which is only possible due to their assistance. 
  5. We will actively consider the context and regularly reevaluate the implications of our science and collaborations in our study regions.
  6. We will work with members of our lab to consider fieldwork safety in the context of possible race or other identity-related dangers.
  7. We will work to foster academic and intellectual collaborations with foreign counterparts that are not exclusively based in field research but also include conceptual and theoretical work.
  8. We will publish the results from field work in journals that are accessible to the people in the area from which the information was taken. 
  9. We recognize that language is important. When possible we will try to publish at least the abstract in the language of the area from which the data was taken such that the knowledge gained can be communicated back to the local people. 


  1. The lab will provide research opportunities for undergraduate students of diverse backgrounds and utilize mentorship programs on campus such as the STEM Excellence through Equity & Diversity (SEED) Scholars program. 
  2. When selecting students, we prioritize finding students who demonstrate interest and understanding of conceptual aspects of the lab work and consider skill sets developed through work and other experience, so that we do not only select students who have had the opportunity to conduct research previously. 
  3. When working with undergrads, we will strive to provide financial support, or at least course credit, to open up opportunities for a broad range of students who are not able to volunteer their time. 
  4. The lab will provide undergraduates with the opportunity to provide feedback for their graduate student/postdoc mentors (in whatever degree of anonymity they are comfortable with) to ensure the mentor/mentee relationship is a positive and affirming one. 
  5. We actively recruit undergraduates through the URAP, work-study, and paid summer programs (B2B, SMART) to ensure that our open positions are widely and equitably advertised. 

We affirm that we will uphold these values to the best of our abilities.

Signed by:

Nina Sokolov 

Mike Boots

Claire Evensen

Sarah Guth

Laura Alexander

Sara Herrejon Chavez 

Elisa Visher

May 27th, 2021

Statement of paper availability:

We are proud of the papers we have produced in the Boots lab and are excited you are interested in reading them! If you cannot find a paper written by a member of the team or a link we have provided is not working, please do not hesitate to get in contact with one of the authors so we can help. 

Lab Updates and Activities:

Aug 25/Sept 1 Lab Meetings: We reviewed this statement of values with our new lab members. As part of this review, we decided to add this updates section to show how our lab has been implementing these values. We also wanted to discuss the language around decolonization in this document, so we all read Tuck and Yang (2012) “Decolonization is not a metaphor”. From this reading, we decided that it was better to directly describe how we plan/conduct research in other countries rather than using the language of decolonization as our research program does not directly include plans to return land. 

Sept 2021: Elisa just hired new undergraduate researchers through the work-study program. We currently have money for the moth lab through our new NSF grant, so we prioritized hiring paid undergraduate researchers this Fall to provide research opportunities that were financially compensated.