SIE Community of Excellence and DEIB Champions of Diversity Awards 2023

WPI hosted its inaugural DEIB Wellness Day Symposium on November 6, 2023, inviting the community to participate in thought-provoking discussions, wellness activities, and the opportunity to contribute to building a more inclusive campus community.

The symposium concluded with an awards celebration recognizing the contributions of campus community members in the DEIB space.

The following individuals were honored with the Champion of Diversity Award for their dedicated efforts:

Crystal Brown, Assistant Professor, Social Science and Policy Studies 

Crystal Brown’s passion for change includes her leadership and work in the Black Student Experience Project over the past two years. The Black Student Experience Project was designed to address challenges our students face in four critical areas: Student Transition to WPI, Academics, Personal Well-Being, and Financial Concerns. Brown’s work, along with other colleagues, is helping to inform us as a community of the unique needs of our Black students. This work is important because it enhances the sense of belonging for our Black students and seeks to improve their overall experience at WPI.

Joseph Cullon, Professor of Teaching, Humanities & Arts, and  Kristin Wobbe, Director, Center for Project Based Learning 

Joe Cullon and Kris Wobbe developed an on-campus IQP exploring WPI's historical connections to slavery and Native American dispossession. This work is the first of its kind at the university, and like many universities, it brings awareness to our university’s previous involvement in our country where people of color were treated differently because of their race. This work is important because it educates our community about our historical ties to racial injustices, promoting a more inclusive and informed campus.

Lindsay Davis, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Humanities & Arts 

Lindsay Davis served as a co-organizer of the Diversity Allies Group. Given her passion and commitment to Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, she was responsible for creating new course curriculum to address underrepresentation of women, especially in STEM education. This work is important because it promotes gender equity and diversity in STEM fields, ensuring that women feel empowered and included.
 

Nafi Gogbeh, Senior Counselor, Student Development & Counseling

Nafi Gogbeh has gone above and beyond in her support of students by devoting countless hours to ensuring that our diverse student populations feel a sense of belonging, have a resource person whom they can go to for support, and in many ways helped aid the retention efforts of our university through direct outreach to students facing various challenges. This work is important because it provides critical support to our diverse student population and contributes to their success and well-being.

Ingrid Matos-Nin, Professor of Teaching, Humanities & Arts 

Ingrid Matos-Nin voluntarily curated a collection of numerous YouTube films showcasing 14 women of color in STEM. These films will be integrated into the library's research and outreach resources for our students, faculty, and staff. This resource is being archived within the library and will serve as a valuable resource for faculty, staff, and students interested in the contributions of women of color in STEM, which have often gone unnoticed. This work is important because it highlights the achievements of underrepresented women in STEM fields and provides valuable educational resources.
 

Levi Prudhomme, Associate Director of Graduate Admissions, Graduate Recruitment and Admissions

Levi Prudhomme’s contribution to DEIB extended beyond his job. Levi conducted DEIB training sessions and discussions, supported graduate student mentorship program planning, and actively recruited underrepresented STEM students through targeted conferences. Additionally, Levi enhanced the online application process by displaying preferred names and expanding gender identity options. Collectively, this work is important because it promotes diversity in graduate education and ensures a more inclusive admissions process. 

Zoe Reidinger, Associate Teaching Professor, Biomedical Engineering, and Sarah Stanlick, Assistant Professor, Integrative and Global Studies

Zoe Reidinger and Sarah Stanlick developed methodologies to support neurodiversity among our student population. This aided in considering their needs to minimize high-impact practices that can unintentionally disadvantage students who are not neurotypical. This work is important because it ensures that students with neurodiverse needs are accommodated, thus creating a more inclusive learning environment.

Elizabeth Stewart, Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering 

Elizabeth Stewart plays a pivotal role in promoting diversity and inclusion. She organizes the Chemical Engineering Departmental Colloquium Series to ensure diverse voices and perspectives are represented across research areas, ranks, genders, and underrepresented groups. Additionally, she has championed the launch of an annual Trailblazer Lectureship to recognize leaders in chemical engineering who contribute significantly to advancing, supporting, and sustaining diversity and equity within the profession. Also, Stewart teaches a professional development course for chemical engineering graduate students, focusing on DEI, implicit bias, and strategies to mitigate bias through in-class discussions. This work is important because it fosters diversity and inclusivity in the field of chemical engineering and equips students with essential knowledge to diversify the profession.

Elisabeth “Lisa” Stoddard, Associate Professor of Teaching, Integrative and Global Studies

Lisa Stoddard has taken a leading role in organizing the "Careers in Sustainable and Just Communities Networking Event" for the last two years. This event brings diverse mentors to campus to engage with students about opportunities, career paths, and personal and professional development. It inspires students to consider alternative and fulfilling paths in their lives while providing them with relatable role models representing diversity. Stoddard is also currently collaborating with WPI alumni to develop a mentorship program that matches students with diverse mentors. This work is important because it encourages students to explore diverse career opportunities and connects them with mentors who can provide guidance and support in their personal and professional growth.

 

The SIE Community of Excellence Award recognizes departments and units that have actively committed to several DEIB goals. SIE began three years ago as WPI’s commitment to create a culture in which all members of the community feel an authentic sense of inclusion and belonging. Under the SIE, there are four goals: 

  • Inclusive Campus Culture in Service of Students
  • Innovation and Equity in Teaching, Research, and Scholarship 
  • STEM Access and Retention  
  • Diverse Talent Strategies

 Additionally, recipients of the SIE Community of Excellence Award demonstrated the following:  

  • Facilitated a process of renewing/developing implementation plans that aligned DEI Strategic Framework goal/objectives.   
  • SIE Partners represented the divisional goals for at least one fiscal year.    
  • Demonstrated evidence of DEIB work that has been done in the last three years.   
  • Provided summary of completed and in progress goals – captured on the SIE HUB page.   
  • Based on the summary of work provided by the SIE partners, demonstrated collaboration within and/or across division/s to support the goals.   

The following individuals accepted SIE Community of Excellence Awards on behalf of their division or department: 

  • Amy Curran for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management
  • Diana Fiorentino for Marketing Communications
  • Kris Billiar for the School of Engineering
  • William Battelle for Campus Planning & Facilities Management
  • Jennifer Cluett for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management
  • Lindsay Davis for the School of Arts & Sciences
  • Anne Ogilvie/Lisa Stoddard for The Global School
  • Levi Prudhomme for Graduate Studies
  • Roxanne Gardner for Talent & Inclusion
  • Matthew Thaler for the Office of General Counsel
  • Anne Ludes/Kathy Chen for Undergraduate Studies
  • Ellen Piccioli for the Office of the Vice Provost for Research