College of Sciences Faculty, Staff Honored at 2021 Diversity Symposium

Eight members of the College of Sciences were honored for their work on expanding representation at Georgia Tech during the 2021 Diversity Symposium on Sept. 15th, sponsored by Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Lewis Wheaton, associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences and co-chair of the College of Sciences’ Task Force on Racial Equity, is the 2021 Diversity Champion Faculty Award winner. The 2021 Diversity Champion Awards recognize members of the faculty, staff, and student body, and a unit (office, department, school, or lab) who are advancing the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Georgia Tech community.

Wheaton is a lead principal investigator for a $16 million National Institutes of Health-FIRST proposal, a collaborative project across several institutions that includes the aim of hiring 10 new underrepresented minority faculty in the College of Sciences and College of Engineering joint neuroscience program at Georgia Tech. He is also co-principal investigator on an NSF-funded Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates program in human neuroscience, which focuses on increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities from limited-resource undergraduate institutions.

During the Sept. 15th event, seven College of Sciences faculty and staff were named Faces of Inclusive Excellence:

Juan Archila, Director of Facilities and Capital Planning, College of Sciences

Serves as the principal empowerment officer for the HOLA (Hispanics Or Latinos and Allies) Employee Resource Group. Led the steering committee to create the College of Sciences Staff Advisory Council. Served on the team that won the 2020 Process Improvement Excellence Award from Georgia Tech Human Resources.

Ruth Kanfer, Professor, School of Psychology:

Co-author of 2021 book Ageless Talent, on managing work­force age diversity. Founding director of the Work Science Center initiative.

Wenjing Liao, Assistant Professor, School of Mathematics:

Won a National Science Foundation (NSF) award in deep neural networks for structured data as a principal investigator in 2020, representing the third NSF award and fourth award overall she has won since becoming an assistant professor at Tech in 2017.

Stephanie Reikes, Lecturer, School of Mathematics:

Received the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) Undergraduate Educator Award in 2021 for contributions supporting at-risk students. Actively fosters classroom en­vironments in which diversity and inclusion are respected by all.

Kathy Sims, Development Assistant, College of Sciences:

Serves as chair of the College of Sciences’ Staff Advisory Council. Served on the Task Force for Racial Equity. Member of the Employee Engagement Leadership Council and a recipient of the Women of Georgia Tech ERG Safeguard Freedom of Inquiry and Expression Award.

Emily Weigel, Senior Academic Professional, School of Biological Sciences:

Received the Ecological Society of America’s Education Scholar award for the creation of environmental justice materials on Atlanta’s water quality using open-source coding software readable by screen readers (Inclusive Pedagogy, Data Access Faculty).

Mayya Zhilova, Assistant Professor, School of Mathematics:

Recipient of the 2021 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program Award for research in statistical analysis, outreach, and mentorship plans for students and high schoolers from underrepresented communities.

“All honorees featured in Faces of Inclusive Excellence share one thing in common: They epitomize excellence in their research, teaching, leadership, and service, or have been honored and otherwise recognized by their peers within their respective fields of endeavor,” says IDEI Vice President Archie Ervin. “When you dive deeper to explore the source of Georgia Tech’s greatness, you discover that this diverse group of faculty, staff, and students reveals the true faces of inclusive excellence.”