Statler college announces 2023 Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion award recipients
Pedro Mago, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University, and the Statler College Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, announced the recipients of the College’s Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award. The awards were distributed to the recipients in conjunction with WVU’s annual Diversity Week celebration.
Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
One faculty member and one student organization were selected for the award in recognition of their dedication to incorporating the ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion into their work and societal footprint. The individual and group were nominated by their peers in the Statler College as well as by other entities at West Virginia University for their broader impact and outreach activities and chosen by the Statler College DEI Committee.
Brian Powell, teaching assistant professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering received the award for promoting a campus environment that is welcoming, supportive and nurturing for everyone.
Powell regularly works with students and serves as a faculty advisor for oSTEM: Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics — an organization for LGBTQ students and allies in STEM fields. oSTEM regularly holds meetings with both social, community-building focuses along with professional development purposes.
To enhance students' networking opportunities and provide them with valuable insights into potential career paths and graduate school options, Powell led the organized group to oSTEM’s 2019 National Convention. Presently, Powell is actively organizing another group to attend the upcoming 2023 convention later this year.
“One of the things that I enjoy the most about working at WVU is the ability to collaborate with and learn from faculty, staff and students from a variety of cultures and backgrounds,” Powell explained. “I became involved in Statler College’s DEI efforts because I wanted to give back by helping to make sure every Mountaineer feels they are welcome and included in our community.”
As the DEI representative of the Lane Department, Powell has been involved in a variety of efforts to raise awareness of diversity and inclusion efforts within Statler College. He is a strong advocate for WVU’s Safe Zone program, and he has dedicated his efforts to encouraging fellow faculty, staff and students to combat bias and discrimination and foster a more inclusive environment at WVU.
The Muslim Students Organization has received several nominations for their efforts in the College, WVU and within the community.
“We are extremely grateful to be receiving the Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion award on behalf of the MSA,” said Nada Mikky, arabic studies minor/computer science major and secretary and Statler Board member of MSA. “This award marks another milestone in building the presence of Muslim students on campus and the effect we can have on our community.”
With more than 25 active Statler College students, MSA actively fosters inclusivity by collaborating with students from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds, engages in charitable initiatives, organizes weekly discussions on topics related to student life— challenges and belonging, and promotes integration of students from diverse backgrounds through educational booths and bake sales activities across campus.
This year, MSA hosted a Spring Banquet that went beyond their own community by extending invitations to non-Muslims students to join them in fasting during Ramadan. This act of openness and inclusivity resulted in an outstanding turnout of over 100 guests, promoting meaningful dialogue, and fostering a deeper appreciation of diversity among all participants.
“Our goal is to have a positive impact on those among us and around us, whether that means helping them directly, or working with them as a team,” said Omar Ibraheem, president of MSA and biology major. “We always welcome people of all backgrounds, Muslim and non-Muslim, because together we are stronger and can accomplish amazing things.”
Their collaboration with Islamic Relief USA, a non-profit humanitarian agency, engaged over 90 volunteers through iServe who collectively packed more than 40,000 meals for people in need, exemplifying their commitment to serving our community. MSA dedication to community service, educational outreach and inclusive events demonstrates their dedicated leadership in these vital areas.
Through such efforts, MSA received the WVU Excellence in Community Engagement Award — founded upon demonstration of the Mountaineer Core Values of Service, Curiosity, Respect, Accountability and Appreciation, for the organization's meaningful actions that have profoundly impacted the campus community and beyond.
Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit
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