We welcome Sandra Charles as head of the Diversity Office

Kay Van Vreede

Kay Van Vreede, head of the Workforce Development and Resources Section, wrote this column.

With the recent retirement of Dianne Engram, the Fermilab Equal Opportunity and Diversity Office is now headed by Sandra Charles, formerly our equal opportunity diversity specialist, with support from Linda Diepholz. We at WDRS look forward to working with Sandra as she settles into her new position.

Sandra’s focus will be in four main areas. The first is the development of sources, both locally and nationally, of diverse candidates for openings at the laboratory. Our lab is working together with 16 other national laboratories to participate at national career fairs to attract underrepresented minority candidates. In February Sandra will be on the lookout for great talent at the Emerging Researchers Conference in STEM and the National Society of Black Physicists.

Sandra Charles

The second focus area is inclusion activities at the lab. Sandra is working with the Fermilab Women’s Initiative Group to sponsor a series of events beginning in March, which is Women’s History Month.

Pipeline programs to develop STEM talent are the third area, and Fermilab offers four major programs here. Even before she took over the Diversity Office, Sandra did a great job running the summer TARGET program for local high school students interested in STEM careers. The SIST program is a summer internship program for undergraduates. And GEM is a network of national laboratories, research institutions, universities and companies that enables qualified students from underrepresented communities to pursue graduate education in science or engineering. Through GEM we select two students each year to work at the lab in the summers. We have hired many of our GEM graduates, who have gone on to very successful careers at the lab. Sandra is also responsible for the lab’s cooperative education program.

Finally, Sandra will be responsible for writing our annual affirmative action plan and ensuring that the lab is in compliance with federal and state equal-opportunity laws.

Welcome, Sandra, to your new role!

Please note that some of the responsibilities that were part of this office have moved. Discrimination and sexual harassment complaints as well as accommodation requests made under the Americans with Disabilities Act now go to the appropriate HR partner. The management of the Employee Assistance Program has moved to the Benefits Office.