Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council


Due to recent concerns over COVID-19, these workshops have been CANCELLED. The workshop trainers have graciously agreed to reschedule at a later date, TBD. 


The College of Engineering is please to offer two new workshops available to faculty and staff - to be rescheduled.


The Path Towards Solidarity: Allyship for Cultural Change

10:00am - 12:00pm, 3124 SC

Enacting solidarity across social identity differences is no easy process. This session explores what it means to be an ally, the common struggles and pitfalls that show up, and what it looks like in your daily work life. In this session we will examine some typical scenarios and discuss what self and community care look like in this work. Open to faculty and staff.


Interrupting Unconscious Bias & Moving towards Inclusive Engineering Classrooms 

1:30pm - 3:30pm, 3124 SC

While inclusive classrooms are an essential part of excellent teaching, they are often not part of our training or preparation working in the academy. This session offers practical tips to build inclusive classrooms and discusses common struggles. Participants will wrestle with several key ideas: equity versus equality, meeting the needs of increasingly diverse students, thinking about classroom content, difficult teaching moments, and pedagogy. Open to faculty only.




DOMONIC ANTONIO ROLLINS, PhD (he/him/his) is the Chief Diversity Officer at The Dalton School in New York City where he directs the equity and inclusion vision for the institution. Most recently, Dr. Rollins was the senior diversity and inclusion officer and special assistant to the deans at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). In this role, he provided leadership and vision for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at HGSE, in alignment with school-wide priorities. Rollins executes a broad range of strategic and tactical activities related to the identification, development, and delivery of diversity and inclusion initiatives for faculty, students, and staff. A hallmark of his work is translating big ideas about diversity and inclusion into practical solutions and considerations for organizations and interpersonal relationships. Prior to joining HGSE, Rollins was the senior education and training specialist in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Maryland. He earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy from the University of Maryland–College Park, where his dissertation research investigated how black male administrators navigate racism in higher education. His current research focuses on issues of interpersonal dynamics across social identity differences, structural barriers to inclusive environments, social justice training in universities, and pathways to senior leadership for minoritized university administrators.

BETH DOUTHIRT-COHEN, PhD (she/her/hers or they/them/theirs) has 20 years of experience focused on racial justice, disability justice, LGBTQIA justice, gender justice and addressing all forms of religious bias. The former Deputy Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Maryland (UMD), Beth currently is the Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Frederick Community College in Frederick, Maryland. Educated at Barnard College of Columbia University, Harvard University, and UMD, Beth has worked in higher education as well as award-winning non-profits as a senior trainer and educator. Beth’s research looks at how we can strengthen the capacity of people to engage ethically, effectively, and accountably across difference. Her graduate level teaching at UMD focuses on how to change the culture of organizations and schools, critical race theory, critical disability theory, and ethical research. Beth has published on how to strengthen policy and practice to better meet the needs of heavily marginalized populations and how privileged populations can enact various forms of solidarity.  



Each semester, the DEI Council plans to award six $500 travel awards to students in the College of Engineering (undergraduate or graduate). The travel awards are available to encourage and facilitate student opportunities to travel to national/international meetings, symposia, conferences, or other professional development opportunities that provide training or opportunities that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. Please apply via the Qualtrics link below.


These awards are closed for this year. Please check back in fall 2020!


Submission/Notification Dates:

The Spring 2020 funding cycle deadline is January 31, 2020. Awardees will be selected by the DEI council and announced by February 14.

Eligibility Requirements:

To be eligible for a DEI Council Travel Award you must:

  • Be an undergraduate or graduate student in the College of Engineering.
  • Provide a brief statement (1/2 a page) of how attending this conference will contribute towards your professional development goals regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion (upload in Qualtrics survey).
  • Provide documentation of the conference you will attend (or have attended), by providing the website, program, etc. The conference must be demonstrably related to promoting or facilitating diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, you might attend the NSBE, SHPE, AISES, SACNAS or other similar conferences, or the conference program must address DEI-related issues (in Qualtrics survey).
  • Travel between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. All funds must be spent by June 10 for summer travel – please speak to your department administrator.

