Diversity and Inclusion in Academia
Below is a description of some of my previous work experience promoting diversity and inclusion in higher education.
I have years of experience in working to bridge the gap between underrepresented students and the tools needed to succeed in higher education.
My experience in this field began in 2008 as an undergraduate intern for Dr. Rosanna Reyes, Assistant Director for the Office of Learning Communities and the Office of Multicultural Engagement, in the Rutgers University Office of Academic Engagement and Programming. In this capacity, I advised organizations for students of color and assisted with annual programming such as the Women of Color Initiatives (WoCI), Men of Color Initiatives (MoCI), and the Bridging the Gap Diversity & Social Justice Retreat. These are annual programs intended to provide undergraduate students of various backgrounds with the opportunities to find mentors, have critical conversations with peers of diverse backgrounds, and engage with resources to help them succeed in higher education and beyond. Both the Women and Men of Color Initiatives included annual Faculty, Staff, and Student "Meet & Greet" Dinners, Undergraduate Symposiums, and weekend Retreats, among additional events. These were spear-headed by committees comprised of dedicated students and staff members from various departments, that met weekly with myself and Dr. Reyes to plan out all of the details of these events. Committee members incorporated ideas that they learned at other events, trainings, classes, etc. and made them their own. As a committee, we also created and brought our own unique brand of ideas to fruition at these events. In my time as a committee member I created and led workshops on topics such as intersectionality, race & class inequality, body image, heteronormativity, homophobia, and gender identity. I also created and facilitated workshops on self-reflection and spirituality to help students process what they were learning and experiencing.
As a graduate student, I continued my work with WoCI, MoCI, and the Bridging the Gap Retreat by serving as a committee member, organizer, and workshop-leader for all three initiatives. I have continued to incorporate my training in this position into my work in other capacities by organizing and leading diversity trainings and workshops on campus for departments such as the First-Year Interest Group Seminars, Douglass Residential College, the Rutgers University Cultural Centers, and the Center for American Women and Politics, among others. I have also continued to participate in on-campus diversity trainings in order to stay up-to-date with diversity and inclusion approaches to higher education. In addition, I have completed and led extended service learning trips for undergraduate students in locations such as New Orleans, LA in the United States and the Dominican Republic.