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Diversity, equity and inclusion= innovation

building a culture of innovation

At the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, we aim to enhance the quality of higher education and promote a fruitful and productive work environment by placing diversity, equity and inclusion as a top priority across all functions of the College. A diverse faculty and staff are essential in providing academic excellence in teaching, mentoring, research and service to our community.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are integrated into our fundamental values and are reflected in our daily activities and outcomes. As such, the College has created the Council for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to honor the worth of every individual and sustain an environment where all people are encouraged to succeed and excel.


Diversity is strength. We commit to not only increasing, but also promoting social and cultural characteristics that provide perspective and enhance innovation that transcends race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, language, culture, national origin, religious beliefs, age, (dis)ability status, political status and veteran status.


We all work together to ensure fair treatment, equal opportunities and advancements of our students, faculty and staff, we ensure that everyone has the tools they need to achieve their fullest potential. By understanding the root causes that have led to the unbalanced conditions and mistreatment of historically underserved and underrepresented populations, we can strive to identify and eliminate the barriers that prevent equal opportunity for all persons. One WVU.


We are committed to ensuring that our campus is a place where students, faculty and staff with different identities are being welcomed, valued and promoted. We are committed to creating empowering and collaborative environments in which any individual or group can feel comfortable to share ideas and perspectives to guarantee the best possible outcome of any pursuit; our differences are our strengths.

West Virginia University is deeply committed to the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. In fact, President Gee shared a letter with the campus community Wednesday morning that outlined his commitment to eradicate racism through the power of higher education. We have an excellent leader in Meshea Poore, our vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. She, along with the entire University, will continue to create conversation around the issues with which our country is grappling. In addition, we lean on our Mountaineer Values – Service, Curiosity, Respect, Accountability and Appreciation – to guide us. We are confident that your student will find WVU and Morgantown to be a safe, welcoming and respectful community.

West Virginia University is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture by promoting diversity, inclusion, equality, and intercultural and intercommunity outreach. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, age, physical or mental disability, marital or family status, pregnancy, veteran status, service in the uniformed services (as defined by state and federal law), religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or gender expression in the administration of any of its educational programs, activities, or with respect to admission or employment. – Board of Governors Rule 1.6 

For more information about diversity at WVU, contact:

1085 Van Voorhis Road Suite 250 
P.O. Box 6202, Morgantown WV 26506-6202 
P: 304-293-5600 

The Statler College Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee

The charge for the DEI Committee in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources includes the following:

  • Promote the goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion as identified by West Virginia University and in the Statler College.
  • Identify challenges and strengths in promoting and achieving DEI goals.
  • Make recommendations to the College Dean/Administrative units/Vice President’s office  regarding ways to achieve DEI goals.
  • Facilitate communication and understanding among different constituencies in the College and at the University levels.
  • Engage students, staff, and faculty to assess needs related to DEI/Propose strategies for assessing progress and removing barriers in DEI.
Committee Members:
Committee Chair Cerasela Zoica Dinu - Professor and Associate Chair - Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Marsha Rohozen - Human Resources Partner - Statler College
Cate Schlobohm - Outreach Program Coordinator - Statler College
Robin Hensel - Assistant Dean for Freshman Experience - Fundamentals of Engineering
Hema Siriwardane - Professor and Chair - Civil and Environmental Engineering
Kenneth Currie - Professor and Chair - Industrial Management Systems Engineering 
Brian Powell - Teaching Assistant Professor - Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
Guilherme A. Silva Pereira - Associate Professor - Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Xueyan Song - Professor - Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Joshua Brady - Director - Mining and Industrial Extension
Qingqing Huang - Assistant Professor - Mining Engineering
Samuel Ameri - Professor and Chair - Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering
J. Paige Nesbit - Director - Marketing and Communications - Statler College

Graduate Education Subcommittee

The charge of the Graduate Education Subcommittee of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources is to conduct a thorough external and internal environmental scan of the graduate education program to:

  1. Collectively advocate for the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups
  2. Ensure that every graduate student has the full opportunity to thrive in the college and at West Virginia University
  3. Recognize and promote awareness, engagement, and community building around diverse experiences
  4. Inform and hold departments, academic units, and administration accountable to improving the recruitment, retention, and degree completion of underrepresented groups.

