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A&GS Diversity and Inclusivity Council

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A&GS Diversity and Inclusivity Council

Mission Statement

To foster cultural competence and proficiency among all students, staff, and faculty in A&GS, and an environment where all feel fully accepted, supported, and valued.

Goals

  • To develop, promote, and monitor the effectivenesss of diversity and inclusivity programs and initiatives in AGS
  • Coordinate with, and support the activities of the campus-wide Diversity and Inclusivity Academic Council, as well as other entities engaged in efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity at the University of Oklahoma
  • Serve as the compass and conscience of the College in ensuring that AGS is proactive in sharing, adopting, and implementing best diversity and inclusivity practicies with respect to students, faculty and staff welfare, recruitment, retention, and graduation or promotion
  • Function as a source of reference, information, and point-of-contact for members of the College to share experiences, observations, and suggestions related to diversity and inclusivity

Meet the Team


  • Fun Fact About You:
    • I am a crazy cat lady: we have two fluffy hypoallergenic Siberian cats, Lisa and Micka, who rule our house!
  • Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important to You?
    • I strongly believe that education shapes the future of individuals, communities, and societies. We all benefit from giving everyone a chance to make their voices heard and to succeed; there is typically not one solution that fits all and different perspectives lead to more informed and better decisions.
  • How Have your Experiences Shaped Your Career?
    • I am a first generation college graduate who grew up in a small German village. I have all my degrees from the Technical University in Karlsruhe (Now KIT), Germany. When I started in 1986 as a Physics major, one of the first things I learned during my orientation session was that there was not one single female professor on campus. We were only ~15 female students out of ~200 freshman in the Physics program and there was no such thing as being under the radar; it seemed everyone knew me and was watching me from day 1 and at the same time I struggled to find role models and mentors.  Part of me always felt that I needed to justify my presence and work extra hard during all steps of my career.
  • What Advice Do You Have Given Your Life Experiences?
    • Find what your are passionate about and be a champion for yourself, not your own worst enemy.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t take small set backs, like a low grade in an exam or a declined job, as a sign that you cannot do it.
  • Describe How you Plan to Engage to Support the Council’s Mission:
    • I want to promote an inclusive environment and make sure that ALL members of the College feel welcome and are provided with resources to succeed. I want to be a champion for people from underrepresented groups and intervene if I notice unfair treatment or harassment. Additionally, I want to make sure that implicit bias does not affect our recruitment practices at any level (UG, Grad students, faculty, and staff) and that we work towards increasing diversity within the College. 

 


  • Fun Fact About You:
    • I know how to twist balloon animals
  • Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important to You?
    • Diversity and inclusion are important to me because everyone should feel welcomed and valued in their roles and for the unique perspectives their backgrounds allow them to bring to the table. 
  • How Have your Experiences Shaped Your Career?
    • I have been fortunate enough to have had close mentors that I felt very comfortable with throughout all stages of my schooling to help guide my career. Because these people played such a role in my career path and development, I think it is very important for people from all backgrounds to have mentors they are close to and feel are trustworthy and relate to them. 
  • What Advice Do You Have Given Your Life Experiences?
    • My advice to individuals from diverse backgrounds is to always remember you belong in the space you're in and that your perspectives are valuable and needed.
  • Describe How you Plan to Engage to Support the Council’s Mission:
    • I plan to engage in the council's mission by making myself known publicly to be an individual people can turn to if they have concerns and to help people stay aware of the council's presence and ongoing activities. 

  • Fun Fact About You:
    • I can juggle!
  • Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important to You?
    • I believe that the university, as well as science and society in general, benefit from hearing and learning from individuals with as broad and diverse a background as possible. If we as individuals, as well as we as a collective society, are going to improve ourselves and our communities, it is important to engage and include everyone from all types of backgrounds and with all types of experiences. 
  • How Have your Experiences Shaped Your Career?
    • I have been very fortunate to have had a number of diverse and excellent teachers and mentors throughout my career. Working on a large number of team projects which included researchers from widely diverse backgrounds has taught me the value of including people with different perspectives and cultural experiences.
  • What Advice Do You Have Given Your Life Experiences?
    • Reach out to people from all backgrounds and those with wide-ranging experiences. The more insight you can obtain from those with differing viewpoints, the better able you will be to understand complex issues. Also try to identify a mentor, regardless of his or her background, who can help you navigate your career and life path. Finally, don't fall victim to imposter syndrome. Remember that we all belong, regardless of our upbringing or how we got here.
  • Describe How you Plan to Engage to Support the Council’s Mission:
    • I will work toward supporting the Council's mission by providing input and guidance where I can to help out all students from diverse backgrounds achieve their maximum potential. I will also help to organize and participate in events and activities to help all students feel included in the department and college.

