At Stanford, I’ve been encouraged to bring all of myself to the work I do. Instead of having to hide who I am, I’ve been encouraged to add my unique voice to the conversation. As the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the School of Engineering, I hope to help students do the same. I’m excited to be part of efforts to bring together resources from across campus to better attract, support and retain students from all backgrounds. I’m working with a team that is deeply committed to the idea that we can only achieve excellence, and we can only be a leader, if we really embrace and look deeply at the issues impacting diversity.
We rarely take the time to note that at any given moment there are many students experiencing academic or personal challenges. While struggle is normal and to some extent inevitable, we can do better as a university to address obstacles to student success and well-being. A lot of the stories we read or hear in the media showcase people who are extremely successful. Those stories are valuable, but we contribute to building a healthier community when we also tell stories that illuminate the challenges people face on their way to success. We can do much better at explaining that everybody at some point is going to face some difficulty. It’s not a matter of if, but when. And when challenges arise, they are not a reflection of a person’s ability or worth.
In my work with students, I focus on trying to destigmatize struggle, and connect students to available resources. For a lot of people, there’s a stigma around services like tutoring, study groups or academic skills coaching. There is no shame in accessing the resources that are available, and there is also no shame in not having all of the answers. Asking for help does not demonstrate weakness; it’s what successful people do on their path to success.