About the Program
- Cultivate a network of ambassadors who will advance a culture of inclusive excellence.
- Create an environment where people feel safe, comfortable, and empowered to discuss diversity and inclusion.
Benefits and Outcomes
- Personal and professional growth, with demonstrated commitment and skills, about diversity and inclusion knowledge and practice;
- Recognition as a Fellow;
- Outcomes will be commensurate with Fellows’ engagement and may include increased workplace diversity and inclusion; new collaborations, initiatives, or partnerships; and individual/joint courses or research proposals.
Fellow projects may include, but are not limited to:
- Developing recommendations and content for new Institutional training programs;
- Creating and executing a pilot educational program and submitting a new SPAG proposal to expand that pilot;
- Writing a white paper as the basis for an agency proposal, or writing the proposal itself;
- Collating best practices for increasing diversity or enhancing inclusion of a given campus group;
- Creating guidelines for diversity and inclusion training for new students, staff, and faculty (e.g., participating in New Faculty and Staff Orientation);
- Creating a mentoring program for incoming students, faculty, or staff, informing them about issues related to diversity and inclusion, encouraging them to get involved in diversity and inclusion-related activities; and
- Advising on diversity and inclusion initiatives in the classroom and staff meetings. For example, teaching faculty about preferred pronouns, visiting research labs, and leading a peer-to-peer dialogue with the students in the lab about diversity and inclusion-related issues.
Fellows can request funding to implement their projects (e.g. speaker honorarium, speaker travel, facility charges, supplies and materials, event support, etc.) to be spent according to the rules that dictate allowable uses of state funding.
Initial ideas from the fellows include symposia, workshops, improv performances, surveys, mentorship programs, and journaling exercises focusing on the various dimensions and intersectionalities of diversity, including race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, and disability.
Meet Our Fellows
- Kinnera Banda
- Dawn Baunach
- Brooke Bosley
- Susan Burns
- Amy Corn
- Jill Fennell
- Danielle Gilman
- Joshua Gray
- Taylor Gray
- Courtney Hoffman
- Judy Hoffman
- Justina Jackson
- Emily Laurence
- Jennifer Leavey
- Mark Leibert
- Kendra Lewis-Strickland
- Savannah Lockman
- James Logan
- Benjamin Manning
- Maysam Nezafati
- Nadia Qutob
- Sushree Jagriti Sahoo
- Carrie Shepler
- Meg Sonstroem
- Harini Sridharan
- Faiz Syed
- Aselia Urmanbetova
- Bruce Walker
- Kerry Wallaert
- Ami Waller-Ivanecky
- Katja Weber
- Amy Wood-Yang
- Sarah Wu
- Shelley Wunder-Smith
- Nazia Zakir
- Sinet Adous
- Anabel Alfonso
- Jalen Borne
- Joshua Burr
- Dian Chung
- Juan-Pablo Correa-Baena
- Kenneth Cunefare
- Giovani Galicia
- Corey Goergen
- Emily Grubert
- Laura Haynes
- Tiffany Johnson
- Kyriaki Kalaitzidou
- Shiraz Karaa
- Dani Lechner
- Michael LiBretto
- Matthew Lim
- Kimberly Molina-Veronico
- Susana Morris
- Kim Paige
- Robert "Trey" Quinn
- Devesh Ranjan
- Vicki Rogers
- Chris Rozell
- Nancy Sandlin
- Sania Shaikh
- Hannah Sherrill
- Brandi Simula
- Julie Sonnerberg-Klein
- Brandy Stanfield-Nagel
- Lorin Achey
- Isabel Altamirano
- Keshav Bimbraw
- Simone Douglas
- Conor Flannelly
- Terrance Gresham
- Anna Kirkpatrick
- Grace Leslie
- Stephanie Merrick
- Cassie Mitchell
- Kiera Patterson
- Diana Roldan
- Renee Shelby
- David Smith
- Collin Spencer
- Nadia Szeinbaum
- Sanjana Teje
- Christina Wan
- Shana White
- Benjamin Williams
- Pedro Marquez-Zacarias
- Troy Batugal
- Natashia Boland
- Rachel Chen
- Sheila Cranman
- Rishabh Datta
- Claudio V. Di Leo
- Heather Dicks
- Jennifer Glass
- Skyler Henckell
- Lacy Hodges
- Avanti Joshi
- Angela Keys
- Preksha Kukreja
- Minda Monteagudo
- Rhea Perkins
- Raneem Rizvi
- Rockie Marie Rodríguez
- Sahana Srivatsan
- Maloreigh Todd
- Emily Weigel
- Conan Zhao
- Jennifer Beveridge
- Brienné Coates
- Santanu S. Dey
- Lara Ferreira
- Michelle Gaines
- Stephanie Gillespie
- Tia Jackson-Truitt
- Ronald Johnson
- Timothy Lieuwen
- Susannah McFaul
- Jerrold Mobley
- Lauren Neefe
- Dionne Nickerson
- Irina Nikivincze
- Yelena M. Rivera-Vale
- Sebastian Ruf
- Calvin Runnels
- Hussein Sayani
- Jacquelyn Strickland
- William Todd
2021 Project Spotlights
Student Voices in General Education Assessment
Today, students still ask, "why do we need to take General Education (Core Curriculum) courses?" The value of General Education learning is likely unclear to our students. This project aims to explore students' learning needs and how they see General Education connects to their degree programs and career goals. Our student participants from diverse groups engaged in General Education conversations through (1) Microsoft Teams for online interactive conversations with their peers and (2) focus groups to provide more feedback and suggestion. The results indicate that students seek more clear outcome wordings, multiple ways to show their learning performance, more opportunities for students to engage in the assessment process, and they also like to provide some suggestions for General Education curriculum design. In addition, students were able to draw connections among General Education learning, their majors, and career goals.