  • Fun Fact About You:
    • I was born with very small feet without toes, and spent a significant part of my childhood in surgeries and doctor’s visits. You may notice that I’m a little rebellious when it comes to wearing doctor-approved footwear! 
  • Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important to You?
    • I believe that diversity and inclusion create not only a more well-rounded career, but a better world. Additionally, it has been scientifically shown that diversity and inclusion are integral to a productive research environment. 
  • How Have your Experiences Shaped Your Career?
    • I was raised in rural Oklahoma, and came to OU with very little understanding of how people who differed from me experienced the world. Throughout my college education, I found that misinformation or confusion can often contribute to discrimination, particularly of those who differ from the majority. As a professional, it has been my goal to see that people of all backgrounds are able to find their place within the university and to have every opportunity to reach their goals, and to see those who have not been exposed to differing cultures grow. 
  • What Advice Do You Have Given Your Life Experiences?
    • I would encourage students from every background to spend time developing relationships with people who are both very similar and very different from themselves. I hope students from underrepresented backgrounds can take full advantage of the resources available to them, and that students from well-represented backgrounds take advantage of the unique opportunity college offers to learn about all walks of life. 
  • Describe How you Plan to Engage to Support the Council’s Mission:
    • My intention is to work to communicate every available resource and to advocate for students whose personal histories may have precluded them from being able to fully access all that the university have to offer. I would also like to build a sense of really ‘allyship’ among all of our graduates, so that as people move on from their time here, they are able to advocate for increased diversity and inclusive environments wherever they go.

  • Fun Fact About You:
    • If you see me wearing silver jewelry, there is a better than 50-50 chance that I made it myself. I started silversmithing while working on my doctorate.
  • Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important to You?
    • I possess a strong sense of fairness, and so it upsets me a great deal that the path to becoming a scientist is not fair to all who attempt the journey. And of course, many don’t even have the chance to start. Various literatures make this quite clear, so rather than rehash I prefer to answer on a personal level. The bottom line is this: surely others are the same as me, feeling a powerful sense of yearning any time they hear stories about scientists that are like them. Diversity and inclusion is important to me because I want others to see scientists that are like them.
  • How Have your Experiences Shaped Your Career?
    • For all but the most oblivious or obstinate, there is a lot of social sorting that goes on that largely drives one’s career trajectory. There are certainly choices one makes, such as my decision to major in physics at a small liberal arts institution, that play strong roles. Those choices determine who you meet and how you grow. But underlying these are the subconscious encouragements (or, alternately, the tiny negative things) that one experiences and observes to the larger, more systemic opportunities (or barriers). I doubt that anyone could fully understand how their experiences have shaped their careers.
  • What Advice Do You Have Given Your Life Experiences?
    • I have two pieces of advice for individuals from diverse backgrounds: The first is not to wait for a high quality mentor that is like you, but to seek out high quality mentors, period. Also, do not wait for a single, all-encompassing mentor; instead, identify specific things you need to be mentored in, and seek out mentors for those things.
  • Describe How you Plan to Engage to Support the Council’s Mission:
    • Through serving on the council, I assert that our long standing, highly-regarded NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates program is a moldable opportunity and should be an essential element in our overall diversity and inclusion efforts at the College. In addition, my doctoral studies in adult and higher education research and practice have been relatively unexploited, but could be important in identifying where students are falling through cracks, how their unique educational journeys are progressing, and what we can do to further assure that doors are open for all who wish to walk through them.

  • Fun Fact About You:
    • I swam and played water polo through college and graduate school and I have competed in masters swim meets in Oklahoma since becoming faculty here. The longest race I have done is 3 miles in a lake near Tulsa and I have been Oklahoma state champion in my age group in a couple of events! 
  • Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important to You?
    • Accurate and reliable weather forecasts, projections of climate change, and their impacts are extremely challenging problems that span the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Science.  To make progress on these and other problems, we need broad perspectives and ideas from a diverse population. As an inclusive environment is vital for encouraging and facilitating these ideas, the two are essential for personal and scientific growth and our community as a whole. 
  • How Have your Experiences Shaped Your Career?
    • I attended the University of Reading for my undergraduate degree in Meteorology and although I probably did not recognize this at the time, having several early career female faculty as professors was extremely important for me. As I was able to see other people like me succeeding in academia (teaching and research), I did not discount it as a possible career. Having attended and visited many other institutions around the world, I know that this is not an experience that many students (and faculty) have. I was also very fortunate to have a PhD advisor who was very supportive of women in science and encouraged me to pursue faculty positions even when I wasn’t sure I was good enough! Having female role models and mentors within meteorology/atmospheric science at various stages of my career has been instrumental in getting where I am today (even though I still have days when I don’t feel good enough – imposter syndrome is real).
  • What Advice Do You Have Given Your Life Experiences?
    • I have two pieces of advice: (i) Find a community with shared experiences that makes you feel happy, safe, and encouraged. (ii) Speak up when you need something and when you are experiencing challenges – there are many people who want you to succeed.
  • Describe How you Plan to Engage to Support the Council’s Mission:
    • I hope that, at a minimum, I can be a role model, mentor, and advocate for students from diverse backgrounds to help them succeed at OU and in their future career, and ultimately build an inclusive and diverse networking community. Faculty diversity is also an important issue for me, and I will continue to help develop recruiting and retention plans to improve faculty diversity across the College.