Undergraduate Education Subcommittee

The charge of the Undergraduate Education Subcommittee of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources is to conduct a thorough external and internal environmental scan of the undergraduate education program to:

  1. Ensure that our campus is a place where future and current students with different backgrounds feel supported, included, and celebrated by fellow students, faculty, and staff.
  2. Commit to increasing our population of diverse students and ensuring they have the tools and equal opportunities to achieve to their fullest potential.
  3. Envision working collaboratively to build on natural talents to develop technical and theoretical problem-solving skills with the goal to produce future industry leaders capable of leading richly diverse and creative teams.

Faculty and Staff Subcommittee

The charge of the Faculty and Staff Subcommittee of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources is to conduct a thorough external and internal environmental scan of faculty and staff programs to:

  1. Create, implement and optimize programs that support the success of all underrepresented faculty and staff in the college
  2. Clearly define underrepresented groups in the college (STEM definition, NSF definition, etc.)
  3. Regularly evaluate hiring processes to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are held as top priorities
  4. Address programmatic obstacles in recruitment and retention processes for underrepresented groups with the goal of increasing the number of faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds
  5. Advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion and work to create an overall more inclusive culture in the college
  6. Establish and hold ongoing conversations with key units and stakeholders such as the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, the Center for Excellence in Disabilities, the Center for Black Culture and Research, the ADVANCE program, the LGBTQ+ Center, the Office of Multicultural Affairs etc.


Staff members across the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion offer a variety of training for members of the WVU community.

Some examples include:

  • Activating the potential of a diverse team
  • Addressing discrimination
  • Being an ally
  • Engaging bystanders to help others
  • Identifying abusive behaviors
  • Implicit Bias
  • Interacting across cultures
  • Promoting a diverse, inclusive working environment
  • Protecting children and minors on campus
  • Supporting survivors of power-based personal violence

To request an in-person training, please use our online form, filling it out as completely as possible so our Education Team can best serve you.

Training form

The WVU Faculty Ombudsperson Office

A confidential, independent, informal, and neutral resource for WVU faculty members.

Contact the Ombuds

Faculty Senate

The Faculty Senate includes 131 Senators representing the Morgantown, Beckley, and Keyser campuses. They are responsible for guiding WVU’s academic pursuits, and for communicating faculty opinions and concerns.

Committee Meeting Dates

Diversity @ WVU

The Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion exists because WVU is always striving to create the safe, diverse, welcoming community we all deserve.

Get Involved at the University Level

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) in Higher Education resources

The Statler College DEI Committee shares the collection of library resources to support the work of staff, faculty, instructors, administrators, and everyone at West Virginia University. This guide is a collection of contemporary library resources on social justice issues in higher education for all university individuals with WVU login credentials.

Social justice in Higher Education Resources

Several events, in conjunction with SWE/AOE, for females:

Diversity Week

A celebration of the strength of our diverse campus community and uphold the diversity of beliefs, cultural experiences, and identities in our society. Held during the week of October 11-17, 2020. Faculty, staff, and students were encouraged to participate in virtual events that promote meaningful discussions to bring our College and University community closer together. Collectively, we have the power to help reshape our future. Listing of events can be found on the webpages of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at WVU.

Currently room 118 in the Advanced Engineering Research Building is a gender inclusive, family bathroom.

We are also creating two, single person, gender neutral bathrooms, and one lactation room as part of the Engineering Sciences Building west wing, ground floor renovation. The renovation will be complete in February 2020.

The non-denominational rooms are ESB 30B and AER 318

Black History Month Panel Discussion Honoring Katherine Johnson

On February 9, 2021, the Statler College Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and the WVU Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, hosted a Black History Month Panel Discussion, honoring NASA Pioneer Katherine Johnson.

Panelists included Meshea L. Poore, Esq. Vice President for DEI at WVU and Statler College alumnae, former NASA engineer and partner of Ventures Yonder Kerri Knotts.