If you are selected to receive a DEI Council Travel Award, you must:

  • Provide all receipts for reimbursement.
  • Work with your departmental administrator to complete the Travel Expense Voucher after you return.
  • If, for any reason, you will not attend the conference, please notify kristina-venzke@uiowa.edu so that your award can be directed to another applicant.
  • Provide a follow-up report (one-two paragraphs) and photos (if possible) to kristina-venzke@uiowa.edu within a month of returning from travel. 


Student Travel Grant Awardees: Fall 2019

Sania Kamran


National GEM Consortium

Robyn Williams


National GEM Consortium

Moala Bannavti


National GEM Consortium



​​​​​​NSBE Fall Regional Conference Group Travel

Mohamed Karar


Forbes Under 30

Rachel Smoak


SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference

Abdul Elgaali


NSBE Fall Regional Conference



DEI Suggestion Box

Let us know if you have any anonymous feedback for the DEI Council. Just submit by clicking on the DEI Suggestion Box button!


Proposed Council Charge

  • Provide leadership within the College of Engineering to promote and achieve a culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), especially racial/ethnic and gender diversity, as evidenced by the College’s policies and practices;
  • Assess the current state of the College of Engineering climate for DEI;
  • Lead the creation of the College of Engineering’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan with input from faculty, staff, and students; oversee implementation of the Action Plan; assess the effectiveness of outcomes of the Action Plan; and
  • Advise the College about strategies and best practices related to recruitment and retention of female and underrepresented faculty, staff, and students.


Council Members (2019-2020)

Michelle Scherer Co-chair, Professor, Faculty at-Large Member
Cathy Koebrick  Co-chair, Director of Human Resources
Nicole Grosland  Associate Dean for Academic Programs
Erwei Bai    DEO of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Brianna Marcello Director of UI Diversity Resources and Strategic Initiatives
Priyadarshini Pennathur Associate Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering 
Josh Atcher Director of Academic Resources and Support
Kristin Lang Director, Undergrad Diversity Programs and Academic Advisor
Dan McGehee Associate Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering 
Hanley Sayavong COE student alumni - CBE, 2018
Karina Foster-Middleton Undergraduate Student, BME and UI Student Accommodation Coordinator 
Marisol Contreras Graduate student, CBE
Mohammed Elobeid Undergrad Student in Mechanical Engineering and member of NSBE
Kristina Venzke Admin for DEI Council and Assistant to AD for graduate programs & faculty





Friday, January 24, 2020

IMU 2nd Floor Ballroom

9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Full program below


The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council at the College of Engineering is proud to announce its 1st Annual Celebrating Diversity in Engineering Conference for the graduate student body. The agenda will be filled with many events including concurrent sessions related to personal and professional skill-building, interactive activities, and panel discussions, as well as a research art gallery, luncheon, and a social networking event. 

The planning committee has organized this conference with sustainability in mind. Please bring a reusable coffee mug and/or water bottle for the day. All provided disposable tableware will be compostable. Paper agendas and other materials will be kept to a minimum. Thanks for helping our efforts!

The dress code is business casual - be comfortable but remember you will be meeting top employers, faculty, and University Administrators!


Join us and share your favorite single image, graph, schematic, drawing, etc. of your research with your fellow students at the Research Art Gallery! After lunch from 1:30pm - 2:00pm in the IMU.  Bring your poster to the registration table in the morning.

More information here: PDF iconresearch_art_gallery_submission_instructions.pdf


Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Gina Guillaume-Joseph. Her presentation title is "Embracing Diversity and Inclusion in Engineering Leads to Innovation." This keynote address is open to all College of Engineering Students, Faculty, and Staff!


