Speaking Up: How Bystanders Can Change the Conversation in STEMM


Speaking Up: How Bystanders Can Change the Conversation in STEMM

A workshop facilitated by Stephanie Goodwin, Ph.D., President, Incluxion Works, in collaboration with the University of New Hampshire’s PowerPlay Interactive Development improvisational theater team.

Ever wondered “Why didn’t I say something?” after witnessing social bias—a stereotype, a prejudice or discrimination—that happened in your everyday life? You’re not alone. Deciding whether and how to respond to bias is complicated. Understanding what motivates us to speak up, the challenges we face when doing so, and strategies for effective responding can help bystanders to bias better evaluate their options and select effective strategies. This interactive presentation will invite attendees to learn about bystander reactions to social biases and how these reactions can help or hinder decisions to speak up. Attendees will apply these concepts to everyday incidents of bias in either academic or work settings with an emphasis on understanding the challenges in STEMM contexts. Power Play Interactive Development’s team of improvisational actors will portray brief, familiar moments of bias and challenging interpersonal behavior. Attendees will be invited to interact, replay and experiment in conversation with the characters to understand the complexity of responding to biases and learn how to navigate these situations more successfully.

Workshop Goals

As a result of this workshop, participants will be able to:

Identify strategies and actions that individuals can take to respond to social bias and challenging interpersonal behavior as it happens;
Recognize and navigate these situations more successfully and with greater confidence; and
Help increase the broadening commitment to bystander/ally interventions as a contribution to culture change in STEMM.


Either session is open to all regardless of career stage. We are primarily inviting students and their professors to the morning session, and STEMM society professionals and leaders to the afternoon session.

Pre-Workshop Evaluation

This workshop is sponsored by a grant from the Sloan Foundation (No. 2019-12294), and in support of this grant, we are evaluating the effectiveness of the workshops. Registrants will receive a link to an online Pre-Workshop Evaluation located within their confirmation email along with a registration code. The evaluation is voluntary, however, we hope you will support us in this study and complete it prior to the workshop.

Getting to AGU

AGU is located within within walking distance of the Dupont Circle Metro Station on the Red Line. A public parking garage is also directly across the street from AGU.

These workshops are sponsored by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (No. 2019-12294), awarded to AGU to support developing strategies for reducing social harassment in academia and other places where scientists work.