Last year, Freddy Valencia and Alyssa Hernandez became the first GSAS Diversity and Inclusion fellows in the GSAS Office of Diversity and Minority Affairs (ODMA). This spring, Valencia will step down from his role, and Hernandez will be joined by two more fellows, including one who will focus on LGBTQ-related issues.
Over the past year, Valencia and Hernandez have met with student affinity groups to identify ways in which groups can collaborate with each other and with ODMA on activities and programming. They also conducted a survey of departmental websites and evaluated diversity-related content in an effort to help departments better direct students to GSAS-wide resources.
“The Diversity and Inclusion fellows are an important link between students and the GSAS administration,” said Sheila Thomas, dean for academic programs and diversity. “While we meet with students through a variety of venues, creating a space where students can share their thoughts with their peers is also important.”
The addition of an LGBTQ-focused fellow will help GSAS to assess the needs of the LGBTQ community and provide a bridge between LGBTQ students, the revitalized LGBTQ@GSAS student group, and the administration.
Valencia and Hernandez have worked closely and collaboratively to connect with underrepresented students in GSAS. Their conversations led them to see a need for more support for LGBTQ students in particular.
“We both knew from interacting with students that LGBTQ students could benefit from additional administrative support, particularly in creating more LGBTQ-focused programming and providing more funding and assistance to the LGBTQ@GSAS student group,” Hernandez said. “Together all three of us will be a team and work collaboratively, but we know that this additional fellow will help us better serve all the communities we represent."
Thomas echoed her sentiment. “We know that there is more work that we can do to help support the LGBTQ community in GSAS, and this is just the beginning,” she said. “The addition of the LGBTQ-focused fellow will give us greater capacity to develop programming that better serves this community.”
ODMA is accepting applications for both a generalist fellow and an LGBTQ-focused fellow now through January 11, 2019. Find out more details on the ODMA website.