Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics faculty, students, and staff affirm a commitment to protect and nurture, first and foremost, the mental and physical well-being of each member of our community. A core value of our department is a commitment to diversity, which connotes an awareness and acceptance of the value and strength derived from engaging the richness of multiple cultures, including race, disabilities, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and skin color, among other attributes. The full potential and impact of our scholarship, teaching and learning, knowledge creation, innovation, and service can only be realized in an environment where people are supported and valued for their humanity, without prejudice, and where inclusion, collaboration, and sharing are core principles.

The Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics is committed to advancing the inclusion of underrepresented minorities and women in our community of faculty, students, and staff. We are cognizant of the Institute’s goals of the 2004 faculty resolution to increase the number of underrepresented minority and women graduate students and the 2010 Report of the Initiative on Faculty Race and Diversity (pdf.)

The full potential and impact of our scholarship, teaching and learning, knowledge creation, innovation, and service can only be realized in an environment where people are supported and valued for their humanity, without prejudice, and where inclusion, collaboration, and sharing are core principles.


Pursuant to our commitment and goals, the department will appoint and support the AeroAstro Faculty, Student, and Staff Standing Committee on Race and Diversity, reporting to the department head, to develop action plans to protect and nurture the mental and physical well-being of each member of our community, to increase the inclusion of underrepresented minorities and women, and to address other such opportunities as appropriate.


The MIT AeroAstro Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee comprise faculty, staff, and students interested in advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The goal of the DEI Committee is to represent the many different perspectives of our community. The DEI Committee will listen, gain feedback, and provide updates and actions related to our commitment to improving department culture. In order to ensure that diverse voices and opinions are represented at the meetings, the DEI Committee meetings will be open to the entire AeroAstro community.

Committee Members (2021-2022)

NameRole
Kristen Joyce AmmonsGraduate Student
Katya ArquillaPostdoctoral Associate
Steven Barrett Associate Department Head
Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Sara CodyCommunications Officer
Rosemary K. DavidsonGraduate Student, Diversity Fellow
Annick DewaldGraduate Student
Paula do Vale PereiraGraduate Student
Sebastian EasthamResearch Scientist
Pam FradkinAdministrative Assistant
Chloe GentgenGraduate Student
Wesley HarrisC.S. Draper Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Daniel HastingsAssociate Dean of Engineering for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Cecil and Ida Green Education Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Department Head
Jess JohnsonProgram Manager, Small Satellite Center
Michelle LinGraduate Student
Paulo LozanoM. Alemán-Velasco Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Beth MaroisGraduate Program Administrator
Fran MarroneAdministrative Assistant
Rebecca MastersonPrincipal Research Scientist
Maya NasrGraduate Student
Brían O’ConaillAdministrative Officer
Hannah OvaskaHuman Resources Administrator
Denise PhillipsDiversity Officer
Nicholas RoyProfessor of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Elliott SeamanUndergraduate Student
June StenzelGraduate Student
Robin TianUndergraduate Student
Kevin WangGraduate Student, Diversity Fellow
Emily WilliamsGraduate Student
Moe Z. WinProfessor of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Syed Shayan ZahidGraduate Student

The AeroAstro Diversity Fellowship is awarded to two currently enrolled Ph.D. students. Two Fellows are selected each academic year in the AeroAstro Department. The Diversity Fellows must have demonstrated passion and commitment to improving and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the AeroAstro community. This fellowship aims to build an inclusive community within AeroAstro and support historically underrepresented groups in aerospace engineering. Specifically underrepresented minorities, LGBTQIA+, low-income, and first-generation students, and students with disabilities. This prestigious fellowship is an excellent opportunity to develop skills critical to a leader in industry or academia.

Meet the 2022 Diversity Fellows

Annick Dewald

Annick (she/her) is a Ph.D. student in the International Center for Air Transportation working with Professor John Hansman on a long-endurance solar aircraft concept for earth observation. While at MIT, she has served on the Graduate Women in Aerospace Engineering (GWAE) board as chair of the advocacy committee and president. In these roles, she has organized professional development events, facilitated a mentoring program for incoming members, and developed department strategies for combatting gender-based bias and harassment. Annick is a founding member of QuASAR, a department affinity group for members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies. She currently serves on the planning committee, organizing social and professional development events. Lastly, Annick has been involved in GAAP (Graduate Application Assistance Program) since its conception, where she has aided applicants from underrepresented backgrounds throughout the application process.

Bazyli M. Szymanski

Bazyli grew up in Warsaw, Poland, and came to MIT in 2019. He is a Ph.D. student in the International Center for Air Transportation (ICAT) studying airline revenue management problems under Dr. Peter Belobaba. He is an active member of the MIT Grad Hillel and the MIT European Club, where he serves as a Social Chair and co-organizes the European Career Fair. He has played in the badminton and soccer AeroAstro Intramurals teams and has recently picked up curling! In his role as Diversity Fellow, Bazyli is looking forward to advancing AeroAstro’s DEI goals and contributing to the well-being of all in the departmental community.

