It’s good to be home! I grew up in Philadelphia and launched my undergraduate and graduate career at the University of Pennsylvania studying Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. At that time, Penn was more homogeneous than it is now and minority students could easily find themselves isolated. However, the founding director of this office, Ms. Cora Ingrum, helped me persist and succeed along with other academic mentors and advisors. Ms. Ingrum encouraged and supported me and had high expectations for my academic and personal success. I intend to continue and build upon this legacy.
Serving as Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion is a challenge I welcome—a labor of love. Although this office has had various names over the years, the mission remains the same—to increase the number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) underrepresented minority students who graduate, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. I am eager to maintain a culture of high expectations; implement strategies and programs that address students’ academic and emotional needs; create pipelines to recruit talented students and faculty; and develop exciting synergistic partnerships. This is my aim.
I am excited about collaborating with Penn community members and stakeholders to create a safe, welcoming space for undergraduate and graduate students to thrive. I hope you will visit my office — you are always welcome — and join me in this important effort.
Laura Stubbs, Ph.D.
Reflections on the ODEI and the Penn Experience
Kemi Oladuja (BE’20)
“The Office has been a great support system to me. It’s great because it offered a tutoring service, as well as an opportunity to get started on undergraduate research. I’ve made a lot of friends in the Office and even got very involved in NSBE because of it. I participated in a summer research program offered by the Office because I have always loved research.”
Aspen Walker (CBE’16)
“The Office was everything for me. It was the hub of emotional and academic support. I became very close with the staff, and they made such an impact on my college experience. Graduation felt like much more of a reality with their support. If I had to do it again, I would certainly go to Penn because it made me who I am today. I don’t have any regrets. Some things were incredibly painful and hard to face, but in the end I made it through, had a job, and amazing friends and memories and that’s what really matters.”
Promise Adebayo-Ige (CBE’20)
“In my first year at Penn, the Office acted as a huge support system. It’s nice to have people in engineering that always check in on you and care about how you are doing.”