Empowering Students from the Global South
Katja Weber, Ph.D.
Georgia Tech prides itself on a diverse student population spanning the globe. While this is true, not everyone feels equally welcome. Due to differences in upbringing, culture, religion, (sometimes) language, etc., students from the non-western world—particularly the “Global South”—often struggle when they arrive at Georgia Tech.
In a two-part workshop with students from the Global South—trust-building/leadership activities (at the CRC’s climbing wall) and candid group conversation—we discussed ways to make new arrivals feel safe, welcome, and empowered at GT. Having identified some main challenges (prejudice, language barrier, cultural insensibility, loneliness, financial hardship…) we recommend steps (International Office follow-up; wellness checks, resource lists, greater emphasis on cultural exchange; inclusive sports events, tutorials…) the Institute might take to address these challenges. After all, a culture of inclusive excellence would be a win-win for the entire campus community.
The Allies: Addressing BIPOC Women Representation in STEM
Project Partners: Harini Sridharan, Amy Wood-Yang
Our goal is to raise awareness for the issues faced by BIPOC women in STEM at Georgia Tech. We organized events to facilitate discussion among these women and between allies. Using available data on demographics of the Georgia Tech student population (lite.gatech.edu) and national statistics of student enrollment (NSF), we were able to make others aware of the discrepancy in representation of female versus male students in STEM fields, and between bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. We conducted a campus-wide anonymous survey to gauge students’ views on how role models in STEM have influenced their decision to pursue similar degrees, how to be a better ally and to guess the distribution of BIPOC female versus male students in selected STEM departments. Finally, we will hold an event to discuss selected scenes from the Netflix show, The Chair, to facilitate discussion on media representation of BIPOC women in academia.
Bruce N. Walker, Norah Sinclair
Co-Lead: Norah Sinclair, GT Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation (CIDI)
Collaborating units: Psychology, Computing, CIDI, OMS-CS, Office of Disability Services (OMS)
AccessCORPS is a team of students (plus staff, and faculty) who systematically review and assess the accessibility of GT course materials and activities for learners with disabilities, and work with faculty and schools to implement more accessible versions or approaches. From Fall 2022, AccessCORPS is offered as a Vertically Integrated Project (VIP), which allows students to remain involved and engaged throughout their time at Georgia Tech. See accesscorps.gatech.edu.
Intersectionality Learning Community
Justina Rodriguez Jackson
Using readings from Dill and Zambrana’s Emerging Intersections and selected works from scholar and poet Audre Lorde, eight women shared and discussed their intersectional lives both in and out of academia. Two meetings–one hybrid, and one in-person–led to a fruitful conversation among racially diverse colleagues that explored inner criticism, advocacy, and justice. Together we used empathy and compassion to encourage one another and move beyond these doubts toward a confident resolve that would support our boldness to “speak action.” We also discussed constructive dialogue for addressing complex issues related to race, gender, and social status. With attention to being “brave”, we recognize the cost of silence, the silencing of others, and the need for space to be brave. These initial activities also included the purchase of books that will be used for upcoming book studies. The work continues…
Inclusion and Mentoring of Ph.D. Women in CoC
Less than 25 percent of Ph.D. students in the College of Computing identify as women. This project promotes the inclusion of Women Ph.D. in CoC to aid in their success, improve their satisfaction with the program, and have a positive long-term impact on increasing diversity within our community.
The project had four key goals: 1) Aiding in community development, 2) Encouraging student leadership, 3) Providing access to mentoring, and 4) Supporting the creating a peer support network. The four goals were identified after a series of focus groups with current students to identify the most pressing student needs.
