Caltech: CCID Celebrates Leaders in Diversity and Inclusion

The Caltech Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CCID) recently honored 10 campus leaders, each nominated by members of the Institute community, at its annual Celebration of Excellence award ceremony.

“We are honored and excited to celebrate the members of our community who exemplify leadership and excellence in advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility,” said CCID director Tashiana Bryant-Myrick.

The CCID introduced three new awards to the event, held virtually this year:

The IDEA Ally Award recognizes people who exceed everyday expectations and are dedicated to cultivating a diverse and inclusive environment on campus.

The IDEA Advocate Award is given to individuals who promote the needs and experiences of other students, staff, and faculty to challenge systemic barriers that impede individuals from contributing to the classroom, workplace, or community.

The IDEA Outreach and Education Award is dedicated to individuals who teach and inspire interest in inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) in the community at large.

“As long as I’m at Caltech, my door is open to everybody,” said Rochelle “Shelley” Diamond, a member of the professional staff of the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering and recipient of the IDEA Outreach and Education Award. “We need to make sure that everybody feels safe and encouraged to do their very best. . . . The perspectives are important for doing our work.”

Diamond was nominated by Ellen Rothenberg, Edward B. Lewis Professor of Biology, who acknowledged Diamond’s 40-year career at the Institute and her efforts to raise public awareness, appreciation, and acceptance among the LGBTQIA+ community. Diamond is a co-founder and chair emeritus of the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals, now known as Out to Innovate.

The complete list of 2022 honorees includes:

IDEA Ally Award winners: Shreya Anand for her service as a co-chair of the FUTURE of Physics initiative and a leader of Gender Minorities and Women in Physics, Math and Astronomy; and Rebeccah Warmack for her advocacy within the scientific community and her participation as a mentor in the Freshman Summer Research Institute (FSRI).
IDEA Advocate Award winners: Lilian Dove for her mentorship and leadership in improving the climate for equity and inclusion within the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences and the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering; and Adam Wierman for his leadership role in founding the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee and improving the climate within the Computing and Mathematical Sciences Department.
IDEA Outreach and Education Award winner: Rochelle Diamond for her mentorship and civic engagement in support of the LGBTQIA+ community within Caltech, and on regional and national levels.
CCID Agent of Change Award winner: Melany Hunt for her service as chair of the DEI committee within the Division of Engineering and Applied Science and her creation of a new course to support FSRI participants.
CCID Activist Scholar Award winners: Levi Palmer for his participation in advocacy campaigns for minoritized identities and his leadership in forming affinity spaces and targeted support programs for underrepresented individuals; and Jennifer Yu for her dedication to better understanding and for serving communities susceptible to health care barriers in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis and treatment.
Candace Rypisi Outstanding Mentor Award winner: Claire Saunders for her willingness to share knowledge and enhance both professional and personal development.
Outstanding Mentee Award winner: Anastasiya Grebin for her independence, thoughtfulness, and intellectual rigor, along with her commitment to ethics in biomedical research.
The President’s Diversity Council and leaders of student clubs affiliated with the CCID also were acknowledged for their service.

The ceremony also served as a farewell tribute to Taso Dimitriadis, who joined the Caltech community in 2010 and became a staff member of the then Caltech Center for Diversity in 2013. In his latest role, he served as associate director of the CCID, helping to develop and implement social justice, cultural awareness, and identity development initiatives. Dimitriadis also led the FSRI and served as a campus-wide nonclinical confidential resource to support Caltech community members addressing identity-related and experiential needs.