Dear Students and Colleagues,

As we strengthen our commitment to building a culture of equity at Drexel, we should take every opportunity to listen, learn and draw inspiration from leaders who are paving the way. That is why I am pleased to announce the establishment of a speaker series, in collaboration with our Office for Institutional Equity and Inclusive Culture (EIC), which will regularly bring to campus pathbreaking visionaries and thought leaders in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

The first event in the President’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Speaker Series will be a Women’s History Month panel discussion held on March 6. We will be honoring the legacy of pioneering African American NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, whose critical contributions to the success of the U.S. space program, from Alan Shepard’s suborbital Mercury flight to Apollo missions to the Moon and the first space shuttle missions, were featured in the award-winning film “Hidden Figures” and inspired a generation of women and people of color to become today’s leaders in science, technology, engineering and math.

To recognize the importance of heroic role models like Katherine Johnson, we will welcome a panel of speakers including:

  • Michael Moore, Katherine Johnson’s grandson and a senior vice president and director of software engineering at Truist Financial Corporation;
  • Moogega Cooper, an alumna of the College of Engineering and a planetary protection engineer at NASA;
  • Latasha Harling, a diversity and community impact consultant and member of the Board of Trustees of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University;
  • India Johnson, a social psychologist at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, who studies what makes individuals role models and allies from the perspective of Black women in STEM; and
  • Stephen Cox, who is the regional project director of the Greater Philadelphia Region Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and is resident in the Office of the Provost.

The event will be held in Behrakis Grand Hall, from 4-5:30 p.m., with light refreshments to follow. I invite everyone who can attend to share in this learning opportunity and the discussion it inspires.

I would like to recognize the efforts of the EIC and the leadership of our Chief Diversity Officer Kim Gholston, Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leslie Ashburn-Nardo, and Assistant Vice President for Inclusive Culture and Belonging Patience Ajoff-Foster in bringing together this speaker series. I also want to acknowledge the members of the Faculty Recruitment and Retention Subcommittee of the Anti-Racism Task Force, whose recommendations led to the creation of this speaker series, and the Drexel Solutions Institute, who connected us with Mr. Moore and the Katherine Johnson Foundation.

You can learn more about the series and register for the March 6 event on the President’s DEIB Speaker Series webpage.


John Fry

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