Equity and Inclusivity in the School of Physics
These projects aimed to improve the status of Diversity Equity and Inclusion awareness in the School of Physics. Over the past year, the SoP DEI Committee started hosting a disability awareness workshop for members of the department to raise awareness about common types of disabilities that may affect students in the classroom and how best to accommodate them. As a part of new student safety initiatives a Society of Women in Physics safe space room was established and a full camera system is scheduled to be installed in the Howey Physics building this summer. As a means of empowering student voices in the department student listening sessions have been established to allow students a safe space to voice concerns with their department which will be heard by the SoP chair and the DEI committee. We will continue to pursue these initiatives in the coming year with the new department chair.
Enhanced Wayfinding and Assistance for People with Visual Disabilities
James S. Logan, Ph.D.
60% of blind and low-vision students who enter college don't graduate.
Enhance Wayfinding, Social Distancing, and Assistance for People with Visual Disabilities using Aira was deployed. Aira provides on-demand, remote visual interpretation services for the blind and low vision at Georgia Tech.
This solution over time will reduce the campus dropout rate. Aira will deliver a better on-campus experience and increased students’ efficiency. Also, it will reduce social and accessibility barriers on campus.
Black Queer Graduate Group
Project Partners: GT Grad Pride, Black Media Studies Program
My pitch was to develop a partnership with the LGBTQIA resource center and work with the Black Queer Lives Matter program to create a Black Queer Graduate group on campus. The group will host discussions with Black Queer faculty and professionals, mentors Black Queer undergraduates, host virtual/in-person events, and a community service project with a local Black queer organization. As a Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, I have worked with the Georgia Tech Grad Pride to create a Black Queer subcommittee with the purpose of doing more activities and discussions centered around Black Queer experiences. We partnered with LGBTQ+ center, and the Black Media Studies Program within the school of LMC to kickoff our first event, a discussion with Dr. Briona S. Jones on the anthology, Mouths of Rain.
Commitment to Inclusion for Student and Alumni Programming
The Georgia Tech Alumni Association strives to connect students and alumni through three student organizations alongside their various programs and events. The Student and Young Alumni Team did not have appropriate processes or resources in place to address discriminatory situations, should they arise. Not only do we want to be prepared for an incident, but we also want our participants to feel valued, supported, and included at events where our diverse student and alumni networks can engage. In alignment with the Alumni Association's values of integrity and community and to advance this initiative, we created a Commitment to Inclusion policy and partnered with the Office of the General Council to include our reporting within EthicsPoint. We continue to work to add educational resources for our alumni before coming to campus.
Faculty Mentoring for Inclusive Teaching
Jennifer Leavey and Carrie Shepler
Teaching excellence cannot be achieved if the instruction is not inclusive. The focus of our project is creating an inclusive teaching mentoring program that includes a formative assessment to provide feedback to faculty on their inclusive teaching practice. In the long-term, we hope to develop processes for the summative evaluation of inclusive teaching that can be incorporated as part of a holistic promotion and tenure process.
We have compiled and are in the process of gathering feedback on materials that faculty can utilize to create more inclusive course structures and syllabi as well as materials for peer evaluation and feedback. We continue to seek faculty partners to provide feedback and participate in observations.
Empowering Minority Students in the Art of Presentation
Project Partners: Georgia Tech Project ENGAGES
Project ENGAGES (Engaging New Generations at Georgia Tech through Engineering & Science) is a high school science education program tailored towards minority students. I worked this years' cohort and individually mentored 11 students in their preparation for science competitions. 9 of the 11 scholars placed and will move on to compete at the state level.
Skiles Studio: Diversity in Faces: Self Portraits
The Diversity in Faces project creates an opportunity for Georgia Tech students to represent themselves. Our goal is to create our own dataset based on this artwork to extend our understanding of Machine Learning and neural networks in practical ways while adding nuance to conversations around algorithmic bias and representation.
GT is recognized for its work in the areas of science and technology but needs to better integrate innovation in these areas with arts and humanities. This Skiles Studio (School of Literature, Media, and Culture) project combines art and technology and asks us to think about how this intersection can impact dialogues around race and identity.
Integrating Personal and Professional Identities: LGBTQ+ Experiences in the CEE Community
This project held a panel discussion on professional identity for LGBTQIA students in Civil and Environmental Engineering. While the college years are a time of transition for all students, many professional development issues are often magnified for students who are members of the LGBTQIA community. In the workshop, three CEE faculty/alums shared their personal stories, ranging from their time as students, through their job searches, to their experiences in a range of work environments, with insight into how they searched for the right workplace, integrated personal and professional identities, and built their professional support networks.
