Black Women Gather
Angela Keys and Rhea Perkins
Angela Keys, along with Rhea Perkins, has been working with a resourceful group of five Georgia Tech alumnae over the past year to create and launch Black Women Gather (BWG). BWG is a group of women with an affinity for Georgia Tech and the welfare for Black female students matriculating through Tech. The mission is to provide mentoring and support utilizing existing resources at Tech and in the local community, in various areas of specialty including career development, mental health and self-care, and sexual assault and domestic violence through workshops. Black Women Gather is an independent group that coordinates with staff members. They are not licensed counselors, attorneys, or social workers, rather they are volunteers - mothers, sisters and friends seeking to help. The group focuses on the needs of Black women; however, it is open to all races.
Black Women Gather Members
- Angela Keys
- Rhea Perkins
- Nicolette Gordon
- Errica Gray
- Jeanne Kerney
- Erica Louise Richards
- Kourtney Wright
Collaboration with Common Good Atlanta
Common Good Atlanta is a nonprofit which has been teaching humanities college courses in Georgia prisons for over a decade. The intent of this Diversity Fellow project is to establish a classroom at the Metro Reentry Facility in Atlanta in collaboration with Common Good Atlanta where Georgia Tech students can teach classes related to STEM to the incarcerated population. Such a program has a significant beneficial effect on the community as offenders who participated in education programs while incarcerated showed lower rates of recidivism and serves as a valuable broadening experience for Georgia Tech students as they learn how to teach and communicate their work and research to nontechnical audiences as well as create a positive impact on an underserved community. This project has resulted in 4 Georgia Tech graduate students leading 3 classes at the Metro Reentry Facility.
Conflict Resolution Skills Training for Graduate Students in Science
A six-hour conflict resolution training (three 2-hour sessions) took place May 15, June 12, and July 10, 2018, for graduate students in science who will or are working in labs. The skills taught included practicing active listening, I-statements (assertion) and open questions; seeing situations from other perspectives; developing options; separating interests from positions and consensus building. Students practiced the skills through role-playing some conflicts that could occur in a graduate student lab. A lunch & learn on conflict resolution skills was held for Women in Chemistry January 12, 2018. The conflict resolution sessions are now included in some Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) classes for first-year graduate students including Chemistry, Earth and Atmospheric Science, Math, Physics and Psychology. A 2-hour conflict resolution session for Postdoctoral Fellows will take place November 15, 2018. It is hoped that these skills will help minimize conflicts in labs and employment disputes at Georgia Tech.
Stories are a compelling way to share narratives and perspectives. In this project, individuals share their experiences working in the tech industry. Each conversation is about ten minutes long. They discuss their backgrounds, career pursuits, and topics related to diversity and culture. We are unique because of our identities and experiences - by amplifying these voices, we hope to help diversify representations.
A summit-style event on October 1st brought together students, faculty, and staff to discuss issues related to the inclusion of people with disabilities at Tech.
The first half of the event was a panel discussion. Panelists: Dr. Helena Mitchell—Office of Advanced Communications Policy and Wireless RERC, Rebecca Frost—Office of Disability Services, Ken Surdin—Excel program, Carolyn Phillips—AMAC Accessibility Solutions, Liz Persaud—Tools for Life. The discussion focused on resources the Tech community at large does not know about. Problem-solving occurred during this discussion, and ideas for future projects related to disability inclusion emerged.
An intermission offered time for participants to learn about adaptive equipment and research from exhibitors [CRC, Tools for Life, AMAC, Wireless RERC].
The second half involved a small group discussion. Participant groups tackled specific issues given to them and apply the new information they learned from panelists and exhibitors. Surveys showed high satisfaction.
Skyler Tordoya Henckell
Historically, the theater community has severely lacked representation for racial minorities. To keep Georgia Tech’s student-led theater group, DramaTech, from suffering the same fate, an Outreach Committee has been formed. This committee focuses on member recruitment, particularly from diverse organizations and populations on campus. A major goal for the committee is to increase POC membership, thereby promoting diverse voices.
Diversity and Inclusion Workshop for Makerspaces
Claudio Di Leo
Makerspaces are becoming a central component of the undergraduate education of universities worldwide. These spaces, although physical in nature, are usually led by a group of students and as such also develop a unique culture. Developing an inclusive, diverse, and welcoming culture is often difficult and the objective of this project is to facilitate this process. To do so we are developing a workshop specifically geared towards undergraduate-run makerspaces that expose students to best practices in developing a diverse and inclusive atmosphere. The workshop will engage the students in developing their own expectations for what a great makerspace culture is and identifying tangible objectives that can be employed to ensure this a diverse and inclusive culture is realized. The workshop will be trialed at the Aero Maker Space in the School of Aerospace engineering.
Ending the Gender Gap In STEM Fields
This project aimed to help introduce middle and high school girls to computer science, and help show them that they are capable of pursuing STEM fields as a full-time career. This project consisted of weekly meetings with middle and high school girls and allowed Georgia Tech volunteers to serve as mentors to younger students. This project also introduced middle and high-school girls to professionals currently working in STEM fields. Future deliverables from this project include connecting Georgia Tech volunteers to local schools.