  • Poore, an attorney who served in the House of Delegates from 2009 – 2014, is also an experienced educator and mentor. She has mentored and consulted with hundreds of elected officials throughout the nation as they seek higher office. Poore has served as an adjunct professor at WV State University, as a faculty member in residence at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University and has teaching privileges at WVU College of Law.
  • Knotts, an aerospace engineering graduate, spent two decades working at NASA’s Johnson Space Center where she focused on advancing Human Space Flight and served in engineering and senior leadership roles. She was a part of the Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Moon/Mars Exploration Programs. Knotts went on to start businesses in the oil and gas industry and has recently joined Barrios Technology, a small woman-owned business supporting NASA for 40 years.

Starting in 2020 with the Inaugural Statler College Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award, each year the Office of the Dean will recognize one current staff member, one faculty member, one student, and one student organization who demonstrates exemplary leadership that manifests the ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion into practical action.

Open to all members of the Statler College community, recipients of this award demonstrate their commitment across a range of possibilities: student- or staff-centered inclusion initiatives; efforts to support recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff and/or students; multicultural programming or related initiatives; community outreach activities; inclusion of diverse authors into course curriculums; or teaching and/or research that expands and embraces our understanding of inclusiveness. The awardees represent openness in thinking and embrace differences that promote equal opportunity in race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, thought processes, etc., as defined above. Nominees must also embody the Mountaineer Values of service, curiosity, respect, accountability and appreciation.

Congratulations to the recipients of the inaugural Statler College Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards! - Nagasree Garapati: Faculty Award, Raafay Uqaily: Student Award, Society of Women Engineers: Student Org. Award

“I am extremely proud of our faculty, staff and students for going above and beyond to help build a College community where everyone has the opportunity to reach their fullest potential,” Dean Pedro Mago said. “They are an example of what we can do, together, and as individuals, to create a more welcoming learning and living environment. This award establishes a standard for us all to live up to.”

Read More About This Year's Award Winners

Sadaf Sarwari

Sadaf Sarwari

Junior Software Engineer at Leidos

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, WVU 2020

"Engineering and STEM fields are disciplines born out of people thinking 'outside the box,' challenging conventional norms, and taking the extra step to transform the impossible into something tangible. Being able to hear and acknowledge the ideas and words of everyone who has a vision for change in these fields is key to fostering further growth in today's world."

Laurie Wiegand-Jackson

Laurie Wiegand-Jackson

President of Utility Advantage, LLC

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, WVU 1984

"Diversity brings an abundance of different ideas and solutions that otherwise would be overlooked with a homogenous team. Brainstorming a diverse set of ideas also builds a hybrid of better solutions. Diversity is good for morale, innovation and profitability."

Gbolahan "Bugzy" Idowu

Gbolahan "Bugzy" Idowu

Manufacturing Equipment Engineer at Tesla

B.S Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, M.S Mechanical Engineering, WVU 2017

"It is important because the STEM field has consistently attracted people from all works of life. Hence, it is very necessary to recognize the key contributions that diverse individuals bring to the continued growth and development of this field."

Jack Prommel

Jack Prommel

Senior Business and Technology Delivery Analyst at Accenture

Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering, WVU 2018

"In the real world STEM projects are limited by budgets and timelines, to be successful a team needs to have a set of diverse thinkers proposing unique solutions in the safest, fastest, and most cost effective manner."

David Johnson

David Johnson

Bridge Engineer at AECOM

Master of Science in Civil Engineering, WVU 2020

"Diverse thinking adds a layer of safety and quality control to each project because new perspectives catch mistakes of all sizes and provide enhancements that would have otherwise been overlooked."

Mofe Fagbemi

Mofe Fagbemi

Emissions Certification and Compliance Engineer at Cummins

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, WVU 2015

"Diverse thinking adds flair, improves creativity and promotes growth. It always yields a unique solution that one person cannot come up with."

Felipe Sozinho

Felipe Sozinho

Analyst at M&S Consulting

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, WVU 2018

"I’d say diverse thinking is important in all aspects of our life, and equally important to diverse thinking is creating an environment where everyone feels safe to share their thoughts. Diverse thinking allows for different perspectives to be analyzed before a conclusion is reached. I think that not only reduces the chances of bias, but also increases the chances of reaching an optimal solution."

