Image Credit: NPR

With ever-advancing technology, humans are increasingly relying on algorithms to make difficult decisions, such as how to allocate hospital beds in ICUs or which candidate to select for a job. However, they become dangerous when both the algorithms and data they utilize do not consider either ethical implications or representation, and decisions, when made by the software, are not reviewed and vetted by real people. Machine-learning algorithms originally designed to equitably and efficiently determine COVID-19 vaccination prioritization are struggling with this exact problem, as demonstrated at Stanford University.

In December, Stanford developed a complex algorithm in the hopes of efficiently…

Hazel M. Johnson was a passionate environmental justice advocate from the 1970s until her death in 2011. She fought for clean air and water on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois by empowering, educating, and organizing her community in Altgeld Gardens. Watching television, she learned the South Side had the highest rate of cancer in Chicago and in her own neighborhood, saw firsthand how many suffered from cancer and from respiratory disease, especially children. The root of the problem was that Altgeld Gardens was built on a landfill. …

Lisa Perez Jackson is a chemical engineer, who had an illustrious 20-year career at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), serving as its administrator from 2009 to 2013 and becoming the first African American and fourth woman to hold the position. Throughout her career, she has vehemently fought to protect the nation’s water, air, and land and cracked down on the oil and coal industries for their contributions to pollution.

She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but adopted and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jackson went on to graduate summa cum laude from Tulane University with a bachelor’s degree in chemical…

Image Credit: Evan Greer

Streaming platform Spotify has amassed 155 million premium subscribers and 345 million active users monthly in over 170 countries and is expanding its services to 85 more countries in 2021. However, it has received harsh criticism for underpaying musicians and artists, continuing the illegal practice of Payola for big labels, and concealing its payment structures. The United Musicians and Allied Workers Union (UMAW) spearheaded a Justice at Spotify campaign last October with demands, such as increasing the average streaming royalty from $.0038 USD to a penny per stream, and the group protested outside of Spotify offices on March 15.


Image Credit: ADHD Center for Success

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder characterized by hyperactivity and impulsive behavior, and it is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder in children. An estimated 6.1 million (9.4%) of children (ages 2–17) have ADHD in the United States alone. There is not a single definitive cause of ADHD, but genetics, brain function and anatomy, and the environment all come into play. In terms of genetics, ADHD commonly runs in families, so children with the condition have a ¼ chance that a biological parent has ADHD. Impaired function of the prefrontal cortex in the ADHD brain causes difficulties paying…

Star Wars is an iconic movie franchise, staple in American pop culture, and bridge between generations. However, it plays into and perpetuates the destructive stereotypes of disabled people as villains or liabilities.

Image Credit: Pinterest

In 2020, there was a 10-year record high of 3.1% disabled actors on television, but that is far from the benchmark of 1 in 4 adults with a disability in the United States. The media often employs stereotypes when portraying the disabled community, either romanticizing or demonizing them but rarely accurately portraying them.

Across history, literature and film associate disabilities with evil, violence, corruption, and crime. The portrayal…

A recent movement spearheaded by leading companies, such as Dell Technologies, SAP, Microsoft, and Goldman Sachs, aims to include more cognitive diversity in the workforce.

Image Credit: UConn Today

Neurodiversity in the Workplace (NITW) + Dell & SAP

Nonprofit organization and consultancy Neurodiversity in the Workplace is at the forefront of introducing neurodiversity talent acquisition programs and practices to employers. It provides a framework and support for partner companies, such as Dell Technologies and SAP, “seeking to tap autistic and neurodivergent potential.”

Let us be disrupters and agents of change, and bring true meaning to diversity in the workforce,” philanthropist Lisa Yang said about her $2M endowment and partnership with the organization.

Image Credit: Big Data Made Simple

Each internet search, song played, video streamed, message sent, route planned via GPS, cashless payment, and social media scroll contributes to growing energy consumption, global demand for electricity, and rising CO2 emissions. The world’s digital carbon footprint is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

Although the data that we are sending, receiving, and consuming is not physically tangible, it has a large toll on the planet and its people. Devices, such as smartphones and laptops, are often produced through unethical labor and under harmful environmental conditions. Hardware has a short lifespan and then becomes toxic electronic waste.

On the other hand…

Image Credit: Western University

Across the globe, women, girls, nonbinary, and transgender individuals who menstruate face period poverty or inadequate access to menstrual hygiene products, safe and sanitary spaces to use them, and proper education. Menstruation can also come with shame and stigma. Period poverty poses a great risk to many women and girls’ health, education, and livelihood.

Period Poverty by The Numbers

A study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2019 found that nearly two-thirds of low-income women in the United States surveyed struggled to afford period products. …

The Catalyst: Warren County, North Carolina

The environmental justice movement emerged in the 1980s, gaining traction in predominately African-American Warren County, North Carolina, before blossoming into a national social justice movement. The state government announced its plans to dump 6,000 truckloads of soil laced with toxic pollutants: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), sparking outrage among residents. They worried that the PCBs would leak into their drinking water supply, endangering the health of the community. …

Natasha Matta

Covering the intersections of STEM and social justice.

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