 Dr. Gina Guillaume-Joseph is an Information Systems Engineer at The MITRE Corporation in McLean, Virginia. Currently, she is a trusted advisor to senior leadership in Federal Agencies by partnering with them to design enhancements to their work systems. Her various roles have been software developer, test engineer, and quality assurance engineer within the private, government consulting, non-profit and telecommunications arenas. Dr. Guillaume-Joseph also serves as an Adjunct Professor and Doctoral Research Advisor at the George Washington University supporting students pursuing their doctorate in Systems Engineering. She is a conference presenter and published author and co-author of several journal publications including the newly published Wiley Series in Systems Engineering book, "Trade-off Analytics: Creating and Exploring the System Tradespace". During her time at MITRE, Guillaume-Joseph has won numerous awards, including a Modern-Day Technology Leader Award from the 2016 BEYA (Becoming Everything You Are) STEM Conference. Guillaume-Joseph's passion for engineering extends outside the workplace. She currently serves as director of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) Foundation STEM Initiative where she recognizes, advocates for, and supports ongoing academic programs and initiatives that support Empowering Woman as Leaders in Systems Engineering (EWLSE), STEM and K-12 initiatives, Engineering Week, science fairs and engineering competitions, by integrating systems engineering and systems thinking into the education of all engineers.



Download the full conference program here: PDF iconcelebrating_diversity_in_engineering_full_agenda.pdf


Program Title




8:00am - 9:00am


Check in and Breakfast

IMU 2nd Floor Ballroom

9:00am - 10:00am


Keynote Address: Embracing Diversity and Inclusion in Engineering Leads to Innovation



Dr. Gina Guillaume-Joseph is an Information Systems Engineer at The MITRE Corporation in McLean, Virginia. Dr. Guillaume-Joseph also serves as an Adjunct Professor in Systems Engineering and Doctoral Research Advisor at the George Washington University. 


IMU 2nd Floor Ballroom

10:15am - 11:15am

Parallel Presentations – Session #1



How to Identify and Disrupt Bias

A discussion on how to identify and disrupt bias led by Bria Marcelo, our University of Iowa Director of Diversity Resources. The goal will be to help you identify bias and learn a few strategies to disrupt bias when you observe it


345 IMU

So, You Want to Be a Professor?

If you are thinking about becoming a professor and are not sure how to do that or even what that would be like, this is the session for you. Our own Prof. Michelle Scherer and a Special Guest presenter will discuss the journey to becoming a professor and how you can, too!


347 IMU

From Academics to Industry

Raman Aravamudhan, Adjust Instructor in Computer Science and CEO of Ramaanchar Technologies, Inc.  An overview of how to jump from graduate school to industry


346 IMU

11:30am - 12:30pm

Parallel Presentations – Session #2




Navigating to Your Ideal Job & Salary

Travis Greenlee, Director of Engineering Professional Development. A discussion on how to use LinkedIn and other career platforms to find a job and negotiate a contract


346 IMU

Sustainability and You

Blake Rupe, Sustainability Program Manager, Office of Sustainability and the Environment.  Research can often seem like a wasteful process but there are ways to mediate this. This session will talk about how to incorporate more sustainable practices into your research


345 IMU

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Barry Schreier, Director, University Counseling Service. Overview of what imposter syndrome is and how to overcome it


347 IMU

12:30pm - 2:00pm


Lunch & Research Art Gallery



Enjoy a pasta buffet and afterwards, walk through the Research Art Gallery and have a look at favorite images from grad student research projects and talk with the students who are presenting their work

  • Wild Rice, Sweet Potato, Dried Fruit and Nuts Salad - GF, DF, Vegan
  • Crisp Kale, Toasted Almonds, and Parmesan Salad with Lemon Parmesan Dressing - GF, V
  • Green Beans with Roasted Shallots - GF, V
  • 5-Cheese Stuffed Shells with Marinara Sauce - V
  • Pasta with Sundried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Sauce - GF, DF, Vegan
  • Pasta with Creamy Lemon Pesto - V
  • Garlic Bread - V
  • Coffee, Decaf, Iced & Hot Tea, Water

Please indicate in your online registration if you have special dietary needs not on this menu or contact conference organizers


IMU 2nd Floor Ballroom


2:00pm - 3:00pm

Parallel Presentations – Session #3




Get to Know Your Peers

Kristen Hartsgrove Mooers, Lecturer, Theater Arts. A fast-paced and fun-filled improv game session structured to help you get to know other graduate students


345 IMU

Engineering for Social Justice

Craig Just, Associate Professor from CEE;  James Ankrum, Assistant Professor from BME; and V Fixmer-Oraiz, CEO and Founder of Astig Planning and Adjunct Faculty in Global Health Studies. A teamed discussion and workshop on how engineering can be used to further social justice causes. The aim of this will not only be to have a discussion on social justice but how your research can further social justice causes in unexpected ways


346 IMU

YOU Can Start a Business!

