Director of Community Engagement and Inclusive PracticesUC Berkeley College of Engineering
Fatima Alleyne, Ph.D., is the director of Community Engagement and Inclusive Practices in the College of Engineering (COE) at UC Berkeley. She brings her passion and love for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and education into her work to develop programs that promote equity; foster a positive, inclusive culture; and increase access and opportunities to those who have historically been underrepresented in STEM. She also led a strategic planning process to guide programs and priorities to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the College. A core component of her work, Fatima engages diverse members of our campus community on the topic of DEI. Her work has been lauded by UC Berkeley’s chancellor with recognition as a Chancellor's Outstanding Staff Award recipient as well as Advising and Student Services as an Equity Champion Award recipient in 2022.
Prior to this role, Fatima started her own consulting business and served as the director of COE faculty engagement, consultant for the Center for Restorative Solutions, research general engineer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and education and outreach coordinator at an NSF-funded research center and research specialist, both at UC Berkeley. Her commitment and passion for STEM education has led to her service on a range of committees on campus and in her community, including the development of STEM programs in K-12 schools. Fatima earned her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in materials science and engineering from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in chemistry from City University of New York, Hunter College.
Session Title:Creating a Lab Culture that Aligns with and Perpetuates Your Values
Assistant Dean & Director
Center for Engineering Education and Diversity (CEED)
Georgia Tech College of Engineering
Dr. Benton-Johnson is an assistant dean in the College of Engineering at the Georgia Tech. She is a national, leading practitioner in developing and implementing, and enhancing diversity and inclusion collaborations and programs that broaden participation in STEM fields. Her areas of expertise are development, implementation, and evaluation of practical strategies in the areas of cultivating an inclusive organizational culture, broadening participation in STEM fields at the undergraduate, graduate, post-doc, and faculty levels, fostering impactful collaborations with minority serving institutions, as well as establishing successful transfer articulation agreements that expand access to post-secondary engineering education. At Georgia Tech, she is the founding director of the CEED where she created successful programs focused on outreach, recruitment and retention of URMs and non-traditional students in STEM.
She oversees pre-collegiate development, recruitment, transfer programs and diversity initiatives as they relate to attracting, empowering, and retaining diverse students, faculty, and staff in engineering and technology. She collaborates with a variety of constituencies across the nation, such as, national, federal, local organizations, as well as with corporate entities, universities, and research centers to foster a culture of inclusion. She is responsible for all undergraduate engineering transfer programs, provides guidance to students to assist them with their academic, social, and professional success, and works with development directors to secure funding for the College. Moreover, she is responsible for the management of four institutional programs–RUA- AGEP @ GT, National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc. (GEM) and the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (PSLSAMP). Since 2016 she has been a Co-PI or PI where she has secured over $10,000,000 from the NSF. She has received awards at the National and Institutional level for her contributions to broadening participation in STEM fields.
She received the Mentor of the Year Award, Vice President for Institute Diversity, Georgia Tech, 2015. In 2016, CEED received the Recruitment Program Award from the National Advocates for Minority Engineering Program Administrators (NAMEPA). Additionally, CEED was recognized by Georgia Tech for its commitment to diversity in 2017 when receiving the Diversity Champion Unit Award. She serves as Vice Chair for the Executive Board of Directors for the National GEM Consortium, servers on the National Materials and Manufacturing Board on Mathematical Sciences and Analytics National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and a member of the 50K Coalition Community Linkages Committee, of the National Society of Black Engineers, American Society of Engineering Education, and Women in Engineering Proactive Network.
Session Title:A Courageous Call: Allyship is a Journey
Director of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and OutreachNorthwestern University Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing Communications
Robert Brown (he, him, his) serves as the inaugural Director of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Outreach in the Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, where he works alongside students, faculty, and staff to reimagine pedagogy, policy, and programs. Previously, he served as the inaugural Director of Social Justice Education at Northwestern, where he led several curricular and co-curricular institutional social justice education initiatives. He also provides organizational development consultation and training with a focus on social justice, leadership, and organizational change. His work centers on dismantling systems of oppression through critical dialogue and reflection intertwined with theoretical concepts. Prior to joining Northwestern, Rob held professional roles in Residence Life and Multicultural Affairs at Washington University in St. Louis and University of Wisconsin –Madison.