Resilience to Empowerment: The Asian American Experience
Asian Americans have demonstrated resiliency in the face of racism, violence, and targeted attacks. How has this impacted our individual and collective physical and mental health? How can Asian Americans move from stoic resiliency to feeling empowered to address these issues at the local and national levels? How can we break free from our cultural mindset of “put your head down and keep working hard” to acknowledge the depth of fear, rejection, and cultural exclusion we are experiencing?
The turnout of Asian American voters hit a historic high of nearly 60% in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Asian Americans are beginning to implement their collective political and social strength at the local level.
We are hosting an event in April to hear from local Asian American advocates and to allow a safe space for Asians to express themselves.
Establish a framework to intrinsically motivate underrepresented students in higher education
Developing an inclusive learning environment could motivate students to pursue higher education and decrease the dropout rates. Studies show dropout rate is significantly higher in underrepresented minorities. Creating an environment that intrinsically motivates students to work, could result in resolving that issue (An environment that helps students to develop a sense of autonomy, competency, and relatedness). A framework was developed to help the faculties develop such an environment. It includes a toolkit for the instructors to create a syllabus that accounts for diversity and inclusion when they are designing a course. An assessment tool is required to help them evaluate the effect of such considerations on the motivation of the students. The framework includes such assessment toolkit that consists of two quantitative surveys. We hope the development of such a framework can increase the intrinsic motivation of underrepresented students.
Promoting Gender Diversity in Financial Technology
Amy W. Corn
While Georgia Tech may aspire to graduate more women in technology-related fields, there is much work to be done to achieve gender parity in the financial services sector. This project aims to research and define the primary barriers to career advancement and identify opportunities for GT to act in overcoming these obstacles. The research indicates that while women account for over half of the entry-level workforce in financial services, they represent fewer than one in five positions in the C-Suite. GT can advance the institution's aspirations of amplifying impact and expanding access specifically in the financial services industry. But this cannot be accomplished by simply graduating women in the field. GT must concentrate on elevating awareness of the lack of parity in the industry, collaborating with the industry in addressing the issue, and providing women mentoring, sponsorship programs, training, professional development, and career advancement.
Data Science at Georgia Tech
Kendra Lewis-Strickland, Ed.D.
The original project proposed a monthly working group to explore the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion in data science research. Firstly, the researcher attended numerous national, institutional, and domain-specific meetings, symposiums, and conferences to identify resources regarding the topic. Secondly, the researcher spoke with individuals on campus interested in the intersection of diversity, equity, inclusion, and data science. Together, these steps revealed that this intersection is fairly new nationally, leaving quite an interest in the topic, but limited resources from proven theoretical or professional experience. Institutionally, the pandemic revealed numerous challenges to creating a working group. From recommendations gathered during the process, the researcher decided to develop a limited web series focused on amplifying the voices of diverse researchers and those who use data and analytics to engage in research impacting underrepresented groups. Finally, the web series is in production, identifying participants, and preparing to share the final product with the larger GT community.
Building Community through Facilitated Dialogue
Ami Waller-Ivanecky, LPC, NCC
The School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering launched its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee in the fall of 2020. When discussing how we wanted to engage with undergraduate students about these issues, I believed we should focus on the individual student experience in order to:
1. Acknowledge the importance of respect and belonging within the community of CHBE
2. Provide an opportunity for frank and open dialogue about issues of DEI
3. Identify challenges students may face as a result of feeling under-represented
I launched the ChBE Diversity Table Talks in the fall of 2021. Facilitated by trained graduate and undergraduate students, each Table Talk revolved around a selected topic, which included Respect, Belonging, Allyship, Storytelling, Unconscious Bias, and Social Justice. Following the discussion, dinner was served to encourage continued engagement.
ChBE plans to continue the program for 2022-23 with modifications based on feedback and assessment.
Faculty Retention Exit Interviews
How can we improve the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women and minoritized faculty members at the Institute? To answer this question, this project explores best practices for conducting qualitative exit interviews with faculty members who leave Georgia Tech through resignation. Upon completing the creation of the qualitative interview instrument, a connection strategy will be designed and human subjects' approval will be sought. Implementation of the interviews, analysis, and report writing will commence in Fall 2022.
2020 Project Spotlights
ABLE Alliance: Recognizing Academic Achievements
One of the key tenets of the ABLE Alliance is to promote the diversity and inclusion of the disabled population at Georgia Tech in academic settings. In order to expand on academic resources, we are advocating for better inclusion criteria for students with disabilities in earning institutional scholastic designations (e.g., Dean’s List). More specifically, we are advocating for special medical exemptions to minimum credit hour mandates that inadvertently discriminate against students who may not be able to consistently meet those physical demands. Additionally, the establishment of a representative honor society is being explored such that students with disabilities will be recognized for their individual academic achievements on a semesterly basis.