A panel of local entrepreneurs who will be available to answer your questions about what starting a business is like and how you can start one, too! Karim Abdel-Malek, Professor from BME, Director of the Iowa Technology Institute (ITI), and entrepreneur; Sarah Vigmostad, Associate Professor from BME and Co-Founder of SynderBio, Inc.; and Isabel Reed, UI alum and founder and CEO of Comigo


347 IMU

3:15pm - 4:15pm

Large Group Panel Discussion



Embracing Your Identity in the Workplace and Beyond

There are many titles we wear and not all of them are known to everyone. This session with start with an activity to discuss the different identities, both invisible and visible, and lead into a panel that will discuss how to fully embrace those identities at work and in your everyday life. COE grad students Matt Nagorzanski Moala Bannavti will lead the activity.  Panelists are  Raymond Hammond, UI alum and Data Engineer at JMI Laboratories in North Liberty: Rachel F. Marek, CEE alum and Assistant Research Scientist at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering; Suresh Raghavan, Professor from BME; and Jose Resendiz, Pr. Technical Project Manager in Avionics, Collins Aerospace


IMU 2nd Floor Ballroom

4:15pm - 5:00pm

Mocktail Networking Hour and Raffle



Mingle and network with peers and conference guests. Raffle prize winners will be announced. Refreshments will be provided!


IMU 2nd Floor Ballroom

For questions related to the conference, please contact any of the members of the Celebrating Diversity in Engineering Student Planning Committee:  Moala Bannavti, Tori Eng, Venkateswaran Ganesh, Lupe Munoz Rocha, Matt Nagorzanski, or Yusuf Sermet, or DEI Council Members Michelle Scherer and Kristina Venzke.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Kristina Venzke in advance at 319-335-5614.




College of Engineering DEI Initiatives

Call for Proposals currently closed - please check back in fall 2020


The College of Engineering (COE) and the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) Council are committed to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for COE faculty, staff, and students.

The DEI council invites proposals for faculty, staff, or student led DEI initiatives within the college. Proposals can be up to $5,000. The DEI council has $15,000 available to award. We welcome proposals from individuals, teams, students, staff organizations, and/or departments. Student Organizations that apply must be recognized by the Center for Student Involvement (CISL) and the College of Engineering. The next call for proposals will be in the fall of 2020.


Fall 2020 DEI Initiatives Award Winners

Awardee Award amount Project Description
Diversity Reading Group $1,250

To establish a forum for interested community members to be able to explore issues related to diversity and equity through discussion of readings from a broad variety of sources and to help establish a sense of community within the College of Engineering, above and beyond our specified roles at work. Please contact Dina Blanc for more information

Female Alliance of Civil Engineers (FACE)


Support to fund speakers for career workshops, visiting female speakers from companies and local governments in Iowa, and group discussions of the difficulties of being a gender minority in Engineering

International Education Week $350

Support to fund a reception to celebrate International Students during International Education Week

Minority Recruitment in Graduate Programs Speaker $894

Submitted by BME, this project invites Moises Orozco Villacana, Director of Enrollment Management at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, School of Information Sciences, to speak in the COE. Contact Josh Lobb for more information

Research Project on URM students in Engineering at the UI $5,000

Support to fund the research project: Minority Undergraduate Engineering Students at UI: Characterizing Their Successes and Struggles With a Research-Based, Data-Driven Approach (Arun Pennatuhur and Priya Pennathur)

Joint BME/CBE Guest Speaker $2,134

Guest speaker Dr. Jennifer Linderman is a Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at the University of Michigan and Director of the University of Michigan’s ADVANCE Program. NSF ADVANCE programs have been contributing to the support of workplace initiatives that promote equity for STEM faculty that could serve as a model for COE. Please contact Jennifer Fiegel or Mubeen Syed for more information

Mayor's Youth Empowerment Program STEM Workshop $250

This proposal seeks to broaden COE’s sphere of diversity, equity, and inclusion to promote awareness and understanding for those with intellectual disabilities in the community by pairing the MYEP participants with a COE student org. Please contact Natalie Potter for more information

Spring 2019 DEI Initiatives Award Winners

Awardee Award amount Project Description
Black Girls Do Science $1,335

Support for the student organization NSBE’s program Black Girls Do Science. Black Girls Do Science is a one-day program encouraging underrepresented girls in 4th-8th grades to pursue a career in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field.

