Raychelle Burks, St. Edward's University, USA
Bio: After a few years working in a crime lab, Burks returned to academia, teaching, and forensic science research. An analytical chemist, Burks enjoys the challenge of developing detection methods for a wide-variety of analytes including regulated drugs and explosives. Burks current research efforts are focused on the design, fabrication, and analysis of colorimetry sensors that are field portable. To maximize portability, Burks works on utilizing smart phones as scientitic analytical devices. A chemistry enthusiast, Burks hopes to ignite her students' appreciation of chemistry through innovative projects, multi-media education tools, and probably far too many pop culture references. Burks helped create and organize SciPop Talks!, a popular talk series blending science and pop culture. Burks is a popular science communicator, appearing on the Science Channel's Outrageous Acts of Science, ACS Reactions videos, Royal Society of Chemistry podcasts, and at genre conventions such as DragonCon and GeekGirlCon. This, and more information about Burks is available here.
Burks will giver her Plenary Lecture to start the "Making Canadian Chemistry Stronger Through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion" special session, by highlighting aspects of her career as a researcher, science communicator and advocate.
Abstract: Interdisciplinary & Intersectional: A Chemist's Journey
Forensic chemist. Black feminist. Along my path to becoming a professional scientist, I was expected to choose, putting science first and then the other. This othering is a false choice and antithetical to the interdisciplinary scientist that I am as a forensic chemist, while also not aligning to my values as a black feminist with an intersectional eye. To be interdisciplinary is to integrate the totality of multiple disciplines to answer questions beyond the border of a single discipline – questions and their answers residing in a shared space. Intersectionality is framework for analyzing how oppressions associated with identity are overlapping, sometimes uniquely so, requiring consideration from shared space. My life, scholarship, teaching, and service resides in shared spaces. In this talk, I will discuss how shared spaces shaped me, my professional practice, and how putting shared spaces first makes me better at science.