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Stanford honors engineering professor and LGBT center with awards for diversity

This year’s individual winner is Professor Sheri Sheppard. The 2014 program winner is the LGBT Community Resources Center.
Sheri D. Sheppard, professor of mechanical engineering, is this year’s individual recipient of the 2014 President’s Award for Excellence Through Diversity. | Photo by John Todd

A mechanical engineering professor praised "for serving as a trailblazing role model for women in engineering," and a campus center lauded "for fostering a strong and diverse LGBT community" will each receive a 2014 President's Award for Excellence Through Diversity.

The awards were established in 2009 to recognize and honor individuals and programs that have made exceptional contributions to enhancing and supporting diversity within the campus community.

This year's individual winner is Sheri D. Sheppard, a professor of mechanical engineering, and the Burton J. and Deedee McMurtry University Fellow in Undergraduate Education.

The program that won this year's award is the LGBT Community Resources Center, which provides a warm and welcoming space for the extremely diverse population of students celebrating, questioning, investigating and struggling with sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

President John Hennessy will present the awards at a private ceremony this week.

Sheri D. Sheppard

Sheppard was honored for rigorous scholarship revealing how people become engineers and applying those findings to increase diversity in the field.

The award citation commended her "for championing the importance of designing more diverse teaching materials – course activities, examples and questions – that incorporate a wide array of fields and cultures."

Sheppard was honored for more than 25 years of mentoring undergraduate students in the Stanford Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows Program.

She was lauded as the founding faculty member of the Stanford Summer Engineering Academy, a program that attracts students traditionally underrepresented in engineering.

Sheppard also was commended "for her consistent efforts to recruit, advise, mentor and retain women and underrepresented minorities to engineering."

Finally, Sheppard was honored "for inspiring and mentoring new generations of engineers and changing the face of engineering education in this country."

LGBT Community Resources Center

The LGBT Community Resources Center, whose staff is composed of students and professionals, offers outreach and diversity awareness workshops, hosts special events, and helps students develop strong support, social and academic networks.

Two former student staff members will accept the award on behalf of the center.

The center was honored for helping the LGBT community grow and develop, making Stanford "a safe and welcoming campus for all."

The award citation commended the center "for leadership in providing QuEST (Queer Events and Services Team), a consulting service that connects the Stanford LGBT community with students, faculty, staff and alumni."

The center was lauded "for QuEST's support of advocacy initiatives, community programming and collaborations with student groups, as well as on-campus and off-campus organizations."

Finally, the center was honored "for providing a wide range of services – from help with planning to providing connections and university-specific information to offering funding – fostering a strong and diverse LGBT community."