Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Community
The MEMS DEIC committee meets twice a month to discuss issues and actions needed at the departmental level to make MEMS a more inclusive and diverse place for faculty, staff and students.
This committee, in turn, reports to a similar DEIC Committee at the Pratt School of Engineering level to draw out a list of action items and work upon them throughout the year. The MEMS DEIC, listed below, comprises faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate student representatives.
MEMS DEIC Committee Members
Please reach out any one listed below with your ideas, comments, suggestions. You can also let them know you'd like to work on a project!
"I want to help our department be the best it can be by fostering an inclusive and equitable community where everyone's diverse skills, knowledge and contributions are valued. I believe this can help us all do our best work, while maximizing our personal happiness and fulfillment."
Assistant Chair & Professor of the Practice
"Talent is distributed equally across people and communities, but opportunity is not. I want to continue the STEM outreach work I've been involved in for most of my academic career and help broaden participation of underserved groups in engineering. I'm excited to develop programs that immerse students from different backgrounds in the same space, allowing us to celebrate our differences as we identify and try to solve important social problems using engineering skills. Better engineering is a result of a more diverse team."
Becky Simmons, Chair
Associate Professor of the Practice
Subcommittees: Outreach, Mentorship
"Undergraduate mindset, health & wellness, and growth is very important to me. It is essential that we create a space and experiences where students feel supported, safe, welcomed and have the confidence to work towards their best selves. I want students to feel proud of the different experiences, points of reference and diversity they provide and seek out in others diversity of thought, living and being."
"I felt that I can contribute to creating an inclusive environment in the department, particularly by addressing issues of equity, by helping to bring resources to the committee due to my experience with the Teaching for Equity Fellows program. The DEIC Committee in MEMS provides a learning experience to stay informed and to learn more about DEIC in the academic environment, as well as in the community."
"I wanted to be a member of the committee because how our department feels is just as important, if not more so, as what our department does. DEIC initiatives create opportunities for all community members to feel valued and focus on building relationships across many types of demographics (race, gender identity, job class, etc.). A diverse work environment can also improve recruitment and employee engagement, leading to reductions in turnover."
Senior Lab Administrator
"I joined the MEMS DEIC Committee to share my experience at Duke in hopes to increase representation of Latino students. I want to help make Duke a more friendly and welcoming environment for all communities."
"Being on DEIC is important to me because not only do I want to learn what events have led to the lack of diversity in my field but also be a part of changing departmental structure and policies contributing to these barriers."
“My goal being on the DEIC committee is to help advance racial justice and equity and to build a diverse MEMS community consisting of students, faculty and staff from various backgrounds and cultures who, in turn, can contribute to the betterment of the field and society.”
"One of the things that most surprised me when I arrived at Duke was the university's awareness regarding building a more inclusive and supportive community. As a member of the MEMS DEIC Committee, I want to take part in this process and work closely with the Pratt School of Engineering members to implement the benefits that an inclusive, multicultural and diverse group can provide for its members, both personally and professionally. "
Mechanical Engineering Major, Junior
"DEIC efforts are important to me because I want to help create tangible and long-lasting changes that benefit all members of our community, providing everyone with equal opportunity and access."
Mechanical Engineering Major, Sophomore
"My interest in joining the MEMS DEIC Committee stemmed originally from my respect for Dr. Rebecca Simmons, the person who advocated for the group via email. I found that the Committee's mission to support all MEMS students, regardless of backgrounds or identity expressions, is one that matches my interest in promoting inclusivity within the groups of which I am a part, especially a historically homogeneous field like engineering. I look forward to the conversations that will surely follow with like-minded individuals who also bring varying perspectives to the table."
Mechanical Engineering Major, Sophomore
"Being a member of DEIC is my first real experience as part of a DEI initiative or as a student representative. DEI has always been important to me, especially with my own experiences as a minority woman in STEM, so I'm really looking forward to being in MEMS DEIC with other like-minded engineers to be able to make a difference for the MEMS community."
