September 4, 2007
University Recognizes Three APL Staffers for Diversity Efforts
Since 2003, the Johns Hopkins Diversity Leadership Council (DLC) has been formally recognizing faculty, staff members, and students from the various Hopkins campuses who demonstrate a commitment to the advancement and celebration of diversity. Three APL staff members were among those honored at the DLC's fifth annual Diversity Recognition Awards held May 2 at the Homewood campus.
R. Holder, a software research engineer in the Research and Technology Development Center, was honored for his involvement in a number of diversity-related activities at the Lab. He helped establish APL's African American Culture Club and has assisted in planning the Lab's Black History Month programs for the past 6 years. Holder has also served as president of the Johns Hopkins Black Faculty and Staff Association, a Hopkins-wide group that aims to foster a sense of identity and connection among black faculty, staff, and students at the JHU institutions.
Holder came to the Lab in August 2000 and almost immediately became involved in the Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program by volunteering as a mentor to students at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore. He says a number of things inspire him to reach out to students: "Part of it is feeling the need to give back and help others out of debt to the many people who helped me; part of it is seeing a need that I have the ability to help address; part of it is just the enjoyment of passing lessons I've learned along to others."
Also honored with awards were L. Duong and L. Afram, both of the Applied Information Sciences Department. The two women were recognized for establishing APL's Asian American Heritage Club in August 2006, a club that is open to all staff members. The club has hosted three major events so far — a Fall Festival in October 2006, Lunar New Year in February 2007, and a series of presentations, posters, and displays to mark Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May 2007. "APL staff members come from all over the world," says Duong. "Our diversity as a staff provides an opportunity for mutual understanding, improving communication between Lab staff, customers, sponsors, and the community outside of APL. We feel the awareness and respect of other cultures will create a better working environment and bring people closer."
The club continues to host events and honor observances that promote awareness of Asian culture among Lab staff members. Cultural exchange sessions are held monthly, where attendees learn about a country while sampling its traditional foods. "We were honored to receive the Hopkins Diversity Leadership award," Duong says. This recognition is not only for the Asian American Heritage Club, but it also reflects the support from the Lab to all diversity groups at APL." Holder, too, feels that the award was a real honor.
G. Boyd, executive assistant to the APL chief of staff and chair of the Diversity Leadership Council, served as emcee at the ceremony, where she and JHU President B. Brody gave out the awards.