As a first-generation postgraduate and Mexican immigrant in the US, I have experienced first-hand the difficulties of being part of an underrepresented community in my field, including cultural differences, language barrier, limited opportunities for building community, a lack of sense of belonging, among others. For this reason, I consider DEI values to be an inherent part of myself, but also a valuable framework for the promotion of equal opportunities for historically underrepresented and underserved groups in education, science, and society.

In our group, we strive to create a diverse and inclusive environment with equitable resource access for all lab members, regardless of their ethnicity, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, physical ability, appearance, socioeconomic status, prior education, and other backgrounds. We believe that having a diverse and inclusive environment in the lab helps develop essential skills difficult to achieve without such diversity, including tolerance, creativity, innovation, adaptability, and teamwork. Therefore, in the Caballero-Flores Lab, we welcome and value individuals from every background, especially those from historically disadvantaged communities.

During my academic career, I was fortunate to have superb mentors that supported my professional goals and passion for science. This allowed me to understand the importance of good mentorship, not only for the advancement of my career, but also for that of other young scientists and science. To me, successful mentorship involves not only rigorous scientific training, but also instilling passion for science and providing the mentees with confidence and guidance to take on responsibility on advancing their projects and achieving their goals.

Critical thinking, self-learning and communication skills are especially important to succeed in science. I strive to foster these abilities in my mentees through discussions and constructive feedback during on-on-one meetings, data presentations and journal clubs. Likewise, I do my best to promote a healthy, safe, and inclusive work environment in which all lab members have the same opportunity to achieve their personal and professional goals. In turn, what I expect from my mentees is an active participation and leadership on their projects, commitment on reaching the goals established, willingness to learn from and share expertise with their peers, and promotion of a respectful, friendly, and collaborative environment.

Mentorship is not a fixed method, but a complex and dynamic system influenced by differences in personal and professional needs and goals between individuals. For this reason, mutual feedback with my mentees about their training experience and performance, as well as my mentoring practice, is critical and encouraged. This allows to adjust mutual needs toward creating stronger mentor-mentee relationships.