ABLE & ADAPPT Mentoring Program
The ABLE Alliance at Georgia Tech partnered with Georgia Power's ADAPPT Disability Employee Resource Group to create the ABLE & ADAPPT Mentoring Program. The program pairs Georgia Tech students with disabilities up with mentors from Georgia Power's ADAPPT Disability Employee Resource Group. Mentors coach each mentee to help them reach their career and professional development goals. The program launched in January 2021. Data is currently being collected to help decide how to best grow and develop the program in future semesters.
Black Media Studies at Georgia Tech
Black Media Studies (BMS) is a new program housed in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication that explores how media platforms create, market, curate, quantify, and preserve messages and representations of people of color through culture-producing industries such as music, film, television, gaming, and social media. BMS interrogates these representations, assessing and archiving their sociocultural and geopolitical influences on culture and society. As a Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, my goal has been to amplify the work of BMS here at Tech.
Campus Mural Project
In collaboration with Fabian Williams (AKA Occasional Superstar)
This project aims to bridge the GT community to its surrounding city by bringing an integral piece Atlanta culture onto our campus. Murals are all around the city, celebrating and extenuating the vibrancy of Atlanta. The campus mural will similarly celebrate the diversity of our student community while beautifying campus. We have gathered input from students across campus to best represent student interests and have worked with a local artist, Fabian Williams, to bring those ideas to light and color. The project is set to be completed by the end of spring semester.
Fattening Higher Ed: An Introduction to Fat Activism
In partnership with the Women’s Resource Center and Body Positive GT
Weight-based discrimination and anti-fatness often show up in systemic and individual barriers to educational access, participation, and professional success for students, faculty, and staff in higher education. Fat activism offers us an opportunity to examine and disrupt anti-fatness in ourselves and in our higher education spaces, relationships, policies, practices, pedagogies, and culture.
Digital Literacy Skills for Everyone Initiative
The United States is considered one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world. This does not mean every person in America is equally equipped with the proper digital literacy skills to comfortably live in it. In fact, the United States faces what some education researchers called a second-level digital divide (Swain & Person, 2001). The first-level digital divide refers to the discrepancies in access to information and communications technologies (ICTs), while differences in the effective use of ICTs belong to the second-level digital divide (Attewell, 2001).
First Generation Faculty Initiative
Devesh Ranjan, Chris Rozell, and Brandy Simula
Seeing people “like them” in career paths of interest plays a critical role in students’ perceptions of whether specific career fields are available to them. Because first generation status is a “hidden” identity, students are often unaware of faculty who share their first gen identities. To help make visible the successes of first generation students who have gone on to faculty careers, the First Generation Faculty at Tech initiative created an online directory of Tech’s first generation faculty and First at Tech door cards for faculty to display in their offices to make our First Gen faculty more visible. Working with partners in the Office for Undergraduate Education, we secured ongoing support for regular updates to the online directory as additional faculty complete the First at Tech registration in the years ahead.
The motivation for this work is twofold: to fortify the current programming available to the
campus community related to the LGBTQ+ community, and to perhaps present a new avenue through which the campus administration can recognize otherwise invisible students. It well documented that there is a dissonance between the projected and reported queer populations in STEM. While Georgia Tech offers extensive support for its students, there is a possibility that some students are not aware of the available programming. Or that the available programming does not adequately represent a cross-section of the queer student body. The obvious remedy to this is to survey the student body. While there are similar endeavors occurring on campus already, a sample survey has been drafted and will be shared with various departments to initiate this process.
Increasing Underrepresented Minorities (URMs) at Georgia Tech
Juan-Pablo Correa-Baena, Kyriaki Kalaitzidou, Kimberly Molina-Veronico, and Nancy Sandlin
It is important that Georgia Tech’s advisory boards and external volunteer roles have a composition that reflects and represents the diverse student population of Georgia Tech. The more diverse our advisory boards and external volunteers are, the greater the input and impact they provide to campus leaders, faculty, staff, students, and programs. These groups are the role models and mentors of our students. By highlighting and recruiting more underrepresented minorities to these roles, we are strengthening our advisory and volunteer programs, expanding our diverse talent, and are living our GT values and strategic plan.
Measuring what Matters in Economic Development
Within the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EII), the economic development arm of Georgia Tech, we measure our impact with great accuracy. The 10 business units measure how many dollars we help Georgia companies save, the number of Georgia jobs we help create, and more. In the past we did not count the number of minority business enterprises (MBEs) we helped. Following conversations about the importance of measuring our impact and support of MBEs, four of the 10 business units have updated their data collection. Efforts will continue with the six remaining units. Now data is collected to better tell the story of the businesses and people we serve.
