Diversity Champions reception for volunteers and their years of valuable efforts

These employees attended Fermilab’s Diversity Champions employee volunteer recognition reception on Oct. 2. The Equal Opportunity & Diversity Office held the event to thank volunteers for their hard work over the years championing diversity within and outside of the lab. Photo: Jim Shultz

Fermilab’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity Office recognized employee volunteers at a reception held on Wilson Hall’s 15th floor on Oct. 2. The office, led by Equal Opportunity Manager Dianne Engram and Equal Opportunity Specialist Sandra Charles, hosted a reception for outstanding employee volunteers who have championed diversity initiatives and outreach on behalf of the laboratory over many years.

These “Diversity Champions” volunteer their time and expertise in a variety of ways. For example, they serve as mentors for students traditionally underrepresented in the sciences that come to Fermilab through pipeline programs such as SIST and TARGET.

“The 21 Diversity Champions have shown extraordinary willingness to share their time and expertise to encourage minority student performance, degree completion and career advancement in STEM fields,” Charles said. “This kind of volunteer effort is often unacknowledged in other ways at the lab.”

The reception was a way to give well-deserved formal recognition for these employees’ time and effort, Engram said.

“We wanted to thank them in a very public, meaningful way for what they have done for the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Office time and time again,” she said. “They have had an impact on students, other employees and potential future employees of the lab.”

Engram added that diversity program initiatives and outreach activities empower and provide opportunities for employees and students from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and add value to the lab as a whole. The individuals honored at the reception represent the diverse people, work and departments at Fermilab.

“A lot of what we do in our office requires engagement of employees across the lab; we require skill-sets beyond our own,” said Charles, who is also a member of the Employee Advisory Group. “Our neighbors look to us to serve as role models and champions of learning community-wide. This labels us as responsible and engaged corporate citizens.”

Marie Herman, an administrative support assistant in the Technical Division, is honored to have been named a Diversity Champion. Herman introduced the Certified Administrative Professionals class to Fermilab, preparing and teaching the lab’s first 18-week certification course to further administrative assistants’ skills in the workplace.

“I try to reach out to administrative professionals, building managers and others who work behind the scenes,” she said. “I want to ensure that they are given the same opportunities for education and professional development that are so prevalent for our scientists and technical staff.”

Volunteers like Herman often come up with their own ideas; they see a need and think of a way they can help out. Charles and Engram hope that more awareness about the work that these champions do will encourage others to seek out volunteer opportunities. To get involved with program or outreach initiatives, contact Sandra Charles at x4574.

Sarah Witman