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About Us

This conference is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (via the FORWARD to Professorship Program), with co-sponsorship from the University of Virginia’s Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention and Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Development.

It was organized in collaboration with faculty from the University of Virginia, Virginia State University and Norfolk State University as follows:

Gertrude Fraser is Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment & Retention at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia where she is responsible for a broad range of faculty diversity initiatives and related organizational research. She is also a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology. From 2000-2003, she was a higher education program officer at the Ford Foundation. Dr. Fraser completed her Doctorate in Anthropology at The Johns Hopkins University. Her scholarship and administrative mission are joined in her passion for helping others to tell their stories and identify their strengths within an organization and in their everyday lives. Dr. Fraser will provide oversight and direction.

Dorothe Bach is an Associate Professor and Assistant Director at the University of Virginia’s Teaching Resource Center. In her role as a faculty developer, she directs the Excellence in Diversity Fellows Program which offers strong mentoring and peer networks for incoming diverse faculty members. She also facilitates workshops and events designed to enhance the University’s teaching mission. Dorothe teaches literature and culture courses in U.Va.’s German Department and Comparative Literature Program. Her publications include articles on teaching and learning as well as early career faculty from underrepresented groups.

Sueley Blackcurrently serves as Center for Materials Research Education (CMR) Hub Director and is a Professor in Chemistry at Norfolk State University (NSU). Her responsibilities involve coordinating CMR undergraduate and graduate student educational experiences, scholarships, and MS in Materials Science and PhD in Materials Science and Engineering programs. She is active in science education research, as well as mentoring to support greater participation of minorities in STEM fields. The position at NSU’s Center for Materials Research affords her the opportunity to encourage and nurture underrepresented minority students along the path of scientific career in materials science.

Roseanne Ford is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia. In her administrative role she is directly responsible for enhancing the diversity of UVa’s graduate student population and professional development programs for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Recently her team secured fellowship funding  from the Clare Boothe Luce Foundation to recruit women students to Ph.D. programs in STEM disciplines at UVa and their efforts to build a mentoring institute for graduate students from marginalized groups was recognized with an award from the Council of Graduate Schools for Innovation in Promoting an Inclusive Graduate Community.

Margaret Peña Harden is the Director of the Institute for Faculty Advancement at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her primary roles and responsibilities involve creating and running academic leadership and faculty development programs, program evaluation and assessment as well as needs assessment and institutional planning in regards to faculty recruitment and advancement. Previous positions include Program Coordinator for the NSF funded UA ADVANCE program and Program Coordinator for the NSF funded Center on Materials and Devices for Information Technology Research at the University of Arizona.

Rosalyn S. Hobson is the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia where she joined the faculty in 1996. She also serves as the Director of the VCU - University of KwaZulu Natal International Partnership. She received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia. Her research interests include artificial neural networks and their application to systems modeling, signal processing, manufacturing, and controls engineering. She also works extensively in K-12 science, technology, engineering and math non-formal and formal education. She served as a Science and Technology Diplomacy Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a Higher Education Science and Technology Specialist.

Carolyn Vallas, General Faculty and Director of the Center for Diversity in Engineering (CDE), is PI and CoPI on several National Science Foundation (NSF) grants at the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). Vallas provides overall administration and strategic planning to facilitate the development and implementation of academic programs, services and activities to increase recruitment and retention of women and underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students in STEM disciplines. Her responsibility over the past twenty five years have focused on diversity initiatives with emphasis on outreach, recruitment, admission, and retention programs for women and minorities in engineering. She is also currently the immediate past National President of the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program (NAMEPA); where her interest continues to be to develop partnerships for diversity.