Roshan Daniel

Roshan Daniel

Systems Engineer at Booz Allen Hamilton

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, WVU 2017

"The best engineering solutions require bold, novel thinking. When organizations rely on the same people from the same background, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation they are limiting the number of unique experiences brought to the table. Once an organization brings diverse thinking to the table, it is everyone's responsibility to create a space where all ideas are heard and appreciated. This allows for the 'what if we...' moment, where those bold ideas and novel concepts are born."

Anika Solomon

Anika Solomon

Project Engineer at Ecolab

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, Business Minor, BMEG Certificate, WVU 2019

"Diverse thinking is extremely important to make sure as engineers we are coming up with the 'best' solution, not just 'a' solution. Thinking as a team allows various perspectives, experiences, and ideas to be brought to the table, typically leading to a more successful design than one individual could produce."


Rouzbeh Yassini "Father of the Cable Modem"

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, WVU 1981

"My education at WVU and subsequent invention of the cable modem came from collaborations of diverse minds. Different backgrounds, experiences, Race, Religion, Euthenics, and solid education only fuel the creativity and true innovation in solving today's challenges."

Haroune Bejgui

Haroune Bejgui

Design Engineer at MEDSIX

Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, WVU 2017

"Diverse thinking is crucial to excel in a STEM field. The more diverse a person's thinking is, the more wide the range of their perspective and the more creative and innovative their solution to problems are. And that is essential, especially in our fast-paced, and ever-changing world."

Olumuyiwa Oyeleye

Olumuyiwa Oyeleye

CAD/Design Automation Engineer at Intel

Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering, WVU 2014

"It’s sometimes great to get a perspective from diverse minds because it brings more ideas to the table, and opens up the discussion for how best to achieve a common goal. It also makes for a productive and conducive work environment."

Jeremy Booker

Jeremy Booker

Field Technical Advisor at Pro Frac LLC

Bachelor of Science in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering , WVU 2015

"In Engineering and STEM fields you will face complex challenges that will always require a group of diverse yet like minded individuals to obtain solutions and achieve goals set forth."

 Alicia Dalton-Tingler

Alicia Dalton-Tingler

Science and Technology Strategic Plans and Programs at US Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, WVU 1998
MBA, WVU 1999

"It is easy to gravitate toward those just like us, but I've seen that often limit creativity and new ideas. Varied experiences, unique perspectives, and different viewpoints enhance problem solving methodology."

Azaleah Davis

Azaleah Davis

General Program Coordinator at Coda Mountain Academy

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering, WVU 2019

"An engineer solves problems and dedicates their work to bettering the world around them any chance they get. That's the kind of thinking that I have when it comes to real-world issues and where I can step in. I have seen how my skills and educational experience has equipped me to serve my community and improve the education system during a time of crisis. Stepping back from a mindset focused on a 'degree' and the 'expected' path that an engineer should follow to be considered successful, allows for the opportunity to be flexible, to become a solution, to serve people and not work, and above all else, make a difference."

Line-Audrey Nkule

Line-Audrey Nkule

Mining Pre-field Representative at Caterpillar, Inc.

Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering and Civil Engineering, WVU 2018

"Diversity in STEM allows for different approaches/perspectives while facing problem-solving situations."

Heather Stemple

Heather Stemple

Sr. Director Logistics at Procter and Gamble

Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, WVU 1996

"Bringing people of diverse backgrounds together leads to better ideas and better solutions. When everyone feels like they can be themselves at school or work, they are more productive, creative and engaged. Diverse and inclusive teams are not only more successful, but more enjoyable to work in."

Kerri Phillips

Kerri Phillips

Hypersonic Weapons Program Manager at John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering, WVU 2007
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, WVU 2007
Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering, WVU 2011

"Engineering is about being innovative to tackle tough problems. We need different perspectives to solve these challenges, and we can do this by bringing people together who don’t approach problems in the same way. It is critical to ensure each person on the team feels like they have a voice they can share without judgment. This inclusion allows us to maximize the benefits of that diversity and build upon the ideas of others. We need diverse thinking in engineering because the ideas that come from inclusive teams are often beyond what any of the individuals on that team could have imagined alone. Who knows? That elevated idea may just be the next game-changer."

Bernard Cothran

Bernard E. Cothran

Patent Examiner at U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, WVU 2009

"Two great minds don't think alike, so being a diverse thinker gives you the ability to understand another creative mind."

