Diversity and Inclusion Work
Welcoming, supportive environments have always been necessary for me to succeed in engineering. I've experienced a variety of negative environments while working in engineering research, which have sometimes led me to question my choice to be part of our field - "if this is what I'm getting into, do I really want to do this?" When that's happened, I could remember other labs where I've been excited to come to work, as a reminder that it's possible, and necessary, to do better.
I believe the same need is true for all students I work with, especially those with diverse backgrounds - inclusive practices make it so that everyone wants to come in to lab, and can be excited about what we're doing together. I work hard in all that I do to make my lab, my department, and my field as supportive as possible.
I actively try to recruit under-represented researchers to my teams. Some statistics about my students below. Statistics on peoples' lives come with many problems. But, I do believe this does more good than harm - it lets y'all know that we're including lots of people, and that diverse prospective students will be welcome on my team.
My research teams, specifically folks whom I have supervised directly, have had the following percent of students who consider themselves under-represented in engineering:
Graduate Students: 8/15 = (53%)
Undergraduate Students: 11/19 = (58%) **note, this includes students from Fall 2018, not yet present on my 'Mentoring' page
Total: 19/34 = (56%)
Other diversity and inclusion work that I've done:
I recently worked with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Committee to revise a handful of diversity statements relating to inclusion of transgender engineers and engineers with disabilities. ASME's policies P-4.1, P-4.14, P-15.9, and P-15.11 now specifically protect for gender identity and expression. More importantly, I wrote in language protecting access to facilities for transgender conference attendees (restrooms) and for attendees with disabilities into ASME's Diversity and Inclusion statement, P-15.11. We're working on getting contract guidelines into ASME's conference planning team for ensuring access.
I volunteered as the Graduate Peer Ambassador for the Mechanical Engineering Department at UC Berkeley during the 2014-2015 school year, as part of our Diversity and Inclusion program.
I was the chair for the chapter handbook project with oSTEM Incorporated (Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) from 2012-2014. oSTEM is a national organization committed to supporting LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) students in the STEM fields. Our team put together the current version of the National oSTEM Chapter Handbook.
With oSTEM, I've put to practice my experience in leadership through workshops and seminars. I co-presented the workshop "Topics in Queer Student Leadership: Assessment, Transitions, and Goal-Driven Planning" with Adam Stoffel at both the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Creating Change Conference 2013 and the Midwest Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Allies College Conference 2013. I also hosted the workshop "Fabulous Facilitation Frameworks for LGBTQ College Students" at the 2014 oSTEM National Conference.
At my undergraduate institution, the University of Maryland College Park, I co-founded and was the first president of our oSTEM chapter, oSTEM @ Maryland. I helped organize our LGBTQ student groups into a collaborative body, the Queer Council, which led cross-programming between groups and helped advocate for the queer community to university staff and management.