The Engineering Division at NYU Abu Dhabi is committed to the values of inclusion, diversity, belonging, and equity (IDBE): inclusion, where all thoughts are heard and welcomed; diversity, where communities and activities are represented with a spectrum of ideas, backgrounds, and experiences; belonging, where community members strive to create an environment of warmth and positive experiences and are comfortable being themselves; and equity, where opportunities are provided for individuals to grow and broaden their horizons while accounting for past experiences.
A genuine source of creativity and innovation at our division comes from the diversity of its members’ demographics and educational backgrounds. Our students, researchers, administrators, instructors, and faculty come from all around the world. These best minds come together to advance technologies, support the global economy, and contribute to building a better future. We view our diversity as an invaluable asset, from which we leverage values of diversity to nurture mutual respect and promote collaborative innovation. Within engineering, we embrace the diversity of thought and foresee it as an absolute necessity for educating the next generation of engineers and global leaders.
Our goal is to be an inclusive and welcoming community that values diversity and strives for equity. Our belief is that without diversity we cannot achieve excellence and innovation. As an academic division, our overarching goal is to integrate IDBE values into the daily life of engineers, in terms of education, practice, and professional activities. Consequently, we set the following targets to achieve our vision:
The Engineering Division at NYU Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with the Office of Inclusion and Equity, is devoted to educating future engineers and aims to educate the community on how IDBE and Engineering are tied in our daily life, in terms of education and practices. Therefore, we established the Engineering IDBE Seminar Series at the core of our mission. The virtual monthly seminars will be attended by students, researchers, staff, and faculty from Engineering as well as from the diverse family of NYU Abu Dhabi. The following tentative schedule show the list of invited speakers:
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential in today’s world to achieve individual and collective research goals and quality education. In this talk, the speaker will discuss various diversity, equity, and inclusion-related initiatives that the speaker took during his tenure at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Toronto, and Howard University.
The speaker will also discuss some best-practice strategies to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the engineering community, institutions, and research labs. Using his research, the speaker will highlight how low-income people’s access to transportation is related to transport equity issues. Finally, the speaker will shed some light on the connections between COVID-19 and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Dr. Md Sami Hasnine, Howard University, Washington DC, USA
Dr. Maha Bali, American University in Cairo, Egypt
This talk looks at transportation from a social point of view. In addition to poverty, social exclusion is a major cause for capability deprivation. When addressing poverty and inequality, policy-makers tend to focus on education and jobs, without much focus on access to jobs. Research has shown that there is a strong link between physical mobility and social mobility. Access to jobs and education expands economic opportunities for people, which in turn allows them to improve their lives.
Rana Tomaira is a lecturer and research scientist in the Social Research and Public Policy program at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). She holds a PhD in City and Regional Planning and a Masters in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley, and a BSc in Architectural Engineering from the University of Jordan. Her research interest is in comparative development policies and practices with a focus on the Arab world.
Dr. Rana Tomaira, New York University Abu Dhabi, UAE
All communities deserve clean air and water, and one’s life expectancy should never be determined by zip code, race or income. Building a green economy can open a vast array of new economic opportunities, bringing good paying jobs and investment to communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change. For this to happen, equity must be at the core of efforts to fight climate change, poverty and pollution. Greenlining’s Environmental Equity team has led the drafting and passage of crucial laws to improve health and environmental quality for low-income communities and communities of color and bring green dollars to these communities. This session will give an overview of our environmental equity theory of change and the many ways that we work to ensure these policies get implemented effectively across issues of climate change, adaptation and resilience, clean transportation and mobility, and community development.
Hana Creger, Environmental Equity Program Manager, works on the development and implementation of policies leading to clean transportation and mobility investments that will benefit low-income communities of color. She was the lead author of the Mobility Equity Framework, a tool that can be used to maximize equity outcomes and community engagement in transportation planning and decision-making. Hana was also the lead author of Autonomous Vehicle Heaven or Hell? Creating a Transportation Revolution that Benefits All, a report outlining policy recommendations to ensure mobility, health, and economic benefits to marginalized communities. She serves on a number of advisory committees for cities, agencies, universities, and nonprofits for projects relating to shared mobility, public transit, electric mobility and autonomous vehicles. Hana holds a B.A. in sustainability from San Diego State University.
