The EAS Special Session on Welfare and Mental Health in Astronomy Research

Anonymous Letters

Anonymous Letters

Welcome to our digital wall of anonymous letters. These are letters that have been submitted by astronomy researchers for the 2021 European Astronomical Society Annual Meeting as part of the special session on welfare and mental health in astronomy (SS8). They detail the lived experiences of those in astronomical research. The submissions have been screened by the session SOC to ensure they are not discriminatory and are anonymous. Below there are a number of tags that you can deselect if you wish to filter-out any letter that has been labelled with that tag.

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Recent submissions

Academia is not a Safe Space for (Childhood) Sexual Abuse 'Survivors'

As a survivor(*) of childhood abuse (mental, physical and sexual) I found solace in my school work, especially my physics lessons and a love of astrophysics developed. The dream of being an astrophysicist working in academia kept me going through my darkest of times. Fast forward some years and now I am doing a PhD, I'm making serious progress towards my dream, yet now I'm here I don't think I can stay in this environment, and that breaks my heart to say. Known sexual abusers/harassers are still on author lists with their victims, still walking the halls in tenured positions, still teaching/supervising. These predators are protected by the institutions supposed to be protecting their victims. This is a known fact, yet names are passed down through whisper networks, everything is hush hush - if you're not in the know you're at risk. For everyone this is terrifying, but for those who have experienced sexual abuse it is a thought that
Leaving or left academia; Bullying, gaslighting, stalking, abuse; Sexual Harassment, sexual violence; Mental illness; Self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide; Child abuse;

Scientific power : 0 Humanity

When I was young I had a lot of dreams about a scientific career but then when I started working with X, the dreams became a nightmare. I discovered how frustrated people can be. When I was a child I thought the job of astronomers was amazing, brilliant, full of happiness and good positive things. Unfortunately then I discovered that some astronomers could be extremely nasty people. X has only one goal in "its" life: conquer the world because X is the best and others are only rubbish. During this period, X treated me in the worst way someone had ever treated me in my life.
Lack of Support; Gatekeeping and exclusion; Burnout and stress; Leaving or left academia; Bullying, gaslighting, stalking, abuse; Mental illness;

Leaving academia while people keep telling you seem pretty successful

Despite a successful PhD course, a couple of fellowships that brought me to two different countries in 4 years, and a fairly good amount of recognition for my work, I am afraid I will face the decision of leaving Academia. I cannot handle the idea of relocating again to a new place, hence randomly sending applications for tenure track positions around the world is just not an option for me anymore. I kept applying for grants which would allow me to negotiate a position exactly where I want, but the timelines for getting the results are always in counter-phase with the life decisions that my partner and I need to make. We have already handled a long-distance relationship and we don’t want this anymore. We really need to stop somewhere and start
Lack of Support; Burnout and stress; Leaving or left academia; Mental illness; Career insecurity;

Mobbing, Bullying, And Abuse Of Power

I have now had a career of several years in astronomy, I am recognized worldwide, I have a permanent position, I have a few fantastic postdocs working in my group, and I cannot say I am not successful in my profession. Still, I experience high levels of anxiety related to not doing enough, impostor syndrome, and the like. I do regularly see a therapist who is helping me to navigate through life, to change perspective and point of view. Part of my unhappiness is related to clear weaknesses in my own personality structure (insecurity, tendency to mild depression), but part of it is due to the fact that the astrophysical community, like many human consortia, is an unregulated jungle, where pressure to succeed and unhealthy/unloyal competition is imposed on all members. And where monsters often have a free hand in damaging the lives and careers of others.
Gatekeeping and exclusion; Burnout and stress; Bullying, gaslighting, stalking, abuse; Classism; Sexual Harassment, sexual violence;

Wind of Change

I thought I had a great relationship with my PhD advisor. He gave me some fantastic data sets and let me explore them without much guidance but I liked that independent style. He must have written me a great letter of recommendation since I got a good postdoctoral fellowship right after graduating. I was in good shape.

Two years later I started applying for the next job after my first postdoc. My PhD advisor promised to send recommendation letters for me, but most of my applications ended up being rejected as "incomplete" because he did not do it in time. Out of some incredible stroke of luck I did end up getting a job anyways. My PI for that position later told me to "never ask for a letter from this person again", without disclosing any more details of course. Apparently, they did receive his reference letter in the end (way too late to be used for the evaluation, thank God), and, well, I don't know what it said, but it can't have been any good.
Lack of Support; Gatekeeping and exclusion; Leaving or left academia; Sexism and misogyny; Scientific misconduct;

Family Life And Academia?

