top of page

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)  is dedicated to increasing and sharing knowledge about the past, present and future of tropical ecosystems and their relevance to human welfare. STRI is the only bureau of the Smithsonian Institution headquartered outside the United States.


With over a century of continuous research in the Republic of Panama, STRI boasts the best-studied tropical forest in the world, 35 resident staff scientists, 400 staff, 1200+ scientific visitors per year and an unparalleled platform that brings modern facilities and instrumentation to the heart of where tropical biodiversity is found. This research now takes place all across the tropics with over 70 partner sites to study both forest and marine ecosystems around the world.




Our group was formed when passionate conversations following a STRI panel on Women in Science made us realize that the topic was too big and important to be covered during a single symposium.  We created a biweekly journal club that met in Gamboa to discuss papers on a topic related to the struggle that women, people of color and other marginalized groups face while working in scientific fields. We also invited speakers to give presentations on their experiences in science. In 2018 we voted to change our name to Diversity in Science. This move reflected that our group had always been attracted to intersectional issues of access in science, that many of the most pressing issues at STRI are not limited to women, and that our group had always been open to people of all genders. In 2021, to better capture the scope of our work, we changed names again to IDEA: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access. Past discussion topics have included unconscious biases, intersectionality, scientific outreach to young girls, and ways men can work as allies. Our broad goals for this group have been to learn together and to bring to light the underlying social forces that create additional barriers for some of us to succeed in scientific careers.  As we expand we encourage people of all genders and career stages to attend and will strive to continue creating a space for learning, compassion, open discussion, and positive solutions.

To join the STRI-IDEA email list-serv go here


See Calendar page for a description of recent events


Our group truly began in 2018 from a panel organized by Paola Gomez,  with meetings initiated by Diana Abondano, Hannah Marti, Amanda Savage and Lynette Strickland

The STRI IDEA mission statements: 

  • To educate ourselves on barriers to access to marginalized groups and systemic inequities in science

  • To actively share, discuss, and disseminate research on diversity in science

  • To generate solutions for how to make STRI a more equitable and inclusive workplace

  • To advocate for equitable policies at STRI, our home institutions, and in science as a whole.

Our guiding principles:

We welcome people of all ethnicities, genders and career stages to attend.


We center the voices of our group members who may have direct experience with the struggles we are discussing concerning gender, race, nationality, socioeconomic background, sexuality, gender identity etc.


We value a diversity of opinions and voices. Within a discussion, if you have spoken a lot, encourage others to speak. If you have been quiet, consider adding your voice to the conversation.


We assume that everyone present is speaking and acting with the best of intentions around topics that can be difficult to discuss.


We strive to create a non-judgmental atmosphere for discussion.


We share responsibilities of planning, leading, and facilitating discussion.


Contact us if you have any questions 

bottom of page