Nov 26, 2018 | Atlanta, GA
A pilot program seeking to build a network of ambassadors in support of inclusive excellence celebrated the completion of its second group of fellows this month at the Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program Poster Expo. The expo was a showcase of the projects created by, and lessons learned from, its participants.
The second cohort of staff, students, and faculty — Troy Batugal, Natashia Boland, Rachel Chen, Sheila Cranman, Rishabh Datta, Claudio 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, and Conan Zhao — have spent the past year developing, planning, and executing their proposals, each designed to accelerate cultural transformation on campus.
For the program’s sponsors, the goal is to create an environment where all people feel safe, comfortable, and empowered to discuss diversity and inclusion.
“Diverse collaboration often sparks great innovation,” said Magnus Egerstedt, professor and Steve W. Chaddick School Chair in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and co-director of the Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program. “When we conceived of this program, the hope was to change the culture on campus by seeding a number of different projects. And it is really exciting to see this actually happening. I particularly appreciate the energy and passion that the Diversity and Inclusion Fellows bring to this program.”
With support from Institute Diversity, the Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program was created in 2017 to bring together faculty, staff, and students who individually and collectively advance their action, research, or teaching objectives while improving inclusivity on campus.
2018 Diversity Fellows’ topics included conflict resolution skills training for graduate students in science, mentoring and support for African-American female students matriculating through Tech, a summit-style event to discuss issues related to the inclusion of people with disabilities at Tech, and a workshop specifically geared toward undergraduate-run makerspaces that expose students to best practices in developing a diverse and inclusive atmosphere.
“It is very exciting to witness the creative ways that our fellows are using their own experience and expertise to foster diversity and inclusivity at Georgia Tech,” said Beril Toktay, ADVANCE Professor in the Scheller College of Business, Brady Family Chair and faculty director of the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business, and co-director of the Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program. “It is particularly gratifying to see how interest in the program has grown, the wealth of ideas and projects that are being proposed, and the effectiveness of the execution.”
Angela Keys, an administrative manager in the Center for Career Discovery and Development whose project, Black Women Gather, provides mentoring and support for African-American women at Tech, reflected on her time as a fellow.
“I consider myself fairly dialed-in to being inclusive but seeing and hearing my fellow fellows' projects made me realize how much work there is still to do, how much there is I don't know and still want to learn,” she said.
She also noted how this project has further deepened her connection to Tech. “I feel more invested in this Institute and I want to be a part of its legacy of Progress and Service.”
The third cohort of faculty, staff, and students was recently selected for the 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program.
To learn more about the program, visit diversity.gatech.edu/DIFellowsProgram.