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2 women stand under a tree in courtyard on sunny day and smile
Left to right, Alma Robinson and Meryl Mims.

Inaugural Fellowship Program

College of Science announces inaugural recipients of Inclusion and Diversity Fellowship Program

The College of Science earlier this year awarded two faculty members with its first-ever Inclusion and Diversity Fellowships. These awards are designed to advancing inclusivity and diversity among students, faculty, and staff in the college.

Alma Robinson, teacher in residence in the Department of Physics, and Meryl Mims, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, will work with College of Science Director of Inclusion and Diversity Estrella Johnson to increase diversity, improve the climate at Virginia Tech for diverse groups, and educate the scientific community to better respect and appreciate contributions from diverse groups of scholars and researchers.

Johnson said efforts by the Fellowship recipients has demonstrated in their day-to-day work as examples of the importance of an inclusive mindset and environment.

“Alma and Meryl have already built track records of creating an environment in which students from diverse groups feel respected, valued, and supported,” said Johnson, an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics. “With these fellowships, we will be tapping into their expertise in advancing diversity so we can extend their ideas and efforts throughout the College of Science.”

Robinson is spending her fellowship developing curricula that College of Science First-Year Experience faculty could easily implement in their classrooms to talk about race, gender, and LGBTQ+ representation issues with their students. She previously hosted a workshop on this topic with other First-Year Experience instructors.

Two years ago Mims launched a biology workshop program to support students applying for the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Mims is spending her fellowship expanding this program across the college with special focus and emphasis on mentoring and supporting students from traditionally underrepresented and underserved populations.