Virginia Tech® home

Diversity Scholars

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

Each spring, the Graduate School holds a "Diversity Scholars Showcase" during which Diversity Scholars give short lightning-round style presentations about their projects. This year's showcase will be held during Graduate Education Week in March.

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.  An application is required.

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

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

Applications must include:

  1. A recent copy of your C.V./Resume.
  2. A brief overview/extended abstract of your proposed project (300-500 words).
  3. A draft timeline of the steps required to carry out the project (limit to 300 words).
  4. A budget estimate that provides an idea of how much funding (<$300) you will need to carry out your project.

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 March, Diversity Scholars will present their initiatives to the University community at the annual Diversity Scholars Showcase 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.

Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Strategic Partnerships