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Marlette Jackson

Marlette Jackson

Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion

Sep 2018
I finished my PhD in political science three months ago. The challenges of being a student are still fresh for me.

I’m here to be someone who can help make a student’s experience at the School of Engineering the best that it can be.

As an undergrad, I was part of a cohort of first-generation college students. We lived together, took classes together and built strong bonds. It was a woman in my cohort who introduced me to research and connected me with my advisor. He opened my mind to the possibilities in higher education – like pursuing a PhD, which I didn’t know about before college.

I came to Stanford right after undergrad and was the youngest person in my cohort as well as the only black woman. Thankfully, I met a group of amazing women who were supportive – we did everything from reading each other’s papers to watching television together. Having them as a community, as well as being active in my church, really helped get me through the program. In my current work, it’s important to me to help students find communities where they can voice and feel ownership for their full authentic selves.

As a part of my doctoral research, I studied the barriers women face in career advancement. I’m devoted to illuminating the ways conscious bias, unconscious bias and structural or organizational policies, processes, etc. impact a woman’s ability to grow professionally. I also try to be cognizant that gender bias doesn’t happen in a vacuum, which is why it is critical to have an intersectional lens when designing programs and policies to mitigate it.

I always knew I wanted to work in higher ed administration. For a long time, I thought the only pathway to doing so was to become a faculty member and then transition over. After connecting with mentors in this field, I realized that wasn’t the case, and in short, that’s what led me to where I am today. It may sound strange, but as the Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the School of Engineering, my goal is to work myself out of a job. Success to me means that diversity and inclusion perspectives are ingrained in all of the systems and processes within higher education from recruitment to onboarding, mentorship, professional development, etc. Ultimately, my goal is to help shift perceptions around who can be an engineer. It’s about moving beyond preconceived notions of who belongs in this space to realize that anyone, no matter their background, gender, race, etc. has a place in this field.

Chor Seng Tan

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