Robert has presented and facilitated regionally and nationally on topics related to social justice education, racial justice, inclusive pedagogy, identity-conscious supervision, assessment & evaluation, college men & masculinities, and civic engagement. Rob is an alumnus of the Social Justice Training Institute (SJTI), a past faculty and intern with SJTI, Lead Facilitator with LeaderShape, and has held leadership roles in NASPA and ACPA. Robert holds a BS in Finance and Community Service Studies from DePaul University, MA in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University, and is currently pursuing his PhD in Higher Education Leadership at Colorado State University. He was honored to receive the 2020 DePaul University Distinguished Alumni Award for his commitment to the Vincentian mission through his leadership on equity and social justice issues. Robert’s research interests explore topics related to equity and inclusion in higher education; faculty development and critical pedagogy; and identity-conscious supervision and management. Most recently, he co-authored Identity-Conscious Supervision in Student Affairs: Building Relationship & Transforming Institutions, which was published by RoutledgeHe is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and enjoys traveling, golfing, binge watching TV shows, cooking, watching sports, and spending time with his wife, son, and friends and family around Chicago! Rob works diligently to bring his professional experiences, research interests, and passion for social justice to life through his work as a social justice educator always seeking to create space for community building, healing, and liberation.
Communication for Identity-Conscious Mentoring
Distinguished Professor of Engineering
The Ohio State University College of Engineering
Speaker Bio:Monica F. Cox, Ph.D., is a disruptor, trailblazer, change agent, and leader who believes in living an authentic life even if it makes people uncomfortable. She grew up an only child in rural southeast Alabama, where she was raised by her educator parents to persist in the face of personal and professional adversity. As an authenticity coach, she guides clients in areas of career development; business strategy; and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
She is a Distinguished Professor of Engineering at The Ohio State University and is a 2020 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Fellow. She holds degrees in Mathematics (B.S., Spelman College), Industrial Engineering (M.S., University of Alabama), and Leadership and Policy Studies (Ph.D., Peabody College at Vanderbilt University, 2005). She began her academic career in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University, where she earned a Presidential Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), becoming the first African American woman to earn tenure in Purdue’s College of Engineering.
From 2016 to 2020, she served as the Inaugural Chair in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. She is the Founder and CEO of STEMinent LLC, which houses educational assessment, professional development, and media offerings. Her research focuses on the use of mixed methodologies to explore questions across the education continuum, particularly why engineering women faculty persist. Dr. Cox has led and collaborated on multidisciplinary projects totaling approximately $16 million and has authored over 130 publications.
Session Title:Alone in a Crowded Room: What I Wish I’d Known Before Entering Academia as a Black Woman
Scott K. Cushing
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Caltech Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Scott Cushing is an Assistant Professor at Caltech with a multidisciplinary background spanning Chemistry, Materials Science, and Physics. His research focuses on the creation of new scientific instrumentation that can translate quantum phenomena to practical devices and applications. The Cushing lab is currently pioneering the use of attosecond x-ray, time-resolved TEM-EELS, and ultrafast beams of entangled photons for a range of microscopy and spectroscopy applications. Scott has been awarded DOE, AFOSR, Rose Hill, Cottrell, and ACS related Early Career awards. Scott has published over 50 papers, including 10 since being at Caltech, that have been cited over 8,00 times with an h-index of >30. Scott holds multiple patents, some of which led to a solar energy company.
Session Title:Navigating the Seas of your Career
Senior Associate Dean, Fellowships and Graduate Affairs at The Graduate School
William Shive Centennial Professor in Biochemistry
University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Hackert currently serves as the Shive Professor of Biochemistry and a Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate School at UT-Austin where he oversees the graduate student fellowship and works with graduate affairs. Hackert received his B.A. in Chemistry from Central College and his Ph.D. from Iowa State University. After completing an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at Purdue University, he joined the faculty at UT-Austin in the Chemistry Department in the 1970’s where he later served as Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Chair of the Graduate Assembly, Chair of the Faculty Council, and since 2005 as Associate Dean in the Graduate School. Related to his research interests in structural biology, he has served as Chair of the US National Committee for Crystallography, the American Crystallographic Association, and the International Union of Crystallography. Dean Hackert represented UT-Austin in the former California AGEP Alliance and serves as the PI for UT-Austin’s participation in the RUA AGEP award.
Session Title:Advancing Faculty Hiring Practices: Recent Working Group Findings
STEM Communication Specialist & Lecturer
Caltech Division of Engineering and Applied Science
Dr. Robyn Javier is a STEM Communication Specialist & Lecturer in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech. Her background includes a PhD in Neuroscience, an MS in Biomedical Engineering, and more than 15 years of technical communication experience in both academia and industry.
Pre-Conference Session Title:The Art of Talking Science
Associate Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Training & Development for Biomedical Graduate Education
Georgetown University Medical Center
Caleb C. McKinney, Ph.D., M.P.S. is an associate professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and associate dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Training & Development for Biomedical Graduate Education (BGE) at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC). He is committed to advocacy and career formation of graduate students, and postdoctoral and clinical research fellows. Dr. McKinney is also a principal investigator and co-director of the NIH/NIGMS-funded Georgetown University Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD), a predoctoral T32 training program that provides interprofessional and interdisciplinary training and student development activities focused on enhancing biomedical workforce diversity. Moreover, as a GUMC co-investigator for the NIH-funded Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Consortium to Advance Health Equity and Researcher Diversity (AIM-AHEAD) Data Science Training Core, he designs programs for academic and community stakeholders to build workforce development initiatives that curate a pipeline of diverse individuals into data science research focused on mitigating health disparities. Dr. McKinney is also Treasurer and chair of Finance for the Board of Directors of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA), having previously served as a diversity officer and board liaison for Diversity Affairs for the NPA. Dr. McKinney graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Applied Economics and Management. He then completed his PhD in microbiology from New York University, a Master’s in Professional Studies in Design Management and Communications at Georgetown University, and the Harvard Macy Program for Educators in the Health Professions.
