Skip Navigation

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Skip Side Navigation

A&GS Diversity and Inclusivity Council

 


 

AGS DEI Commitment. People stand in a circle and hold their hands together.

Dear A&GS Students,

We ask all of you to read the following statement in which we express our strong and unequivocal commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and we hope you share our vision to work towards an inclusive community in the college where all students can flourish and succeed.

AGS Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Statement (pdf)

 


 

Our 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.

Attendees enjoy a delicious meal at the annual A&GS Multicultural Fest. Handmade dishes from all over the world were shared by our students, faculty, staff, and friends.
Attendees enjoy a delicious meal at the annual A&GS Multicultural Fest. Handmade dishes from all over the world were shared by our students, faculty, staff, and friends.

 


 

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

Dr. Jacob Carlin
  • 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. 
Dr. Scott Greene
  • 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.
Shelby Hill
  • 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.
Ariel Jacobs
  • Fun Fact About You:
    • I am a cat mom to Prince! He is a 2.5-year-old tabby.
  • Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important to You?
    • As a woman with disabilities, I strongly believe the scientific community must be proficient at including and accommodating underrepresented individuals.  By including people of different backgrounds in the scientific community, science gains determined, hardworking individuals who strive for excellence in research.
  • How Have your Experiences Shaped Your Career?
    • Due to my disabilities, I struggled throughout my first two years at OU. The support I have received from peers and mentors, especially when I was struggling the most, gave me the strength and encouragement to continue to pursue my goal of becoming a meteorologist. Overcoming my own challenges has instilled in me the value of supporting underrepresented students and advancing equity in the workplace.
  • What Advice Do You Have Given Your Life Experiences?
    • My advice is to ask questions and do not be afraid to stand up for yourself. Asking for help can be daunting sometimes but receiving the help you need is vital to success. Also, if you need help navigating the ADRC accommodation process, please let me know.
  • Describe How you Plan to Engage to Support the Council’s Mission:
    • As a part of the AGS DEI council, I plan to support the mission by being an advocate for people with disabilities, supporting and encouraging people of all backgrounds, and listening to others’ experiences.

 

Dean Petra Klein
  • 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. 

 

Dr. Daphne LaDue
  • 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.
Dr. Elinor Martin
  • 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.
Dr. Renee McPherson
  • 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.
Elisa Murillo
  • 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.
Brandon Nguyen
  • Fun Fact About You:
    • I own and tolerate three loud chihuahuas at home.
  • Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important to You?
    • Creating and maintaining a setting that is inclusive, diverse, and comfortable for all individuals of different backgrounds and identities is important in furthering positive change not only in society, but academia. By having these different perspectives, new ideas open up new pathways of thinking and innovation. Collaborative efforts from new and different perspectives bear fruit to imaginative solutions.
  • How Have your Experiences Shaped Your Career?
    • After moving from San Jose, California to Oklahoma when I was 7 years old, I was presented with the reality that I was the only child of Asian descent in my grade. Growing up here, it seemed that my main identity to the other children was that I was "Asian". This hammered-home the feeling that I was the "other" and not "one of them". But as the years went by, as we all came to know and understand each other, the mindset changed from seeing someone based on the color of their skin, to who they are as individuals. Every person is unique and every person has unique backgrounds. This is an important mindset that I abide by and I look to spread amongst peers, friends, and other individuals.
  • What Advice Do You Have Given Your Life Experiences?
    • From my experience, as I have said above, it is important to not judge people by labels, but by who they are and where they come from. So the crux of my advice is: Be open-minded! It is good to understand other individuals and their unique experiences.
  • Describe How you Plan to Engage to Support the Council’s Mission:
    • As an undergraduate, I will represent the important values of being inclusive and welcoming for my peers to look towards. By representing diversity and inclusion in everyday life, I hope to spread the message and support the Council's Mission.
Christine Reed
  • 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.
Dr. Naoko Sakaeda
  • 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.
Jay Wimhurst
  • Fun Fact About You:
    • Outside of my life at OU, I regularly perform as a drag entertainer across Oklahoma. I host my own drag shows, I co-host Norman's Fabulous Drag Queen Story Time, and I am the current reigning Miss Gay Oklahoma City USofA Newcomer.
  • Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important to You?
    • When I was in high school, our Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator once said to me: "I can learn everything there is to know about being on the autism spectrum, but I will never truly understand what it feels like to be on the spectrum myself." I consider this to be true of any experience as a social minority. When one does not live the day-to-day experiences of a person of color, or a queer person, or a disabled person, one is incapable of fully understanding the difficulties that such identities can present, but one can still learn about them. It is for that reason that diversity and inclusion is so important to me - to create discussions and make available resources for people to understand oppression and be effective allies, and to give people in social minority groups equal opportunity to provide their perspectives on key issues, perspectives that someone else most likely will not have.
  • How Have your Experiences Shaped Your Career?
    • I have always tried to make a conscious effort to immerse myself in communities and around people whose life experiences are different than my own, both in my personal and professional life. Learning about what the world is like through another person's eyes often provides much-needed context for oneself, which certainly was a motivating factor for me in pursuing a PhD in Geography. I wanted to learn more about how people interact with science and the world around us, which has led to many edifying in-class discussions and pursuit of a dissertation topic that values both physical and human concerns for wind turbine site suitability.
  • What Advice Do You Have Given Your Life Experiences?
    • One word: listen. The worst thing that people can do when they are curious about why diversity and inclusion matters is to not listen. We are living at a time with an infinite amount of information to access at our fingertips, and with that access comes no excuse for any of us to not educate and better ourselves beyond our preconceived notions. Confirmation bias is a dangerous thing - it creates a skewed perspective of what the world is really like, and also limits our capacity for empathy, for innovation, and for confronting systemic issues. Admitting that one doesn't understand or is wrong about an issue can be humbling, but listening to others is ultimately the first step in confronting oneself and assisting in the construction of truly diverse and inclusive environments.
  • Describe How you Plan to Engage to Support the Council’s Mission:
    • My personal objective whilst on the council is to serve as an example of good allyship. My recent experiences with diversity and inclusion discourse have shown me that being an ally is a full-time job. It doesn't end when clocking out of the office or returning to the car when the protests are over. There will always be implicit biases in one's own mind to overcome, and the systemic nature of most forms of discrimination means that they influence almost every facet of our daily interactions. Reconciling and challenging my own implicit biases, whether about race, class, or disability, is something I have always done and will continue to do for the rest of my life. Practicing this deconstruction and helping other people to do the same is what good allyship, and the mission of the Diversity and Inclusivity Council, is all about.

  • Kat Gebauer, SoM
  • Pam Heinselman, NSSL
  • Greg McFarquhar, CIMMS
  • Cassandra Shivers-Williams, CIMMS
  • Elizabeth Smith, NSSL