Belonging at SML


A diversity of perspectives, background, origins, talents, and interests strengthens and deepens the SML experience. SML is committed to supporting a diverse community and a strong sense of belonging for all. Belonging at SML is about fostering respect and appreciation for difference, having a shared purpose, and being a part of a community, while simultaneously being valued and appreciated for the uniqueness that each person brings. 

Anti-racist behaviors, principles, and actions are critical to meeting the mission of our organization and ensuring our community can thrive. We believe our work should begin with the core of our community - the SML staff. SML staff members are currently engaged in diversity and equity training with New Hampshire Listens to deepen our understanding of institutional racism, unconscious bias, micro-aggression, allyship, and inequality in marine science, academia, and beyond. This learning program includes inviting our community to help identify any barriers and challenges to eliminating inequities, setting goals, and defining actions that will enable us to make meaningful change. 

We hope you will join us for a community conversation on race and racism moderated by NH Listens. This will be a time to openly share our perspectives and learn together as we continue to assure Shoals Marine Lab is a place of belonging for everyone. We will be offering two separate hour-long sessions to accommodate different schedules: the first on February 4th at 7:00 PM ET and the other on February 5th at 12:00 PM ET. If you have any questions about this event, please contact us at

We are committed to the following actions, and we are eager for this list to evolve as we continue to learn: 

  1. Educating ourselves about institutional and individual racism. 
  2. Identifying safe modes of communication for reporting and discussing issues of discrimination and barriers to equity at SML. 
  3. Improving recruitment communications for diversifying our programs and staff. 
  4. Engaging people of color and diverse individuals in future career panels and SML marine science seminars. 
  5. Working with our home institutions to incentivize and enhance participation of students of color and from diverse backgrounds in our research, teaching, and training programs. 
  6. Understanding and identifying institutional policies and practices that create barriers and working to reduce them.  
  7. Developing a formal strategic plan for SML to address diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

This work is our shared responsibility and opportunity. As such, we are taking progressive action towards building equity and diversity within our community and in science. 

We are excited to announce the establishment of the Shoals Diversity Scholarship, made possible by the generosity of Jay and Suzanne McFarland. This fund aims to build a stronger, more diverse community of undergraduate students studying at SML. 

Central to SML’s vision for the future is to enhance the diversity, equity, and inclusion of our programs by reducing the barriers for underrepresented students. This scholarship program is one of the many steps that will improve equal access to life-changing, experiential learning opportunities for an ever-growing Shoals community. To this end, SML encourages under-represented students to apply for this financial aid package. 

If you are interested in supporting these efforts and providing critical support to underrepresented students, we hope you will consider donating to this fund!  

Diversity is the color of the world and this should be reflected at the Shoals Marine Lab. We are thrilled to help the Shoals Marine Lab address diversity, equity, and inclusion through enrollment of a more diverse student body and bringing a world-class opportunity to these students in order to pursue their passions for the oceans and marine sciences.

- Jay and Suzanne McFarland