Like many, I waited to have a permanent position to start a family. I have a toddler and work full time at a University. Becoming a mum and keeping my head above the surface in academia in times of covid has been EXTRAORDINARILY hard, even if I have full support of my partner, who shares parenting with me 50-50. With the lockdowns - which have been very tough where I live - we have no daycare or help of any sort. At my workplace I am expected to perform as if conditions were normal. I have to teach, I have to be there for my students and postdocs, I have to continue to do research, contribute to collaborations, be in committees, etc etc. I have had several nervous breakdowns and a long running
Lack of support; Pregnancy or Childbirth; Family life;

Not All Astronomers Come From The Rich World

Being from an underdeveloped and very unstable country, and working with people mostly in Europe, I have always felt most academics in the western world take the privileges that they have for granted and make little effort to be inclusive. To give one example: Cruises and safari conferences with very high registration fees are not only environmentally damaging but also extremely exclusive. I had to work during my entire PhD to be able to afford it, and I need a visa to go to almost any country in the world. These kinds of conferences have never been an option. One good thing about the pandemic is that it’s made academia more accessible for some people. I hope we learn with these tough times that the democratization of sciences is not only good for the poorest but also good for science.
Gatekeeping and exclusion; Classism; Xenophobia;

Feeling excluded with less possibilities

I am finishing my PhD, and I found myself with a supervisor that always prefers his other male PhD students. He gives them more visibility in the media, invitations to big projects and collaborations, more co-authors papers, and more invitations to share time together and make small talk. In the beginning, I was not mad about that. I don't like football or Marvel movies, so I didn't much like to talk with that group. But now, it affects my scientific career because I am looking for postdocs in our field, and we have similar experience but they have important contacts and a good CV. Is it my fault because I didn't want to chat about the European Cup? Or because I am the only non-male in the research group?
Lack of support; Gatekeeping and exclusion; Sexism and misogyny;

Is It Me?

I will mention two stories about inappropriate sexual relations with astronomers and how they influence me. 1) When I was a high school student I had the opportunity to do work experience at an observatory. It was wonderful and really solidified the idea that astronomy was something I wanted to pursue as a career! One of the astronomers (a professor) who was there observing took an interest in me and we had an affair. At the time I thought “Wow, why would someone so accomplished give attention to me!?”. Looking back I see how f***ed up that was - he knew how young I was (17). He is a big name, and I bet he has had other predatory relationships. I always check the participants list before signing up to a conference -- I dread the day I might run into him again. 2) During my PhD, I started working with another student on a project. He did all of the analyses. I did however, contribute to the data collection and wrote up my parts for the
Sexual Harassment, sexual violence;

Toxic Academia

Sure the pandemic was horrible, the home-office was inefficient but I did not miss interacting with those horrible people who one way or another ruined my mental health over the past few years. Those more senior academics who steal ideas, ignore my contributions, and their general discouraging behavior. Now seeing some of them, even online, brings all the anxiety, anger, headaches, and panic attacks right back. Not looking forward to the post-covid academia... I was hoping to continue my path in academia despite all, because of all the love I have for science, but just now seeing one of them give a talk in the EAS made me certain to look for a path outside this toxic environment. Can’t stop my tears while typing this…
Lack of support; Gatekeeping and exclusion; Leaving or left academia; Mental Health;

The Myth Of The Lone Male Genius

I grew up idolising lone genius scientists, like Einstein and Newton. I always imagined that if I were to make a big contribution to science this is how I would have to be. So when I started my career in academia I often felt like an imposter because I didn't have all the answers right away. How would I ever be a great scientist if my thesis wasn't a significant work? How would I achieve big things if I wasn't known to be an independent, exceptional thinker?

Gatekeeping and exclusion;

No Time To Breathe

I'm tired. For the past 18 months (pretty much since the pandemic started), I've felt like a failure in research, to myself, my collaborators and the wider community of astronomy. I am currently "early career" in that I've only been doing astronomy research for less than 5 years, but I feel like because I'm labelled a postdoc I'm running out of time to claim that I'm an truly an "early career researcher" and be allowed any time to figure out what to do with my career. I've googled the symptoms of burnout a lot over the past few months, and I tick a lot of that checklist, but I feel I have no option other than just to continue working and push through it, with no end in sight other than leaving the field completely.