Mechanical Engineering Major, Senior
"The DEIC committee is important to me because it is an excellent opportunity to make a tangible impact on a community I care about in a subject matter that is deeply meaningful to everyone at Duke."
Student Affinity Groups
National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
Its mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.
National organization: nsbe.org
- President: Akylah Cox, email@example.com
Advisor: Dr. Adrienne Stiff-Roberts, firstname.lastname@example.org
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)
Its mission is to change lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development.
National organization: shpe.org
President: Javier Franco, email@example.com
Advisor: Dr. Sophia Santillan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
Its mission is to empower women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering and technology professions as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity and inclusion.
National organization: swe.org
Facebook page: facebook.com/DukeSWEeties
Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Simmons, email@example.com
Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering & Science (FEMMES)
- Website: sites.duke.edu/femmes
- Program Director: Megan Phibbons, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Advisor: Dr. Heileen Hsu-Kim, email@example.com
Girls Engineering Change
- National organization: girlsengineeringchange.org
- Duke chapter: facebook.com/DukeGEC
- Advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Bucholtz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Runway of Dreams at Duke
- Associated nonprofit: https://www.runwayofdreams.org/
- Student leaders:
- Faculty advisor: Dr. Rebecca Simmons, email@example.com
We're Having a Conversation ...
Community Connections: Resilience During COVID
9:00-11:00 a.m. ET, Tuesday, Sept. 21 | Virtual
The year 2020 caused many of us to rethink much about life in general. Not only were we globally dealing with a pandemic, but the murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed exposed structural inequalities and the need for social justice for all. Some questions for many at this moment were "What can I do to make a difference? How do I get started?" Learning more about others by listening to their stories can be instrumental in moving one foot forward in this direction. If you are looking for a way to get started in making this difference, we invite you to take part in our Community Conversations event where we will use Story Circles to build community within the Pratt School of Engineering. You will get to know others whose stories may be quite different from yours and get a chance to share yours.
We're Listening To ...
"Space and Grace: Mitigating Bias as Spartans Return to Campus"
Anytime | Podcast
“A diverse panel of members of the Michigan State academic community offers stimulating discussion on topics such as the relationship between DEI and COVID-19, mental health and wellness, xenophobia and the return to in-person classes. It provokes thoughts on the impact that cultural and ethnic background have on the reactions to masking and vaccinating, the politicization of the pandemic, how to support the Asian and Asian-American community, and how to promote DEI. I think it’s a relatable discussion for members of the Duke community returning to school, and an excellent listen/read to spark conversation on how to improve our school.” —Eli Vail, MEMS DEIC Committee Member
We're Reading ...
Undergraduate Book Club
Treating People Well: How to Master Social Skills and Thrive in Everything You Do, by Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard
4:00-5:00 p.m. ET, Sunday, Sept. 18 | Duke Garden's Fisher Amphitheater Area
Undergraduates: Bring a friend, even a non-ME friend, if you'd like!
Former White House social secretaries Lea Berman, who worked for Laura and George Bush, and Jeremy Bernard, who worked for Michelle and Barack Obama, have learned valuable lessons about how to work with people from different walks of life. In Treating People Well, they share tips and advice from their own moments with celebrities, foreign leaders, and that most unpredictable of animals—the American politician.
Join us in-person (at H4 on this map) »
Book Club for Everyone
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson
4:00-5:00 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Oct. 6 | Virtual
Isabel Wilkerson provides a portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.
We're Piloting ...
As the home for Aerodynamics and Aeroelasticity studies and research, it’s natural that Karis Boyd-Sinkler, Duke Engineering’s Director of Diversity, would call on the MEMS Department to pilot and provide future school-wide DEIC programming. We are proud to help take Pratt School of Engineering DEIC programming to new heights!
"Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another."
Desmond Tutu | "No Future Without Forgiveness" (2000)