His tweet sparked a crucial conversation.
When Dr. Troy Littleton tweeted about his job running a research lab at MIT, he didn't anticipate it going viral. But his post—about supporting a graduate student with a new baby by putting a travel crib in his office—spoke to one of the issues facing parents (and particularly mothers) in their careers.
As Littleton later explained it to Good Morning America, he was surprised to find his tweet "create this large discussion about the challenges mothers face in the workplace. This was sort of the lab gift for Karen, 10 months later," he explained. "It's always a challenge [being a parent while in graduate school] so anything you can do in a lab to facilitate and help out, we try...We need to be solving these...challenges mothers face in the workplace...both in academia and on a broader level as well," he told them. "It's highlighted that this is a really important issue for our community."
My favorite new equipment purchase for the lab – a travel crib to go in my office so my graduate student can bring her 9-month old little girl to work when necessary and I get to play with her while her mom gets some work done. Win-win!! pic.twitter.com/1R7QKprOLr— Troy Littleton (@JTroyLittleton) May 7, 2021
When the tweet blew up, with hundreds of responses, more than 118,000 likes, and over 8,000 retweets, Dr. Littleton was quick to redirect praise to "the real hero here"—Karen Cunningham, his graduate student and the mother of baby Katie. Within a couple of days, he replied to his tweet:
Well that little tweet blew up?!? However, I wish people were able to spot the real hero here. It's the graduate student mom, not me. She's amazing to do all she has to with her daughter and still keep up her thesis project research. Happy Mother’s Day to all – they deserve it!— Troy Littleton (@JTroyLittleton) May 9, 2021
"This is what equity and support of women looks like," one commenter pointed out. "And done with excitement even!!"
How have you been supported in the workplace? We'd love to hear your comments!