Burnout and stress; Leaving or left academia; Mental illness;

Mocked For My Nationality

When I started my PhD I moved abroad. The beginning of my PhD was a very difficult time for me because my partner had just been diagnosed with a serious condition that required monthly treatment. My partner at the time was also a researcher in astronomy in another foreign country that could not provide the required care and therefore we had to face a period of great anguish living apart and finding ourselves not in our home country for their care. In my new working environment it was very difficult to find human support, and making friends was impossible, except for a colleague of mine with whom I had a very strong bond and who supported me with great affection throughout the years of my PhD. As soon as I arrived I found a very cold, inhospitable and quite unpleasant environment, in particular with people who were nationals
Bullying, gaslighting, stalking, abuse; Xenophobia; Sexism and misogyny; Toxic masculinity and misandry;

Really Tired And Exhausted

Shortly before finishing my last paper and discussing my doctoral thesis, I became a mother. Unfortunately, this coincided with the spread of the pandemic, and created a truly painful and stressful situation that forced me into grueling working conditions. When I pointed out the situation, the only help my university gave me was an interview with a psychologist. But I think that concrete help would have been more helpful.

Lack of Support; Burnout and stress; Pregnancy or Childbirth; Career insecurity;

Losing 10 Years Of Career (And Life) Because I Could Pass An Exam Only When The Professor Retired

When I was a master student, I was a victim of what is now called harassment and bullying by a professor in my university course. The attitudes held by this professor included public teasing in front of other students during lessons and at the time of the correction of the exams (the course included a preparatory written exam, to gain access the oral), and in private, during the moments in which the professor made himself available to answer students' questions. When I went to ask for information and clarifications on some topics, I never got answer back to my questions but only discussions unrelated to the topics of the course: for example, digressions on the history of a city name, or on how the flag of a particular country was born, on cat breeds, and even politics. There were hours of delays on appointment times and although he insisted on
Lack of Support; Burnout and stress; Bullying, gaslighting, stalking, abuse; Sexism and misogyny; Gatekeeping & exclusion; Leaving/left academia;

Psychologically Abusive Advisor

I had an incredibly toxic advisor during my first two years of graduate school, and the effects of this experience impacted me more than four years later. I was belittled, bullied, gaslit, and constantly accused of things I did not do. My good-standing at the university and my career were at great risk. I had little-to-no scientific guidance, and would frequently receive emails questioning my place in the program. The department chair and other higher members of the department were supportive in the sense that they privately stressed this was horrific behaviour, and helped me to find a new advising situation. Right before I switched advisors, my ex-advisor tried to formally bring sanctions upon me, and thankfully the chair and the equivalent of our graduate board cleared my name and denied the sanctions.
Lack of Support; Gatekeeping and exclusion; Bullying, gaslighting, stalking, abuse; Mental illness;

Learning How Low My Self-confidence Could Go

My PhD supervisor was sexist, mean and racist. He is a bully and loved to put me down to make himself feel intelligent and powerful. He told me I am not in the top 10% of students so I should go into industry and save myself the struggle. He suggested high-class prostitution as a valid option. Just before my PhD thesis defense he told me to tell them I am dyslexic and that is the reason my writing is very poor (even though three of my papers had been published in a peer-reviewed journal), I told him I did not have this,
Lack of support; Burnout and stress; Leaving or left academia; Bullying, gaslighting, stalking, abuse; Sexual Harassment, sexual violence; Racism and racial slurs; Hateful language directed at religious groups; Sexism and misogyny; Toxic masculinity and misandry; Mental illness; Self harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide; Death or dying

When Understanding Runs Out

I did observational astronomy research as an undergraduate, fully intending to pursue graduate school and a career in the field. However, after the first semester of working with my PI, several traumatic things happened in my personal life, including the simultaneous loss of my health insurance, which meant that my access to therapy was cut in half so that I could still afford it. My PI was at first extremely understanding, and did not push me when it came to my research. However, the following summer she decided that because I still wasn't productive enough, she would take a micromanaging approach to ensure my productivity, requiring that I send an email with what I was doing every single day.
Lack of support; Burnout and stress; Mental illness

A Rough Start

Though by many measures I am currently enjoying a successful career in astrophysics, my undergraduate experience was particularly unpleasant due to a combination of faculty indifference, a programmatic lack of perspective on workloads, and likely low-grade racism. In retrospect, it is a small miracle (read: luck and perseverance) that I have continued in this field.

