INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences) Student Chapter at University of Michigan

Being your best DEI self: Think of a time when you were at your best at advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. What happened? Who was there? Why did you feel at your best?

Our diversity in higher education journal club discussions were particularly encouraging for envisioning the future. We discussed our personal responsibilities and strategies for advancing DEI both now and in our future careers and leadership roles. It was encouraging to see how much enthusiasm there is in today’s students and to get to read the works of scholars who have been working in this field before us.

Wishes for the future: How would you imagine your environment needing to be for you to feel that you don’t have to do DEI work anymore?

We imagine a future where everyone has access to mentors and peers who have common characteristics that they can identify with and be supported by; our STEM field is not disproportionately represented by a few identities and missing others; and everyone feels welcome to be themselves and doesn’t need to hide parts of themselves or try to avoid fitting in to a stereotype.

What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the MLK Spirit Awards?

It is validating that the work we have started is being recognized as beneficial and encourages us to keep moving forward with the initiatives. We are honored to be recognized and are excited to see the work of all the award recipients and keep our work going within our organization.