The AeroAstro Diversity Fellowship is awarded to two currently enrolled graduate students who must be PhD candidates at the start of their tenure as a Diversity Fellow. Two Fellows are selected each academic year in the AeroAstro Department. The Diversity Fellows must have demonstrated passion and commitment to improving and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the AeroAstro community. The goals of this fellowship are to build an inclusive community within AeroAstro and to support historically underrepresented groups in aerospace engineering, specifically gender minority, underrepresented minority, LGBTQIA+, low-income, and first-generation students, as well as students with disabilities. This prestigious fellowship is an excellent opportunity to develop skills critical to a leader in industry or academia.

Scope of Fellowship

  • Support the efforts of the MIT AeroAstro Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee
  • Support the efforts of the MIT AeroAstro Diversity Officer
  • Participate in event planning
  • Participate in recruitment and outreach
  • Work with the leadership of MIT AeroAstro student organizations (AIAA, WAE, GWAE, GA^3, AeroAfro, dREFS, RPA^3)
  • Educate the AeroAstro community on diversity best practices in aerospace, academia, and in general

Commitment

Diversity Fellows must commit to two semesters. The estimated time commitment is 10-12 hours per week. This Fellowship may also continue over the summer term.

Compensation for the Academic Year

This Fellowship covers expenses equivalent to those covered by a half-RA for one academic year. The Fellowship may also continue over the summer term.

Eligibility & Application Requirements

The application process opens on Oct. 18, 2021. Please direct any questions to the AeroAstro Diversity Officer. To be eligible, applicants must be current Ph.D. candidates in AeroAstro at the start of their Fellowship tenure. Applicants must submit:

  • Resume
  • One page written Diversity Statement that speaks to your commitment to and experience with advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts
  • One letter of Recommendation from someone (not necessarily AeroAstro) who can speak to your involvement with community building
  • Signed form from advisor accepting terms of Fellowship

MIT Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
ERGs are one example of the variety of MIT-sponsored activities that all staff, including support staff, are encouraged to attend. Participation in these kinds of activities may provide long-term business benefits for MIT and professional and personal development for the participants. Participation in ERGs also contributes to a strong sense of “one community” at MIT.

LGBTQ+ Services
LBGTQ+ Services supports numerous student, employee, and alumni groups as well as other departments and initiatives on campus aiming to foster equity, intersectionality, and the continuum of social justice. From individual student support to organizational development and institutional policy advocacy, LBGTQ+ Services’ support, programming, and educational endeavors aim to enhance the experiences of MIT’s LBGTQ+ community.

QuASAR
The Queer Advocacy Space in AeroAstRo is a group for all members of the AeroAstro community that are part of the LGBTQ+ community and our allies. This group has two primary goals; to create a space where LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty can make connections in the department and improve the department culture around queer and trans-related issues.

Veterans
MIT and the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics welcome veterans, service members, dependents, and affiliates from the US and abroad! In addition to graduate and undergraduate students, we count several veterans among our staff, faculty, and administration. As veterans may have unique circumstances and needs, we have linked some resources below to assist you with your journey to, though, and beyond MIT. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our student groups or the Department for additional assistance.

MIT Veterans Student Association
This group provides outreach, community-building, and advocacy to foreign and domestic MIT community veterans, active duty service members, national guard, and reservists.

Graduate Veterans Benefits
Learn about the resources available to graduate student veterans from MIT Student Financial Services.

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) sponsors a wide range of events, activities and initiatives for the AeroAstro community. From courageous conversations on specific topics related to race to co-sponsored large-scale celebrations of diverse cultures in the AeroAstro community. 

Thankful Gathering, November 2019

Events organized to promote ongoing DEI efforts include:

  • Blindspots Dialogue Series
    The Blind Spot Dialogue Speaker Series is a platform to provide a space to bring the AeroAstro community together with an invited faculty scholar who present and discuss evidence-based DEI relevant topics related to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Gender, and LGBTQ+ issues. Each talk has a centralized theme.
  • Fireside Chat
    The Fireside Chat Series is a platform for the AeroAstro community to come together to increase cultural awareness through discussing relevant Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion topics in Higher Education. Additionally, we explore current events and DEI evidence-based literature, and selected books on the topic of race.
  • Promoting Inclusive Office Environments (PIE)
    In collaboration with the Institute Discrimination and Harrassment Response Office, AeroAstro provided PIE lab trainings to all AeroAstro labs
  • #ShutDownSTEM
    Denise Phillips and Raina K. Puels worked together with other members of administrative staff as well as GA^3 to host a virtual day-long program to engage the entire AeroAstro community in a discussion about systemic racism, which included topics such as unpacking privilege and addressing microaggressions in the classroom.

Contact

Denise Phillips, M.Ed.
AeroAstro Diversity Officer
Pronouns: she/hers

Email: dap1@mit.edu or aa-diversity@mit.edu
Office: 33-315

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