Lack of Support; Gatekeeping and exclusion; Burnout and stress; Leaving or left academia; Racism and racial slurs; Mental illness; Alcohol, other intoxicants; Death or dying; Classism

Mental Health When All Privileges Are Ticked

I am a straight white man from a middle class background who came from a caring family. I have suffered with depressive episodes for the past 5 years and been on strong doses of antidepressants for 3 of those. Whilst I fully support the current focus on eradicating all forms of discrimination and injustice faced by individuals belonging to historically oppressed groups, the fact that I fall into the group I do has made my experience in academia worse, - as on the grounds of expected lived experience and privilege, I have no reason to feel how I feel.

Mental illness; Toxic Masculinity; Gatekeeping and exclusion; Leaving or left academia;

When I Was 6 Years Old ...

When I was 6 years old, the world told me that I was like a boy because I liked science. When I was 10, a boy in my class told me that I wouldn't amount to anything because I was a girl. When I was 18, I felt lucky that the male PhD student, who sexually harassed the women in my undergraduate year weekly, only harassed me once because normally he didn't work with my class. When I was 25, a male professor sexually harassed me and more than 15 other students, nothing was done about it. When I was 27, my male friends in academia said I would have an easier time getting a job because I am a woman. When I was 29, I overheard a trusted colleague and collaborator say he only lost the poster competition
Lack of Support; Gatekeeping and exclusion; Sexual Harassment, sexual violence; Sexism and misogyny;

A Plea To Line Managers

We are advised that we must maintain a healthy work-life balance. We are told that we need to be available during normal working hours. We are reminded that academia gives us flexibility that is not possible in other careers. And these same people, our line managers, send emails to the research group late in the evenings and over the weekend... You may have a sign-off that includes "I work strange hours, and don't expect an immediate reply" but could the email really not have waited until 9am of the next working day? (E.g., Gmail allows you to set a time for the email to be sent.) If you are a line manager that forgets to notify others of things until the day before, then maybe *you* are the one who needs to work on their organisational skills, and not put pressure on postdocs and students who already have their hands full.
Burnout and stress;

Mental Health Issues And Academia Seem Incompatible

"My experience with academia has been shaped by mental health issues caused by the behaviour of those profiting from the current culture and intrinsic mental health issues exacerbated by a culture that seems unable to tolerate them.

Gatekeeping and exclusion; Burnout and stress; Bullying, gaslighting, stalking, abuse; Sexual Harassment, sexual violence; Homophobia, biphobia, transphobia; Sexism and misogyny; Mental illness; Self harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide; Death or dying; Career Insecurity;


You really have difficulties at working well here, developing a career or even getting to know the necessary information and getting support, including technical, if you don't belong to some major group, be it a research group or a union group (for employees). There isn't much room for women either.
Lack of Support; Gatekeeping and exclusion; Sexism and misogyny;

Keeping up Appearances and the Stigma of Silence

Dear Reader,

2020 was both a bad and a good year for me personally. It was a year in which I enjoyed some of my best mental health in a long time. A year in which I was finally approaching a full recovery from an eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, after more than 12 years of cycling between suffering, partial recovery and relapse. Although the isolation involved with lockdown certainly isn’t helpful to everyone, I feel much more secure eating alone. In fact, I have always found social situations around food anxiety provoking - one aspect of conferences and meetings that I do not miss.
Mental illness; Food, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, body hatred, and fat phobia

My Unhappy Journey in Academia

For several years, I have been trying to carve myself a space in astronomy. And in most cases it sucks. I am a woman with a hearing disability from a working-class background. And in many cases I was made to feel that my disability is a nuisance. If I can't hear stuff? Yeah, that is my fault. God forbid we use microphones. Or try to minimize noise.