Thilanka Munasinghe

Thilanka Munasinghe

Lecturer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, WVU 2016

"Diversity brings different opinions when solving problems. Formulation of various ideas based on opinions helps to sharpen our logical thinking ability and leads towards curiosity. Logic and curiosity are at the core of engineering and STEM."

Alicia Kadiri

Alicia Kadiri

Lead Math and Technology Teacher at Al Ihsan School of Excellence

Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and Biometric Systems, WVU 2013

“The most damaging phrase in the language is ‘We’ve always done it this way’.”-Grace Hopper 

"For progress to occur, we need variety in ideas and thinking processes. As you need an opposite rough surface to sharpen a smooth blade, we need different minds to sharpen our own against. Our diverse life experiences uniquely shape our brains to approach problems from different angles, and bringing these different angles together is what allows us to build the whole shape of an exemplary solution."

Thriving Women Program

Applications are now being accepted for the exceptional Thriving Women Program. This program was privately funded by dedicated alumna Dianne Anderson and is intended to promote and advance women in their professional careers in Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University. 

Specifically, the Thriving Women Program is guided towards empowering female faculty and staff to: 

  • further develop their values and personal goals to become more engaged citizens of West Virginia University and the Statler College with a global and inclusive perspective for societal and community impacts
  • increase their potential and impact by contributing, instilling and/or implementing a narrative change and/or viable practices guided for creating the foundation for our University and College community to thrive.

Female faculty and staff in the Statler College are encouraged to consider submitting proposals for either: 

  1. Individual transformation. Examples of proposals to be considered under this section include but are not limited to proposals aiming to advance the individual's career trajectory in the College by either enhancing professional development skills, supporting professional goals related to networking, creating a stronger presence in professional societies or research settings just to name a few. 


  1. Community transformation. Examples of proposals to be considered under this section include but are not limited to proposals aiming to create supportive community networks for College stakeholders, proposals that advance the College’s mission to serve as a safe and welcoming environment, or initiatives that allow for the creation and implementation of viable mentorship programs that advance both individuals as well as the Statler College community, just to name a few. 

Female faculty and staff at all career stages are welcome and encouraged to participate; thriving with impact is envisioned.  Regardless if a female faculty or staff member are emerging or already thriving in their professional development in the Statler College, we look forward to assisting on your journey and helping you reach your goals. 

This program offers seed grant support of maximum $2,000 grant for a one year duration; program is rolled out and administered under the Statler College Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Strategic Initiatives, and leadership of Cerasela Dinu, DEI coordinator for the College. The DEI office will award a minimum of three applicants. 

Interested applicants must fill out the submission form by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 9. 

All applicants must be a current WVU Statler College employee effective March 2021 until May 2022.

2021 Thriving Women Program Timeline  

  • Announcement: Monday, March 22, 2021
  • Application deadline: Friday, April 9, 2021, 11:59 p.m.
  • Award notification: on or after Friday, April 16, 2021
  • Project duration: 1 year; funding to start as early as Summer 2021. One page summary report due at six months from the starting date. The report must be at least 1,500 words;  images or videos are excluded from the wordcount but highly encouraged as supportive documentation. A second and final report must be submitted within one year from the starting date of the project; the report must be at least 3,000 words; images or videos are excluded from the wordcount but highly encouraged as supportive documentation.

2021 Application Requirements

Applications must include the following and be submitted online: 

  • Name of the individual applying for the grant
  • Academic unit of the applicant and specific role that the applicant has
  • One paragraph describing the proposed idea and its foreseen impact (i.e., either for transforming yourself or the community (500 words)
  • One paragraph of what the assessment process consists of and what metrics for success of the project will be considered (500 words)
  • Brief budget description of up to $2,000 (funding cannot be used for salary of the applicant; 1500 words)
  • Apply online at:
  • Applicants must be Statler College faculty and staff effective from March 2021 until May 2022.

Review Committee

Review committee includes but is not limited to:

  • Dianne Anderson, Alumna, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
  • Cerasela Zoica Dinu, Professor, Associate Chair and DEI coordinator




Torey Wright, a sophomore petroleum and natural gas major and Arabic studies minor, has been awarded the 2019 Leah Berhanu Memorial Award by The Thrasher Group.

Read Torey's story.