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Diversity Scholars

Group with Diversity shirts in front of GLC

What is a Diversity Scholar?

Diversity scholars are graduate students who specialize in and advocate for the awareness, knowledge, and skills associated with diversity and inclusion in the Graduate School and greater community. A diversity scholar's goal is to create dialogue, provide advocacy, and implement change for a more diverse and inclusive experience for all graduate students, faculty, staff, and administrators. This involvement can take place in many forms and can be specific to a particular curriculum or department, or it can be more global.

Diversity scholars propose, design, and implement projects that enhance the quality of life at Virginia Tech in terms of one or all of the following:

  1. Equity - fair opportunities and access.
  2. Inclusion - a climate of welcome and affirmation.
  3. Diversity - demographic representation from a broad range of backgrounds, particularly from historically underrepresented and under-served groups.

As Diversity Scholars, graduate students exhibit the following strengths and knowledge in their work:

  • Intercultural/Cross-Cultural Understanding
  • Advocacy Competencies
  • Identity Development Models
  • Communication Competencies
  • Conflict Resolution Skills
  • Attention to Power Dynamics
  • Interests of Particular Constituencies/Populations

At the end of each Spring semester in May, the Graduate School holds a "Diversity Spotlight" luncheon program, during which Diversity Scholars give short lightning-round style presentations about their projects.You can find information about the 2021 scholars and their work in this program

Diversity Scholars are chosen based upon their competency and experiences in diversity and inclusion, knowledge about cultural differences, and belief in the Virginia Tech Principles of Community.  A nomination (including self-nomination) and an application are required.

Minimum eligibility requirements must be met to apply or be nominated; these requirements include:

  • Must be a current, full-time graduate student
  • Must be in good standing with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Nominations are due by Friday, December 11.

Applications are due by Friday, December 18, and must include:

  1. A recent copy of your C.V./Resume.
  2. A brief proposal (overview/extended abstract).
  3. A one-page, draft timeline of the steps required to carry out the project.
  4. A complete budget that provides an idea of how much funding (<$500) you will need to carry out your project.

NOTE: Additional details and instructions available on the application website

To demonstrate competency in diversity and inclusion, applicants are encouraged to take GRAD 5214: Diversity and Inclusion for A Global Society, or to demonstrate knowledge based on past experience (e.g., work with diversity and/or inclusion) or course work (e.g., counselor education, sociology).

The program officially takes place in the spring semester but projects/initiatives can be implemented year round. There will be bi-monthly or monthly group meetings and training sessions, which will be scheduled with group input. In late April or early May, Diversity Scholars will present their initiatives to the University community at the annual Diversity Spotlight event.

Each diversity scholar brings gifts of service, culture, and experience. As recognition of these gifts, each scholar will receive $300 for the contributions offered to the university. Additionally, if a student presents their project at a conference, the Graduate School will assist with the conference fees and/or travel, with approval.