In many cases I came across people who basically gloated that they come from an academic background. One egregious example: "I am the son of a professor.
Lack of Support; Gatekeeping and exclusion; Burnout and stress; Bullying, gaslighting, stalking, abuse; Sexism and misogyny; Mental illness; Classism; Ableism; Leaving or left academia;


Since I was a kid I loved astronomy, the night skies, and space exploration, having been born just a few years after Sputnik. But as soon as I started on the academic path (getting my first, second, and third degree), I realized that the same kind of obnoxious people you sometimes meet at school (kids who lie, who cheat, who are bossy) are actually everywhere...even in astronomy. I thought people grow up, but they actually don't. I knew that those kinds of people were a little bit everywhere, and more so in politics, but I thought Science was for the scientific mind, not the jackass. How wrong was I? How many incompetent "professors" are everywhere? And the more bully-ish and louder they are, the higher they get in their career, and the more they will influence all decisions being made in the department.
Gatekeeping and exclusion; Scientific misconduct;

Academia Systematically Drives People Into Burn-out

While there are many very positive aspects of working in academia (not least the vast majority of colleagues being very nice, friendly and supportive) there are many "features" of how academic careers work that are virtually guaranteed to force many scientists into psychological problems, even up to the point of burnout. To name just a few:

(1) The imposter syndrome often leads to the false impression that only oneself is struggling, and thus doing something wrong.

Burnout and stress; Career insecurity;

Wish The Community Would Care About The Truth, Not The Names!

It has become an acceptable trend that people who work in larger, more famous groups can just claim anything they want without being really true, and no one fact-checks them or questions them when they are wrong. In particular, when it comes to scientific publishing/presentation, it has happened multiple times that people claim this is the first time that you are seeing this and we are the first one doing that etc., and I am sitting in the audience with my mouth open that they ignore my work in my face! This is not a one-time event, and absolutely not only about me.

Gatekeeping and exclusion; Leaving or left academia; Classism;

Unfair And Wrong In Every Sense

I have been witnessing a story that might not be that uncommon but usually doesn’t come out. One of the PhD students in our institute who was working on a topic for years (from their master’s thesis up into their last year of the PhD), suddenly appeared interested in a totally different topic (still astronomy, but something totally different in any aspect you can think of). It seems alright so far; people can have different interests over time. But then, this student appeared to be particularly close to one of the famous scientists at our institute who also happens to be a close friend/collaborator of the director of the institute. Both of these two famous, important people in the field, work on this new topic that this student is suddenly very interested in. Within a month or so, two papers were published on the new topic; one the student is the first author and the other two scientists are co-authors, and in another one the student is the second author.

Gatekeeping and exclusion; Leaving or left academia; Scientific misconduct;

Was It Worth It?

"My birthplace was beautiful. I miss my family, the sea, and the lifestyle. But not a lot of opportunities for physics and especially astronomy existed there. No funding, no room for new ideas. Back then I still wanted to learn, teach, change and contribute to this world. Have an impact. And thus I left this place hoping I could find lands that are more fruitful. It has been 10 years now that I have been far away from there and I look back and I ask: Was it worth it?

I arrived at the first stop of my journey in the early 2010’s. It was so far. A top 50 university! It looked nice, organized and different. I was called a strange name in the streets sometimes because I was different from the locals, but it didn’t bother me that much and the university did not allow this behavior within its limits. I studied hard, I wrote my papers, I presented my work at conferences and was hoping that I can be part of this society and contribute to it.

Lack of Support; Gatekeeping and exclusion; Burnout and stress; Racism and racial slurs; Mental illness; Self harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide;


I am a junior postdoc researcher and last year one of my published works which had cool, new results got special attention and was published as a press release in one of the scientific online magazines. I have been working on this for my entire PhD and getting these nice results now in my first postdoc was of course very pleasing to me. So, excited to find out that my work is being published as a press release, I came and announced it in our group meeting (consisting of 5 people). My boss’s comment was: "Haha, pretty pictures do the job". So from his perspective, it's not that I have great results that are being praised but the beautiful picture is what attracts attention! I have heard him saying the same thing another time on someone else’s work too … It's so discouraging … Because his works haven’t gotten that attention, he's belittling those who do …
Lack of support; Gatekeeping and exclusion; Bullying, gaslighting, stalking, abuse;

