Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Director of the Office of Minority Education DiOnetta Jones Crayton has received a prestigious award from the Women in Engineering Pro-Active Network (WEPAN). The award was presented on June 13 at the WEPAN 2017 Change Leader Forum in Colorado.
Founded in 1990, WEPAN is comprised of individuals from nearly 200 academic, corporate, government, and nonprofit organizations working to advance women in engineering in higher education and the workplace.
The Inclusive Culture and Equity Award honors individuals or groups that have been a “catalyst for change” at their institutions by creating and implementing inclusive initiatives, policies, or practices that enhance the culture and climate for women in engineering. Nominations are sought from many sources, including WEPAN members, university presidents, and leaders at organizations such as the American Society for Engineering Education.
Nominators describe Crayton as a “change agent” and a “tireless champion for diversity and inclusion for all in engineering, particularly for women and students of color.” One wrote, “She has deep knowledge of and insights into what interventions and programs would enhance the experiences of undergraduate engineering and other STEM students from groups that are underrepresented in these fields. I value her thoughtful contributions to discussions and the way she stands up for what she believes to be right and true.”
Another nominator praised Crayton’s work at MIT as a thought partner for senior administration and a mentor to other staff, adding, “In her mind there is a solution to every challenge … and she is always willing to go the extra mile to find it!”
Crayton came to MIT in 2009 from Cornell University, where she was director of diversity programs for the College of Engineering. Prior to Cornell, she worked at the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc.; the California Mathematics Engineering and Science Achievement Schools Program at the University of California at Berkeley; and the MESA Engineering Program at the University of the Pacific. She has assumed local and national leadership roles, including on the Massachusetts Governor’s Diversity Subcommittee on STEM, and has served on a number of diversity advisory boards.
“I have been working in STEM diversity initiatives for almost 25 years, and indeed, we have made great progress,” Crayton said at the WEPAN awards ceremony. “But there is still more work to be done. … I am proud to be doing this great work in partnership with WEPAN.”
In addition to Crayton, the Inclusive Culture and Equity Award was presented to one other individual: Joyce Yen, director of the ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change at the University of Washington.