Improving Accessibility to Student-led Events
Georgia Tech is home to over 500 student organizations, actively organizing events for the student body to enjoy. However, the student population is a diverse body, and no individual should feel isolated from student life at Georgia Tech because of certain limitations. My project aims to increase accessibility to student-led events for students with physical, financial, intellectual or other limitations. Working together with a number of organizations, this project has developed guidelines to ensure that students keep accessibility and inclusivity in mind while planning events.
International Alumni-Student Mentorship Program
This project initiated a collaboration between the Student Alumni Association (SAA) and Georgia Tech International Ambassadors (GTIA) to build a network of international alumni who are willing to mentor current international students. GTIA is helping with the formation of an international wing of SAA’s current mentorship program, which will bring academic/professional advising and advice on navigating the industry as international students under one roof, thereby reducing confusion and increasing inclusivity. The idea is to help with the professional development and advancement of international students by pairing them with mentors who have been in their shoes and faced similar challenges.
LGBTQIA+ Storytelling in Virtual Reality
Through creating workshops and activities to foster LGBTQIA+ Storytelling in Virtual Reality (VR), we hoped to explore how this medium could differ from other storytelling mediums that exist today. After conducting interviews with people who were a part of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies, our main goal was to discover whether or not there are patterns between experiences that we would be able to share in VR to gain empathy and share perspective to users.
Project One: Using Your Strengths
Project One: Using Your Strengths is aimed at creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all incoming Georgia Tech students. As part of this project, all 2018-19 first-year students were provided access to the CliftonStrengths assessment. In addition to taking the assessment, first-year students were introduced to Strengths-based learning strategies in GT 1000, which utilized Strengths to teach effective team dynamics. The assessment allows students to better understand their own skills and talents and encourages them to value differences, engage in productive peer collaboration, and celebrate the benefits of diversity in teams.
Promoting Diversity in Speakers
Minda Monteagudo and Jennifer Glass
Plenaries, keynotes, seminar speakers, and panelists are predominantly white and/or male. Often, implicit biases lead organizers to choose white and/or male speakers, reflecting the demographics of their networks. Resources are urgently needed to quickly and easily locate diverse speakers, as well as samples of their speaking prowess. As 2018 Diversity and Inclusion Fellows, we produced a web resource where organizers can quickly locate diverse STEM experts to speak at their event. This “Database of Databases” currently contains 50+ lists of minorities and white women speakers in biological sciences, physics and astronomy, chemistry, geosciences, neuroscience, mathematics, engineering, policy and media, computing, and technology. It will continue to grow as more lists become available. Our database is currently hosted on Jennifer Glass’ website, with the ultimate goal of transferring to a GT link for hosting. We have also created a YouTube Channel for organizers to view sample talks, and are requesting feedback to improve these resources.
Steps to Increasing Representation of Black and African American Students in ISyE Ph.D. Programs
Dr. Natashia Boland and Dr. Ira Wheaton
People of African descent are severely under-represented amongst Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISyE) graduate students, especially those in Ph.D. programs. Georgia Tech (GT) has the largest ISyE or similar department in the world, and graduates more PhDs in the field, per annum, than any other institution. However, less than 2% of these graduates have, to date, been Black or African American. At the same time, GT is situated close to several Atlanta-area Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) having excellent undergraduate programs in fields foundational for ISyE, such as Mathematics, Statistics, and Computing. However, departments in these fields typically do not have courses in ISyE.
This creates an opportunity. The goal of this project is to link and build collaborations between local HBCU Mathematics departments and ISyE at GT, with the ultimate aim of increasing the representation of Black and African American Students in ISyE Ph.D. programs.
The first step completed was the delivery of the first course in Operations Research (a core ISyE subfield) to Seniors in Mathematics at Morehouse College, co-taught by GT ISyE faculty. Next steps are: (1) a joint Morehouse Math/Spelman Math/GT ISyE graduate program information session for upper-level undergraduates, and (2) development of departmental structures to nurture and sustain the collaboration.
Supporting Diversity at Georgia Tech Speaker’s Bureaus, Conference Panels, etc.
Conferences, speaker’s series, symposia, keynote speakers, and other forms of public engagement are an opportunity to promote diverse models of success. For students, staff, faculty, and GA Tech affiliates to see scientists, academics, leaders, and experts can succeed regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity is critical to the future of STEM, innovation, and the competitive advantage of Georgia Tech. This project developed and disseminated to GA Techs Interdisciplinary Research Institutes a set of best practices designed as a starting point for increasing the diversity of speakers at Georgia Tech engagements.
Where the TECH are you From?
This display will be put up in the Clough Commons for the end of the semester. It will consist of a display of the world map along with an interactive element. Students will get to place thumb-pins in the world map and celebrate the diversity found on Georgia Tech's campus. It allows people to see that people from all over the world come to Georgia Tech and helps people appreciate the diversity found here on campus. Look for the display on Skiles walkway at the end of October and to be placed in the Clough Commons during the month of November and leave your pin to let everyone know where the TECH you are from!
This project was aimed at highlighting the wonderful steps Tech has taken to support faculty around work-life balance. This project aggregates the policies offered Tech-wide and places them in clear language on a website accessible outside of Tech. This plainly-worded site serves to support both current faculty and to recruit future faculty.