  • Fun Fact About You:
    • I am a female owner of a National Football League team: the Green Bay Packers and I threw out the first pitch at a Milwaukee Brewer baseball game on my 16th birthday.
  • Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important to You?
    • Diversity and inclusion are important to me because I like great ideas and great energy to complete them. You get the best ideas from a diverse team and a lot of energy from people rowing in the same direction when they feel included in the process.
  • How Have your Experiences Shaped Your Career?
    • I have experienced both positive and negative aspects of being a female in science. Both types of experiences have shaped my career, either providing me opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise or by shutting the door on opportunities that appeared designated to white males. I have used all of my experiences to help mentor the next generation so that they can benefit from what I learned along the way.
  • What Advice Do You Have Given Your Life Experiences?
    • Don’t ever try to be someone who you aren’t. You are unique and that’s a great strength. Don’t let others tell you that it’s anything but amazing. 
  • Describe How you Plan to Engage to Support the Council’s Mission:
    • I plan to help the council take clear actions forward to educate faculty, staff, and students about how to build and support a more diverse workforce now.

  • Fun Fact About You:
    • I have quadruplet uncles! 
  • Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important to You?
    • Diversity and inclusion are important to for numerous reasons. Being a Latina who also identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I have experienced the effects of both inclusive and non-inclusive situations. I want to be part of the effort that supports and encourages those from diverse backgrounds and continues to educate others on the importance of acceptance, sympathy/empathy, and diversity as a whole.
  • How Have your Experiences Shaped Your Career?
    • My personal experiences have taught me the importance and utility of diversity and inclusion by being able to interact with and learn from people with both similar and dissimilar backgrounds. At times in my academic career when I experienced discrimination, I used those experiences as motivation not only for personal goals, but also for advocating on behalf of others who experience any form of discrimination. Overall, my experiences have taught me that resilience, active listening, and action are key to having successful diversity and inclusion as a top priority.  
  • What Advice Do You Have Given Your Life Experiences?
    • My advice to individuals from diverse backgrounds is to seek out those who have had similar experiences, so that you can closely relate with someone, learn from those who may have different experiences, advocate for yourself, and embrace all parts of who you are. 
  • Describe How you Plan to Engage to Support the Council’s Mission:
    • I plan to support the council’s mission throughout my day-to-day life by advocating for and participating in education about diverse cultures, by supporting and encouraging those who are from diverse backgrounds, and by participating in hard conversations that will promote the importance of acknowledging and discouraging discrimination.

  • Fun Fact About You:
    • I can sight-read music while singing!  (Sight-reading means you've never seen the music before).  I was never able to sight-read music when I played clarinet during middle and high school, so this was a complete surprise to me!
  • Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important to You?
    • When I was a pre-teen, I began experiencing forms of bullying that lasted throughout high school and into college.  Many times, I was the only female in the group, or I had vastly different interests than the people that surrounded me.  From these events, I learned that it is extremely important to support others, especially those who might be different from you.  Also, never judge anyone based on their interests.  Keep an open mind, be an active listener, and help others when you can!
  • How Have your Experiences Shaped Your Career?
    • Although I have worked in many different libraries over the past 20 years, I have experienced the same three themes at each library: freedom of information, access to information, and being "open to all" (which are also the foundations of library science).  I believe these themes translate well to diversity and inclusivity, and they helped shape my education and career paths.  I was very lucky as an undergraduate student to study African-American history in the Jim Crow era of the United States (and I had an amazing group of advisors).  I learned to treat everyone fairly, to not judge or stereotype, and that differences can actually be strengths.
  • What Advice Do You Have Given Your Life Experiences?
    • Never give up, even if you feel like the whole world is against you.  Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself.  Don't let others define you or tell you how to be.  Every person is unique, and that is a great thing!
  • Describe How you Plan to Engage to Support the Council’s Mission:
    • I would like to utilize the National Weather Center Library as both a safe space and as a resource for diversity and inclusivity.  Also, I will make myself available as a resource for students, faculty, and staff that may need help.  Finally, I will strive to set an excellent example for others in the NWC by encouraging inclusion and promoting diversity.

