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Diversity & Inclusion Advocacy Recognition: Reflections from the 2019 Winners

Jay Mathews, University of Dayton, Ohio, USA and Alexandra Artusio-Glimpse, NIST

The Diversity & Inclusion Advocacy Recognition was created to acknowledge an individual and company, university, agency or organization that is working to foster greater appreciation, advancement and celebration of diversity and inclusion in the optics and photonics community.

To apply or submit a nomination, fill out the application/nomination portal before the deadline of 13 July.

In their own words, the 2019 winners reflected on why and how they make diversity and inclusion a priority – you can also learn more about their work here.

Jay Mathews, University of Dayton

I was awarded the 2019 OSA Diversity & Inclusion Advocacy Recognition, which was a great honor, and I am so thankful for the recognition. The real prize, however, has been the promotion and highlighting of my efforts, which have led to a dramatic increase in support from my institution. It has also led to new speaking opportunities, which have given me a chance to attend workshops on mentoring and training of underrepresented minorities, as well as the opportunity to interact with and learn more from my colleagues.

The Recognition also included some funding to help boost my advocacy efforts, which I am using to expand my summer research experience for undergraduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) or Hispanic-serving institutions.

Recognizing someone for their efforts in diversity and inclusion is not just about thanking that person. It is also about identifying, promoting, and enhancing successful efforts to make the world of optics and photonics a better place. If you know someone who has devoted time and effort to promoting inclusivity in optics, please recommend them for this prize. Help us highlight the wonderful contributions from our colleagues to help build a better optics community.

U.S. National institute of Standards & Technology

A National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) core value is the establishment of an inclusive environment where collaborative work harnesses diverse people and ideas leading to the best solution possible to multidisciplinary challenges. This requires a space where people feel they can openly share their ideas and opinions and where their voices will be heard by others.

But, this level of inclusion and equity is not experienced by all minority groups at NIST, which is why a current and on-going collection of parallel efforts are working to study these inequities, identify causes, research and understand what other federal laboratories are doing to promote equity, and come up with actionable recommendations that will nurture the inclusive environment at the core of NIST values. 

Winning the Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Recognition brought attention to the early efforts taken on by the Steering Group for Equity in Career Advancement at NIST such that, now, staff, associates, and partners of NIST are active supporters of these efforts and new ones. The Recognition came just in time to ask for the involvement of staff in a set of studies that have included surveys and interviews and intensified people's engagement. A specific notable achievement of our organization has been the active support from all levels of the organizational structure meaning greater resources have been made available towards inclusion and diversity efforts. For example, in the last 6 months, NIST commissioned an outside study of our organization to examine the sources of apparent inequities in the career advancement of women and minority STEM workers. The data of this study and recommendations from the contracted group are expected to provide invaluable guidance on how NIST can make improvements to the work environment for women and minorities.


Learn more about the Diversity & Inclusion Advocacy Recognition and apply or nominate someone today!


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