Power Abuse In Science

I have been dealing with a conflict at my work recently. I am a postdoc fellowship holder; meaning that I pursue my own research topic. Obviously, I joined a group at an institute who offered this fellowship and started working there, but carried out my own research. I presented some of my new results during our group meeting and discussed it a bit with the group members. I have literally done everything related to this project myself; from defining it, to analysis and final results. Now after that meeting, the group leader keeps talking about that as "our" work and wanted to use my results (according to him: "our" results) in a proposal to apply for his own personal funding. I disagreed and argued that this has been 100% my work and I don’t want to give it to him, but he argued that as group members we have to share everything, and if I am not willing to do that it is because I am not a team worker!
Scientific misconduct; Lack of support;

Scientific Racism

I am a final year international PhD student in a good institute in Europe. Our city has quite a few astronomy institutes and they are all relatively international. I just defended my PhD but have a few more months remaining in my contract. Although of no importance internationally, here they grade the PhD defences/thesis and throughout the country, these grades matter for future hiring etc. Even though they are proud of having many international students, local students are treated differently from the rest. The locals get unfair support that puts us all out of the game in the future. Apart from a lot more attention and praise the locals get for their works, they grade the final thesis/exam in an absolutely unfair manner by giving the locals way better grades than the international ones. This is not a matter of one or two cases; more than 90% of the top grades go to the local students (the population ratio is 40-60 for internationals), and this does not justify their values. If you look at the postdoc
Gatekeeping and exclusion; Racism and racial slurs;

Moral Harassment

It is difficult for me to write this letter because it takes me back to a very painful time. Six years ago, I lived through a very painful experience of moral depression and exclusion. The management of my university wanted to propose me for a very high national distinction and informed the director of my laboratory, asking him to compile an application file for me. I didn't know this at the time because the people involved in this award don't have to do the application themselves and may not be aware that they have been nominated for this award. I found out a few months later that my director had made no application for me and had not even bothered to respond to the university. When I found this out, I was devastated.

Lack of Support; Gatekeeping and exclusion; Sexism and misogyny; Mental illness;


I have ADHD. It's impacted me all my life, but I've only had a name for it recently. I was diagnosed 5 years ago, and suddenly everything made so much more sense. I didn’t know that’s what I was going to find when I first started seeing a therapist, just that I was struggling. Working with a therapist has helped, before and after I was diagnosed. Just knowing that I have ADHD has been helpful too, because I have a better understanding of how my brain works. I am learning how to work with it, not against it. I also know now to look for advice specific to ADHD brains and not neurotypical brains. But it hasn't made all my problems disappear and I still struggle.

Lack of Support; Burnout and stress; Sexual Harassment, sexual violence; Mental illness;

Punished For Being Honest

As I studied and got my PhD in my home country, I felt that I needed, both personally and professionally, to find a first postdoctoral position abroad, preferably in a distant and culturally different country. Then I came across a call for postdoctoral fellowships in a large academic institution in one such country. The candidates were required to be endorsed by a tenured researcher in that institution, but neither my PhD supervisor nor I knew any collaborator there. Therefore I simply looked for someone that matched my research interests among the researcher profiles in the institution website. This is how I found Dr. [XXXX], who immediately agreed to endorse my fellowship application, and we agreed on a common research plan to work together. The application was successful and I could start my new position shortly after my PhD defense.

Lack of Support; Gatekeeping and exclusion; Burnout and stress; Mental illness; Self harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide; Scientific misconduct;

PhD Advisor

During my last year of the PhD, I went through a very rough time, when I felt left alone and quietly disappointed. It was about a year and a half before my PhD came to an end, that I was trying to apply for postdoc positions. At that point, I was only applying for independent fellowships since I knew I had more time left, so in principle, I would have a chance to apply in the next round too. My supervisor was very busy at the time and even though I sent him the draft of the proposal, he didn’t give me any feedback. I only applied for a couple of fellowships but didn’t get any of them. After I finished my PhD in the winter, I got a few months of "bridge funding" to work on my project while applying for future positions. I had done a good PhD and had ongoing exciting projects that I would’ve loved to continue working on. Meanwhile, my supervisor asked me to send him some of my plots from my work so that he could apply to get funding to hire a postdoc. I obviously did so as he was my supervisor who had been leading me throughout the PhD. Shortly afterwards, I was applying for fellowships with similar proposals to the ones from my last year but with better results and publications that would boost my chances.

Lack of Support; Gatekeeping and exclusion; Career Insecurity;