  • Fun Fact About You:
    • I was born, raised, and educated in five different countries, but I consider myself monolingual (i.e., 50% proficiency in Japanese + 50% proficiency in English = 100%). 
  • Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important to You?
    • It is important for me to make sure that our university and college provide equal opportunities for everyone, which is tied to having diversity and inclusivity. I believe that different experiences and environments shape people to think differently and we can greatly learn from each other when we have open minds. I believe that novel ideas come out when those minds with different experiences and perspectives talk, listen, and think together.
  • How Have your Experiences Shaped Your Career?
    • My current career path was not something I had ever envisioned for myself as a child because I had never met a person in an academic career. I also thought I did not qualify to pursue such a career. Fortunately, I met great mentors throughout my education who had provided me with encouragement and opportunities. Even though I was unconfident and uncomfortable, being proactive about searching for opportunities and getting new experiences has helped my career (and I hope to continue doing so). 
  • What Advice Do You Have Given Your Life Experiences?
    • I think we can believe that diverse backgrounds are an advantage because you can provide new and diverse perspectives. Something that has "never been done before" does not mean that it "cannot be done". 
  • Describe How you Plan to Engage to Support the Council’s Mission:
    • I plan to discuss with other members of this council on ideas for eliminating implicit biases, creating inclusive environment in classes, and creating events and opportunities for us to share our experiences to improve the diversity and inclusivity of this college.

  • Fun Fact About You:
    • I have two big dogs, Stratus and Virga. They are my life and my love.
  • Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important to You?
    • As I continue experiencing life and the people I come across, I come to understand that brilliant  people are everywhere. To put it into perspective, scientific advancements and innovations can  only be achieved if someone out there ask the question to get the ball rolling. Even though I am a biracial woman, I am not diverse. Individuals cannot be diverse. However, a group of individuals can, and with them they have the ability to bring every single question they have,  specially when science continues to grow to be a collaborative and interdisciplinary process. And this collaborative process is a key component to not only my life personally, but is extremely  beneficial for all.
  • How Have your Experiences Shaped Your Career?
    • My experiences are the only thing to have shaped my path. Being optimistic is a crucial part to enjoying my path, and so far, it has been scenic. More recently, my desire for inclusivity has  helped, and others as well, outline how I want to poise myself as a professional, and a member of multiple communities.
  • What Advice Do You Have Given Your Life Experiences?
    • Connect with others!
  • Describe How you Plan to Engage to Support the Council’s Mission:
    • Since I am an undergraduate, I can be very interactive with a lot of the undergraduates who cycle through our program. This allows me to get their opinions and recommendations for how the Council's mission can work for them, as an individual and as a member of our community. Naturally, I’ll represent what the Council's mission is about in all situations, as well as being  active in its outreach.

  • Fun Fact About You:
    • I study economics and GIS but have articles published in art and arachnology journals. 
  • Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important to You?
    • As a gay Hispanic woman, inclusion is a top priority. Not only is inclusion a basic gesture of respect, but also diversity enriches a community and improves problem solving. Every individual should feel welcome in the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences and OU at large.
  • How Have your Experiences Shaped Your Career?
    • Adversity, while unpleasant, can act as a springboard for success. The sum of my experiences – good and bad – have shaped me into the independent, intuitive intellect I am today.
  • What Advice Do You Have Given Your Life Experiences?
    • Diverse individuals should reflect on their personal priorities and aspirations and then work towards achieving them. Don't let stereotypes act as obstacles – your identity does not shape who you "should" be or what you "should" do.  
  • Describe How you Plan to Engage to Support the Council’s Mission:
    • I plan to (and have been) spreading diversity and inclusivity by representing minority communities on campus. Each of my successes – a leadership role, a scholarship, an award – challenges stereotypes and perpetuates much-needed visibility.

  • Kat Gebauer, SOM
  • Pam Heinselman, NSSL
  • Greg McFarquhar, CIMMS
  • Elizabeth Smith, CIMMS

NWC Protocol

The National Weather Center (“NWC”), including its academic and research units, are committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all students, employees, and participants in their day-to-day work as well as in any conference, workshop, field project, or project hosted or managed by the NWC no matter what role they play or their background. The NWC prohibits discrimination and/or harassment of anyone regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, age, religion, disability, political beliefs, or status as a veteran, as well as any other characteristics protected under state or federal law. We expect all students, employees, and participants (including those not directly affiliated with OU/NWC partners) are expected to abide by the NWC Protocol when operating in the NWC or during any NWC-related event. This Protocol is a compilation of relevant University policies assembled for convenience and this Protocol does not supersede or modify any existing OU or NWC partner policies.

Resources

Gender Bias in STEM

OU's Office of Diversity and Inclusion

OU's Bias Response Committee

500 Queer Scientists

500 Women Scientists

Organizing Inclusion Science Meetings

Hard Questions, Honest Answers

Social Mobility Comes at a Cost

CIMMS Diversity and Inclusion Committee

UCAR Diversity + Inclusion

Geoscience Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity

Empowering Geoscientists to Transform Workplace Climate