Ms. Hana Creger, The Greenlining Institute, USA
It is widely acknowledged that the factors that have resulted in marginalized communities being the hardest hit by health and environmental challenges related to poorly-performing housing are rooted more in past decisions than in present events or market dynamics. Social scientific research has demonstrated that redlining, historical and ongoing disinvestment, inequitable planning processes, and environmental racism have led to unequal and racialized landscapes in the built environment. STEM researchers and scholars often prematurely develop projections of a future desired state without first understanding the history of discrimination that have contributed to inequalities for affected communities. This presentation reflects on three critical questions: 1) What has led to a given community’s state of disadvantage compared to other communities? 2) How does this community define (racial) equity and environmental sustainability? and 3) How will the community’s knowledge and lived experiences inform – and ideally drive – technical solutions to energy poverty and unsustainable building performance?
Dr. Obonyo is the Director of the Global Building Network, a partnership between the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and Penn State. She is also an Associate Professor of Engineering Design and Architectural Engineering. Dr Obonyo was a 2015/ 2016 Jefferson Science Fellow placed with the USAID Global Development Lab in DC. Between August 2004 and July 2015, she was a faculty member at the University of Florida's (UF) Rinker School of Construction Management. Dr. Obonyo has extensive industry experience, having worked as a Construction Engineer, Project Manager and Innovations Analyst in several engineering and construction companies in Kenya, the United Kingdom and the United States. Her work has been disseminated through over 100 journal papers, conference proceedings and presentations. She is on the editorial board of three Journals – Journal of IT in Construction, Buildings and Intelligent Systems. She was also guest editor for the Journal of Sustainability.
Dr. Esther A. Obonyo, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Dr. Jo Handelsman's knowledge of diversity in science stems from her personal experience with prejudice, which led to her work aimed at introducing evidence-based training to enhance the representation of women in academic science and the challenge of diversifying the scientific community in her role as a science advisor to President Obama. She will present data about the impact of bias in the workplace, argue that enterprises cannot achieve their potential without dismantling these barriers, and suggest strategies to do so.
Dr. Jo Handelsman is currently the Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a Vilas Research Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. Previously, she served for President Obama for three years as the Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She received her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Molecular Biology and has served on the faculties of UW-Madison and Yale University. Dr. Handelsman has authored over 200 papers, 30 editorials and 6 books. She is responsible for groundbreaking studies in microbial communication and work in the field of metagenomics. She is also widely recognized for her contributions to science.
Prof. Jo Handelsman, University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA
In the IDBE in Engineering seminar, Dr. Heather Metcalf will share her applied research on gender, intersectionality, and the STEM workforce. She will review the intersectionality framework, based in women of color feminisms and social justice movements, that guides her work and demonstrate how those working on inclusion, diversity, belonging, and equity in STEM can use it in research, policy, and practice.
Heather Metcalf, PhD, is the Director of Research and Constituent Relations for the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN). She serves as an investigator on several NSF-funded initiatives including the ADVANCE Resource and Coordination (ARC) Network, which focuses on gender equity in academic STEM through an inclusive, intentional, and intersectional lens; ACCESS+, which works with STEM professional societies to create intersectional gender equity; and the I-Corps Inclusion and New Jersey Equity in Commercialization Collectives, both of which aim to create more equitable and inclusive STEM entrepreneurship ecosystems. Dr. Metcalf has undergraduate degrees in applied mathematics and computer science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, master’s degrees in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and gender studies from the University of Arizona, and a doctorate in higher education, focused on science and technology policy, from the University of Arizona.
Dr. Heather Metcalf, University of Michigan, USA