Lactation Room Supplies $427

Emergency supplies for the lactation room in Seamans Center.

Female Alliance of Civil Engineers (FACE) $750

The Female Alliance of Civil Engineers is a new student organization that began in November of 2018. The funding is for posters, apparel, and events to promote awareness of this new organization.

Society for Women Engineers (SWE) $1,000

Support of the SWE High School Conference, which invites high school juniors and seniors to campus to explore the many opportunities a degree in engineering can offer.

Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) $1,800

Support for WiSE programming for U of I women in STEM, including social, service learning events and personal development seminars.

Continental Crossings $2,000

Funding to support underrepresented student participation in the Continental Crossings service learning project in Bolivia.

Womxn’s Summit $600

Funding to support the Womxn’s Summit for underrepresented women to address issues of self-identity and coalition and to provide a space for women to feel empowered to impact social change.

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) $1,367

Support for underrepresented students for conference travel



This scholarship award cycle is closed. Please check back in the fall of 2020!


This new tuition and fees scholarship is open to all undergraduate students promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion activities in the College of Engineering. Twelve (12) scholarships of $500 each will be awarded in January 2020.  To apply, students must fill out the Qualtrics survey below, and provide either a Letter of Recommendation from a faculty or staff person or provide a self-nomination. As an example, the letter of recommendation or self-nomination could describe your activities as a MESA tutor, or member of a student organization, or any other activities related to the promotion of Diversity, Equity, and/or Inclusion in the College of Engineering.

Applications are due by November 1, 2019. Notifications of award status will be sent by December 2.

Please fill out an application via this Qualtrics survey link:  
DEI Council Undergraduate Scholarship Application

At the end of the survey, you will be asked to upload your letter of recommendation or self-nomination, accepted only in PDF format.

The letter of recommendation or self-nomination should provide: 

  1. A description of the activities in which you intend to participate or organize to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion goals in the College of Engineering, 
  2. Who is the audience the activities will impact, and 
  3. What results do you hope to see following the activity. 

Other requirements:

  1. You must be an undergraduate student.
  2. The activities must take place during the Fall 2019 or Spring 2020 semesters. 
  3. You must be a registered student in the spring 2020 semester to be eligible for the scholarship.
  4. You agree to provide a short final report and photos (if applicable) following the end of the activity.

Questions can be directed to kristina-venzke@uiowa.edu or 319-335-5614. 



DEI Council Listening Post Summary of Feedback: This document summarizes the feedback received at the 15 different
Listening Posts held during the Spring semester of 2019


Date Time Location

Listening Post Group

2/18/2019 4:00-5:00 3220 SC

Female Grad Students

2/27/2019 4:00-5:00 3220 SC

URM Undergrad Students

3/5/2019 12:00-1:00 3220 SC

Female Faculty

3/7/2019 4:00-5:00 UCC Conf Room B

LGBTQ – Fac, staff, students

3/13/2019 4:00-5:00 3220 SC

URM Grad Students

3/13/2019 12:00-1:00 3220 SC

Instructional Track Faculty – all ranks

3/27/2019 5:00-6:00 3220 SC

Female Undergrad Students

4/2/2019 12:00-1:00 3220 SC

URM – Faculty and Staff

4/4/2019 12:00-1:00 3210 SC

Asst Professors – Tenure Track

4/18/2019 5:00-6:00 3210 SC

Open Undergrad

4/22/2019 4:00-5:00 3220 SC

Open Grad

4/25/2019 12:00-1:00 3210 SC

Open Faculty

4/26/2019 12:00-1:00 3220 SC

Female Staff

4/29/2019 4:00-5:00 3220 SC

International Grad and Undergrad

5/1/2019 12:00-1:00 3220 SC

Open Staff