Session Title:Strategic Service in Service of Your Career
Chukwuebuka (Buka) C. Nweke
Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Southern California Viterbi College of Engineering
Dr. Nweke is a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering. He directs the N.E.S.T. Research Group where his research is focused on solving problems at the intersection of geotechnical engineering, earthquake engineering, seismology, and geomorphology. Prof. Nweke earned his Ph.D. and M.S in Civil (Geotechnical) and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and his B.S in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Davis. After completion of his graduate studies, Professor Nweke was a CA Alliance NSF-AGEP Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to his current position, he was a practicing engineering consultant for ENGEO, a geotechnical and environmental engineering firm.
Session Title:Navigating the Seas of your Career
Sumun (Sumi) Pendakur
DEI Strategist & Consultant
Research University Alliance External Advisory Board Member
Dr. Pendakur is a scholar-practitioner, an activist-educator, a skilled facilitator, and a mom. With nearly 20 years in the field of higher education and a decade as a DEI speaker and trainer, Sumi's work and research focuses on helping organizations build capacity for social justice and racial equity by empowering individuals at all levels to be transformational agents of change in their spheres of influence. Most recently, Sumi was the Chief Learning Officer at the USC Race and Equity Center, dedicated to advancing scalable racial justice in higher education and other sectors. Prior to that position, Sumi held roles as the Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Harvey Mudd College, serving on the President’s Cabinet and directing the Office of Institutional Diversity, and as the Director for USC Asian Pacific American Student Services. Sumi served for multiple years as a Faculty Coach for the AAC&U’s TIDES (Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM) Institute and is currently on the external advisory board for the NSF AGEP Research University Alliance. Sumi just wrapped a 6-year term on the Board of Directors for NADOHE, the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. Pendakur is a graduate of Northwestern University with a double major in Women’s Studies and History and a Minor in Spanish. She holds an M.A. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Michigan. She received her doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from the USC Rossier School of Education. In 2019, she was named one of the top 35 women in higher education by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine. Sumi is the multilingual daughter of immigrants, was raised in the Midwest, and now calls Los Angeles her home.
Keynote Session Title:Only the Lonely?: Finding Community through Common Cause
Breakout Session Title:The Author of Your Own Life: Shattering Narratives
Mark J. T. Smith
Dean of the Graduate School & Senior Vice Provost for Academic AffairsProfessor
The Graduate School at The University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Smith received the B.S. degree from MIT and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology, all in electrical engineering. He joined the electrical and computer engineering (ECE) faculty at Georgia Tech in 1985, where he remained for the next 18 years. In January, 2003, he joined the faculty at Purdue University as Head of the School of ECE, and in 2009 became Dean of the Purdue University Graduate School. While at Purdue, he served as PI of the (Purdue, Northwestern, Indiana University) Midwest Crossroads AGEP Alliance, PI of the Big Ten Academic Alliance AGEP “Professorial Advancement Initiative,” co-PI on Purdue’s American Indian Graduate Program funded by the Sloan Foundation, and served as a member of Purdue’s NSF funded ADVANCE program leadership team, as well as overseeing the Purdue LSAMP program.
Currently he is Senior Vice Provost of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School. He serves as the UT Co-PI on the NSF AGEP Research University Alliance and is a member of the Advisory Board for the Texas A&M System Research Model-AGEP Alliance.
He served as chair of the ETS GRE Board for the last two years and is now a member of the ETS Graduate Education Advisory Committee. He has also served as an officer and Board Chair of the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and president of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association.
Session Title:Advancing Faculty Hiring Practices: Recent Working Group Findings
Tara J. Yosso
University of California, Riverside Graduate School of Education
Tara J. Yosso examines access to educational opportunities for Students of Color at critical transition points in their schooling trajectories (e.g. high school to community college, baccalaureate to doctorate). Her research seeks to recover counternarratives of race, schooling, inequality, and the law. Her extensively cited publications examine the ways People of Color utilize community cultural wealth to survive and resist racism and other forms of subordination. She is a first generation college student and is now a Professor in the School of Education at the University of California Riverside.
Session Title:Carving Our Way Forward in Academia: Community Cultural Wealth & The Long Struggle for Justice