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Impostor Syndrome: It's Not What You Think

I was beyond flattered (read Impostor Syndrome trigger!!) when I was invited to be a keynote speaker for the Graduate Women in Science's (GWIS) annual national conference this year in 2021. They wanted me to talk about my work on impostor syndrome and I remember literally having the thought: "Who am I to talk about impostor syndrome?!" As I have had some requests to share the video (approved by GWIS), I figured this blog would be a good place for it.

Some of the topics related to impostor syndrome that I cover: belonging, over-confidence cycles, the fear of powerful women, race, gender, representation, intersectionality, the toxic aspects of graduate school culture and academia nested within the broader dominant White American culture.

One of the key framings for the talk was based on an article by Ruchika Tulshyan & Jodi-Ann Burey called Stop Telling Women They Have Impostor Syndrome. I highly recommend this read. Basically, clinical psychology has focused on individual deficits model to explain and address impostor syndrome - that it is our faulty beliefs of inadequacy that are the source of the issue, and that we need to work on changing our thoughts. Tulshyan and Burey turn this idea on its head by pointing out that it is sexism and racism, along with the cultural and systemic challenges they create, that are the true cause of impostor syndrome, and that should be the targets for change.

This talk covers some of the unique positions, experiences, and power that womxn of all kinds possess, that make us indispensable/invaluable to the progression of science and the betterment of our world.

Scroll to the last few minutes of the talk to hear me read the messages that women in science want me to share directly TO YOU.


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