In a world faced with numerous challenges, we need engineers with different backgrounds and unique perspectives if we want to tackle these problems effectively. Universities are tasked with educating and training a diverse pool of students, providing them with an environment conducive to growth, acceptance, and collaboration. Accepting a highly diverse cohort of undergraduate students is an important step in this process, but it is just that: one step. Universities need professors that are capable of mentoring and advising undergraduate and graduate students with different backgrounds, different skills, and different goals. Professors should be just as supportive of students researching energy justice as they are of students researching phonon transport. Professors must also be capable of effectively teaching a diverse classroom, implementing multiple teaching and advising styles that cater to students that all learn in different ways from one another. I am committed to fostering a culture of inclusivity by advising, mentoring, and teaching a diverse student body. I want to provide historically underrepresented students with research opportunities to which they might not otherwise be exposed. Leaning on my connections with the Department of Energy, I plan to mentor and assist these students in winning DOE fellowships and internships at national labs. I also plan to work with student clubs and organizations to provide undergraduate research opportunities to members of underrepresented communities. In addition to the students, I am also determined to collaborate with a diverse range of researchers, utilizing our different backgrounds to approach scientific problems from all angles.
Prior Diversity Involvement: Through my mentoring, teaching, and outreach, I have been committed to nurturing a sense of inclusivity and diversity at Georgia Tech. I served as a mentor to an undergraduate from Morehouse University participating in the SURE program – a summer research program intended to introduce historically underrepresented students to research and inform them of their opportunities after graduating. I have also worked with student organizations to inform undergraduates about research opportunities, helped junior graduate students prepare for qualifying exams as part of the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Association, and mentored students applying for fellowships.
Future Efforts: As a faculty member, I plan to continue engaging with student organizations, as well as the students in my classes, to create an inclusive environment that allows their voices to be heard and provide them with opportunities to succeed. This starts with creating a research lab that welcomes both graduate and undergraduate students from all walks of life to work on projects that stoke the creative and scientific fire within their hearts. In the case that I meet a student that is interested in a research topic outside of my scope, I intend to work with them to identify an opportunity that would allow them to work on that topic. To this end, I previously interned with NASA and was a DOE fellow during my Ph.D., and I plan to utilize these connections to help students (including those who are historically underrepresented in these institutions) to secure internship, fellowship, and job opportunities. I have made connections in graduate school with researchers working on various engineering problems that fall outside the norm (e.g., considering energy justice in early-stage research, equitable decarbonization of heating in below-median income households). I plan to discuss topics like these with my lab at regular journal club meetings to introduce them to new perspectives and highlight the importance of conducting research that benefits marginalized communities.