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Gabe Pierce/Unsplash

Those of us from certain cultural backgrounds will remember the joy of finding Easter eggs. When you’re an innocent little kid, you go out to the yard and dig up the chocolatey treats carefully hidden by the Easter Bunny. As we hit our teenage years we’re no longer fooled by the efforts of our well-meaning parents, but we still love chocolate.

When we’re young we are often asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up”? As a child that’s an easy question to answer — you rattle off the role models around you. The jobs that you…


Living With Difficult Family During the Pandemic

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Boogich/Getty Images

I live in a house divided, both in terms of political partisanship and in beliefs about the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic — though it seems these two things are becoming more and more inextricably linked.

I am not quite like the rest of my immediate family; my brother jokes that I was switched at birth. For starters, I am a Ph.D. student in Psychology, the first and only one in my immediate family to go to college, and, according to my brother, a “brainwashed” liberal to boot! …


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Pexels, Wikipedia/The Xylom Illustration

The other day, I talked to my parents on the phone.

It has been nearly a month since we last spoke. I have been too busy with experiments, classes, teaching, and brainstorming ideas for my thesis proposal. My parents asked me if I had already eaten dinner and whether or not I had gone grocery shopping. I tell them that, yes I had already eaten and that yes, I had gone grocery shopping. They asked me if I had been sleeping enough and whether or not I had recovered from my cold. I tell them that yes, I had been…


2020 might be a rough ride for most of us, but there’s always the small things to savor and grow from. Here are some of our favorite stories of the…


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Courtesy of Joy Ismail

On my 23rd birthday, I walked across a stage in a beautiful red robe to receive my Master’s diploma.


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Unsplash/The Xylom Illustration

This story is inspired by J. Drew Lanham’s “9 Rules for the Black Birdwatcher” on Orion Magazine. Alex Troutman assisted in the creation of the story.

1. Birds flock together for safety and community; Black female birders MUST do the same and for similar reasons. Not only does it greatly enhance the birding experience, being able to share notes and stories, but increased visibility and numbers never hurt when out and about, whether in the woods or in a residential area.

2. Form precedes function, or form follows function? Don’t let others tell you what’s “proper” attire. Do you think…


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Linh Anh Cat

This is an honest piece on how my cat, Sesame, brings happiness to three aspects of my life. I’ve removed the filter on expressing my love for my cat, the filter that I only remove in front of trusted cat friends.

For the record, I grew up not knowing that pets could be considered family members. Now, I spent the recent holiday weekend celebrating the first anniversary of my cat’s adoption. Three days of more love than she wanted to receive and as many treats as she wanted to eat. …


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Tahira Anwar

It was a dark, cold, and rainy morning when I flew out of Finland, the country that had been my home for ten long years. After living in the far north of the world, I decided to move back to Italy. I moved to Finland in August 2009 to pursue a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Helsinki. After obtaining a master’s degree in biological sciences, I thought that getting a Ph.D., and having an experience abroad was the physiological way to follow in order to become a scientist. …


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The Lady of the Mountain, that resembles a woman laying on her back. Mani grew up staring at this mountain and it was a tremendous source of psychological strength and salvation. (Mani Garcia)

This story has been donated to the New-York Historical Society’s History Responds initiative.

Growing up my father’s favorite nickname for me was “ni — er”, next only to Kunta Kinte. As the darkest person in our Puerto Rican nuclear family (on both sides) the dark color of my skin was under constant discussion, constant ridicule. While my father’s behavior was and still is very troubling to me, I have always loved the color of my skin. I accepted that I was Black at a very young age because the world told me that it was important to accept that I…


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Pierre BEST/Unsplash

“DDay is gone.” Those words reverberated in my mind, as I hurriedly walked the path back to my dorm. I made this same walk every day on my way back from the engineering school, but today was different. Instead of thinking about the future — my upcoming exams, a party the next weekend, or my summer job — I was fixated on the past. I remembered DDay’s face, the stories he told us about cycling and dancing, his punishment of ten push-ups for misbehaving in class, and his method for performing integration by parts. …

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All scientists are humans. Humans tell stories. The Xylom is the place for scientists to tell their stories.

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