Mental Health and Well-Being at GT: Promoting Diversity, Inclusion, Access
The focus of this project is to better identify marginalized student populations and serve them in ways that are sensitive to their needs and preferences in terms of the receipt of mental health information and services. GT has many international students, students who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and students with marginalized identities, and co-occurring marginalized identities who are often overlooked by traditional outreach and service-delivery methods. Developing a service-delivery model for this campus which is focused on marginalized constituencies is a vital means of supporting all students within the GT community.
Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Undergraduate Research
The primary goals of this project are to:
Student and Postdoc Parental Leave at Tech
Georgia Tech does not currently offer consistent, Institute-wide parental leave or guidance on parental leave for graduate students and postdocs. Peer institutions do have consistent policies, both for leave and for ensuring continuity of funding and healthcare, with 6-16 weeks of paid leave identified as existing policies at other institutions. Some institutions, including Duke, also offer childcare subsidies after a child has joined a family.
Over the past eight months, the project has researched team dynamics, conducted qualitative interviews, and gathered data through a quantitative survey to determine what went right in the all-female class that participated in MGT 4910 in spring 2020. Discovered themes included: high emotional understanding and regulation, team trust, vulnerability, equal workshare, and a positive sense of ownership; effective teams have high emotional intelligence, take a democratic approach to workshare, and foster an environment that allows members to be vulnerable with and trust one another. These findings are easily translated and applicable for the 38 women-centered organizations on Georgia Tech’s campus as well as more heterogeneous teams.
Women in Technology Community of Practice
The purpose of the Women in Technology (WIT) Community of Practice is to raise awareness of gender diversity issues within IT units and across the Georgia Tech campus, provide development and training around those issues and create a holding place or environment where networking and support can flourish. Membership is open to anyone that wishes to participate with an emphasis on those in the information technology units across Georgia Tech. Meetings convene every first Tuesday at noon virtually. We hope to gather in person when the pandemic is over. The initial steering committee consists of Pam Buffington, Associate Director – Academic Technology, Malynda Dorsey, Director – IT Marketing and Communications, Vicki Rogers, ITSM Process Manager Lead – Change, and Jessica Shaffer, Network Support Engineer Lead.
Work, Racial Equity, and Wellness Project
Tiffany D. Johnson
This is a two-pronged project with research and teaching components – both of which focus on re-imagining our approach to work by exploring the historical and present-day intersections of work, racial equity, and wellness. Regarding the teaching component, I am introducing a new course in Scheller College of Business. Students will be invited to re-imagine equitable work cultures by reflecting on course content and how it resonates with their lived experiences. It will be offered to MBA students in Summer 2021, and it will then be offered to Undergraduate students in Spring 2022.
2019 Project Spotlights
Cassie Mitchell, Anna Kirkpatrick, and Kiera Patterson
The ABLE Alliance at Georgia Tech is a brand new student organization for Georgia Tech students, faculty and staff dedicated to improving on-campus disability inclusion via access & resource sharing, community & social support, and professional & career development. ABLE Alliance features a virtual mentoring program that connects students with employees who are apart of disability employee resource groups (ERGs). This program gives students the opportunity to interact with employees who have shared experiences and are champions for people with disabilities.
ABLE Alliance welcomes EVERYONE of all abilities and backgrounds, as well as all allies that support the cause.
Diversity in Summer
Christina's project focuses on opportunities for students in the summer session to engage with diversity. She oversees the iGniTe Summer Launch Program in Summer Session Initiatives. During summer 2019, Christina organized the opportunity for first year students to participate in two different trips as part of iGniTe's new Global Communities track - one to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the other to the Atlanta History Center. This fall, as part of the project, she will be developing plans for the future of these types of initiatives for upcoming summers.
Family Storytime at the Georgia Tech Library
Diana Roldan Rueda and Nadia Szeinbaum
Working to develop a more inclusive campus for families of students and postdocs at Georgia Tech, a student club "Student and Faculty families at Georgia Tech" was established after surveying and soliciting feedback and advice from the community. Family Storytime was created as one of the first initiatives. As a pilot during Fall 2019 semester, "Family Storytime at the Library" is being held at Crosland Tower once a week on Thursdays at 10 a.m. Family Storytime at the Library will host children of students, faculty and staff for a 30-minute reading session. The goal of the program is to be a family-friendly initiative to promote an inclusive campus. The program has been met with enthusiasm by guests and the broader GT community, and could serve as an example for continued engagement of families into the GT campus environment.
Family Storytime at the Library is an official Youth Program at Georgia Tech and parents or guardians are required to attend with children.
