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Renegotiating identities in international academic careers

Many academics move countries in pursuit of career opportunities. With every move, personal identities are renegotiated as people shift between belonging to majority and minority groups in different contexts. Institutes should consider people’s dynamic and intersectional identities in their diversity, equity and inclusion practices.

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Fig. 1: Holding simultaneous identities.


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A.E. was supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. M.N.U. was supported by the National Science Foundation (DEB-2016678). We are indebted to many students, professors, family members and friends for insightful conversations. In particular, we thank A. B. Hurtado, M. W. Pennell, S. Winton, and N. Balyasnikova for their feedback.

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A.E., L.M.G., S.H., N.O.P. and M.N.U contributed to the writing of the manuscript. S.H. did the figure.

Positionality statement We are five Colombian-born ecologists, descendants of Spanish settlers and mixed-blooded mestizos. We identify as cisgender women, and two of us are mothers. All of us have moved from Colombia to European (Norway, England, Switzerland), Asian (China, Indonesia) and North American (USA and Canada) countries to advance our careers. Our new roles have forced us to renegotiate our identities as minority Latinas in STEM fields. In Colombia we identify as being part of the majority group when it comes to our racial identity, but simultaneously we belong to minority groups when it comes to our profession. All five of us work in US and Canadian universities in biology, zoology and environmental studies departments.

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Correspondence to Alejandra Echeverri.

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Echeverri, A., Guzman, L.M., Heredia, S. et al. Renegotiating identities in international academic careers. Nat Ecol Evol 6, 1796–1798 (2022).

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