ASC Faculty Selected for 2012 Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award
Two arts and sciences faculty received Ohio State’s 2012 Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award. Helen Chamberlin, associate professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and associate director, Mathematical Biosciences Institute, and Martin J. (Joe) Ponce, associate professor, Department of English, were recognized for their commitment to enhancing diversity at the university and to exceeding expectations in implementing the Diversity Action Plan.
Chamberlin runs a research lab that colleagues say should be used as the best-practice model in STEM education. She uses her research as a teaching tool to encourage undergraduates to pursue careers in the sciences and health professions, and the students involved invariably have found much success of their own: Of 12 who have participated in the program, 11 have received year-long scholarships to support their own research; 38 poster presentations have been made at local, regional and national conferences; and four of the five graduated students have been placed in PhD or health professional programs.
Although the program is aimed at all undergraduate students, Chamberlin has made a concerted effort to recruit and retain underrepresented minority students as well as women.
“Dr. Chamberlin is an outstanding scientist and faculty member who devotes an enormous amount of her time and effort to promoting diversity and inclusion in the biological sciences,” a colleague wrote. “Her contributions impact both the prestigious awards that her advisees receive while at OSU and the positions they obtain after graduation.”
Chamberlin promotes diversity in the larger community as well. As associate director of the Mathematical Biosciences Institute, she passionately advocates for diversity in postdoctoral study and works to recruit underrepresented postdoctoral associates to the MBI. She also initiated and staffed an MBI booth at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science national meeting and represented MBI on the National Alliance for Mathematical Sciences Institute for Broadening Participation. Helen is integral to the diversity mission of the MBI,” another nominator wrote. “She has been diligent and effective in ensuring that MBI considers diversity in all its programs.”
Marin J. (Joe) Ponce
In only his first six years at Ohio State, Joe Ponce has made considerable and lasting contributions to diversity as it relates not only to race or gender or sexuality or nationality — but to all of them. And his efforts encompass work in administration, teaching and student mentorship
“Joe’s work exemplifies the belief that one cannot compartmentalize identity or diversity, that we have to consider the full complexity of individuals if we are to if we are to create conditions that will allow them, especially those who have been marginalized in some way, to thrive,” a nominator wrote.
From his arrival at Ohio State in 2005, Ponce played a key role in the Asian American Studies program. He became coordinator of the program in only his second year, taking on the minor’s reconfiguration when he first took it over and again as part of semester conversion. He also serves as academic advisor for the minor.
He has played a role in the Sexuality Studies program’s gaining approval as an interdisciplinary major. He not only actively promotes the program, he often speaks and otherwise participates in its events.
Ponce’s teaching often focuses on Asian American literature, history and immigration as well as their intersection with other ethnic literature, history and immigration. As such, it is not a surprise that he was a co-founder of the Diversity and Identity Studies Collective at Ohio State, a collaboration of eight academic programs that focus on diversity and identity. “The growth of DISCO is due in large part to Joe’s vision, commitment and energy,” wrote one nominator. “I have always been impressed by his intellectual contributions of what DISCO might be to do real work in the lives of sexual, racial, national and linguistic minorities on our campus.”
Ohio State’s Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award program, now in its 27th year, rewards efforts to enhance diversity on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran or military service status, gender identity, economic status, political belief, marital status or social background. Recipients are honored with a plaque and a $1,200 honorarium at a ceremony. The University Senate Committee on Diversity sponsors the award program in cooperation with the Office of Human Resources.