First Generation College Students
First Generation College & Graduate Students are the first in their families to continue their education beyond the mandated 12 years in the USA. They encountered questions and, maybe resistance, from family and friends while making the transition to the academic environment. In terms of diversity, First Generation students have had a different lived experience (from those who have many generations of attending colleges) and can provide insights to student who are now starting this process at Georgia Tech. A panel discussion was held in October of 2019 to shed light on the experiences of First Generation students.
I’m Migrant @ GT
With the aim of sharing the unique challenges and perspectives of international (or first-generation) students and staff at Georgia Tech, 'I'm Migrant @Georgia Tech' is a conservatorium in which interviews will be posted continuously. This will allow having a site where people can know more about the diversity of cultures and worldviews that enrich our community. So far, eight interviews have been conducted and a website has been set up, but this project will continue beyond this academic year.
Makerspace Culture Workshop
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 have developed a workshop specifically geared towards undergraduate-run makerspaces that expose students to best practices in developing a diverse and inclusive atmosphere. The workshop engages the students in developing their own expectations for what a great makerspace culture is and identifying tangible objectives that can be employed to ensure a diverse and inclusive culture is realized. The workshop was first run at the Aero Maker Space in the School of Aerospace Engineering.
Sexual Harassment Awareness
The goal of Stephanie's project is to help increase the awareness of Sexual Harassment on Georgia Tech's campus, with the goal of seeking to understand, being aware to prevent, and knowing how to respond appropriately to matters within the topic.
Through a panel of panel of Georgia Tech faculty and staff, the project informed staff, faculty, and students about the resources and tools on Tech's campus to be effective around the topic of sexual awareness.
Moderator: Dr. Kim Cobb, ADVANCE Professor, College of Sciences; Director, Global Change Program; Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Panelists: Marcia Bull Stadeker, Title IX Coordinator, Ethics Compliance & Legal; Dr. Janice E. Harewood, Licensed Psychologist, Assistant Director for Outreach and Wellness; Gail Greene, Director of Faculty Administration/HR Scheller College of Business; Deontez Wimbley, Health Initiatives; and Amanda Planchard, VOICE Advocate.
The Student Competition Center: Building Community & Creating an Inclusive Culture
Lorin Achey and David Smith
The Student Competition Center (SCC) offers real, hands-on, relevant experiences in designing, building, and operating complex systems through participation in national and international competitions. The purpose of this project is to investigate levels of participation at the SCC among the diverse demographic groups at Georgia Tech and to pro-actively reach out to those groups that are under-represented. The project has included demographic surveys and a student experience survey, as well as presentations to other campus organizations and the formation of an Engage Initiative to promote inclusion throughout the SCC.
This I Believe--The Atlanta Worldview Project
Religion is often considered an “off-limits” topic in polite conversation, but if we never sit down to have these serious discussions about ourselves, we’ll never really learn to be comfortable around people whose beliefs are fundamentally different from our own. True tolerance requires us to suspend our individual biases and seek first to understand what others believe and where those beliefs come from. The This I Believe podcast series highlights the beautiful breadth of religious beliefs within the Atlanta community. I hope that through providing a safe space to exchange ideas, my podcast will promote awareness of our common ground as humans and appreciation for our diverse spiritual experiences.
Translational Research in College Mental Health Systems for Vulnerable Populations
In 2017, a $1,000,000 dollar fund for mental health initiatives was created at Georgia Tech. The Mental Health Joint Allocations Committee (MHJAC) oversees this fund and has encountered difficulty in assessing how best to invest resources. A crucial aspect of population mental health is recognition of vulnerable populations, which are subpopulations adversely affected by health conditions due to socioeconomic disadvantage. Identification of vulnerable populations at Georgia Tech was achieved through statistical analysis of psychometrics of CCAPS-34 subscales. LGBT+ and financially insecure students experienced an elevation of >18% on scores of anxiety and depression. This quantitative research was supplemented by vulnerable population policies published by the Intercollegiate Mental Health Conference, the first national student conference on college mental health. Evidence of psychiatric health disparities and benchmarking of Georgia Tech’s resources against peer institutions provided the rationale to create $300,000 in MHJAC grants for vulnerable populations.
BEAM is a newly chartered Georgia Tech student organization; it originally started as a graduate student organization to help create a community and network of support for underrepresented minorities (URM), but has now expanded to include undergraduates as well- “uBEAM”. The organization aims to create a support system that fosters an affirming community for underrepresented minority (URM) Biomedical Engineering (BME) students to help them thrive and successfully matriculate through the BME graduate program. uBEAM intentionally focuses on improving URM retention, recruitment, and developing a network that supports and values racial and ethnic diversity in the department. The positive impact uBEAM has on the BME community is evident, as it helps provides URM students a safe space and sense of belonging at Georgia Tech.
2018 Project Spotlights
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're 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.
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 undergraduate education at 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.
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.
2017 Project Spotlights
Accent Stories is a series of podcasts produced by Yelena M. Rivera-Vale where our Georgia Tech community members share their personal recollections and opinions related to the way they speak.
B-School D&I is a blog that chronicles the efforts at Georgia Tech’s Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business to increase diversity and promote inclusion. The blog describes implicit bias training for new MBA students and involvement in Management Leadership for Tomorrow, a national nonprofit dedicated to developing African-American, Latino, and Native American business leaders. The intention of the blog is to serve as a source of information and inspiration for other Georgia Tech departments and colleges, Scheller alumni, and business schools nationwide.
Ben T. Zinn Combustion Laboratory Experience
This project aimed to improve the quality of experience for all of our students and researchers in the Ben T. Zinn Combustion Laboratory, a large lab on campus with shared resources around critical lab infrastructure and equipment.
There were two key deliverables from the project. The first was the development of a slide deck on “Lab Culture,” which will be presented as part of an “All Hands” meeting twice a year. The second was the standing up of a graduate student lab, “Onboarding/ Knowledge Transfer Committee.” This committee is focusing on onboarding activities, lab socials, formalized mechanisms for transferring critical knowledge more uniformly to new students, and identification of points of contact for new students, so they know who to talk with if they need help on a particular matter.
The Culture Xchange
The Culture Xchange is a concept that couples self-exploration with intimate experiences, creating bonds amongst our Georgia Tech community members. By defining one’s identity and introducing it to a colleague as an actual experience, we will address issues and biases individually blocking the realignment of Tech culture.
Diversity Interventions: What Works and Why
This mini-project focused on reviewing various intervention activities that have been implemented and evaluated for their effectiveness. It compiles a list of best practices for enhancing inclusion on campus.
Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business Ph.D. Student Brown Bag
On April 28, 2017, the workshop, “Leveraging Diversity in the Classroom: Understanding Intercultural Communication and Implicit Bias,” explored intercultural communication and implicit bias in the classroom. Dean Stephanie Ray from the Office of Diversity Programs facilitated the workshop. Those who completed the program received a certificate of completion, which can be added to their CVs.
Icebreaker Series – Human First Edition
Icebreaker Series – Human First Edition is a series of activities, games, and events where we step outside of our norm, enough to share creativity and understanding, so we may find even the simplest of ways to connect with each other. We might act and react, watch cartoons in another language, play a game of mad libs, have dance lessons together, or perhaps even take a camping trip; the possibilities are endless. By developing the arts and crafts of connecting individuals from diverse backgrounds in various settings implemented by sharing ideas, problem-solving, and creating solutions to overcome daily challenges, we build and foster a diverse community. This kind of community leads the charge in providing safe spaces for each individual to grow and respect differing perspectives, celebrate uniqueness, yet transcend inclusive excellence where ever they set foot.
Intentional Inclusion is an online training module that focuses on issues of diversity and inclusion. All faculty, staff, and students would be required to participate in this training on at least an annual basis and incentivized for completing the training. The topics include helping the majority faculty, staff, and students become aware of issues that people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds may experience on this campus and in their communities; learn how to intentionally create a classroom, research lab, or professional environment that is inclusive and safe for everyone; and have the tools to challenge stereotypes or discrimination within their settings.
Organized in collaboration with the ADVANCE Program, Queering STEM is a new conversation series that explores the experiences of being openly LGBTQIA in STEM fields. The main goal of this group is to create a space for professional development and peer mentoring among graduate students, postdocs, researchers, and faculty at Georgia Tech. Some of the issues discussed include managing discrimination at both institutional and workplace levels, advocating for yourself and for policy/culture change, networking and mentorship, and how to successfully navigate the job market.
The Race Circus
On October 26, 2017, the Makeshift Circus Collective presented a video to attendees of their performance piece, The Race Circus Project, which explores themes of race through the circus arts. After the screening, facilitators from Makeshift led a discussion with campus community members on the themes raised by the performance.
Talking Race@Tech: Student Voices
On March 7, 2017, Talking Race@Tech: Student Voices was a three-hour event that created a safe space for the assembled students to voice and work through their experiences of race on campus. The symposium featured a panel of six student speakers; a response from School of Literature, Media, and Communication Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies Nihad Farooq; an audience Q&A; and small group discussions.
Understanding Graduate Attrition
Graduate attrition is not widely studied. This project attempts to begin understanding graduate attrition at Georgia Tech by defining and identifying it. It is hoped that this information can be used as a tool to help guide diversity and inclusion efforts in the campus graduate student community.
Check out the photos from our 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program Showcase!