March 22, 2021

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

project team members sitting at table

Cyberinfrastructure Team at the 2019 NM SMART Grid Center All Hands Meeting


By Selena Connealy

“The need for a robust and diverse STEM workforce has been reiterated for decades, and it is one of the current administration’s top priorities in order to maintain America’s historical preeminence in the STEM fields." - Dr. Panchanathan, NSF Director on Broadening Participation at NSF

The events of the past year have brightened the spotlight on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the U.S. and the concomitant challenges presented by systemic racism, unequal access to education and technology, and low participation in the research enterprise by women and minorities. However, broadening participation in STEM has been a consistent commitment of NM EPSCoR, dating back to our first NSF EPSCoR Infrastructure award in 2002. 

There is no question that increasing NM’s research capacity must include provisions to engage our diverse population. Our state is diverse and is becoming increasingly more so. About 75% of NM’s K-12 students belong to minority groups underrepresented in STEM and half of the remaining students are girls, bringing the total to more than 87% (! 

I am very pleased to share that NM EPSCoR’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is now codified in a statement that is featured on our website. This statement was developed by the NM SMART Grid Center Diversity and Inclusion Team in 2020. 

Diversity and Inclusion Statement

The diversity of the people of New Mexico has been a source of innovation and creativity throughout our state’s history. NM EPSCoR respects and values diversity of all types, including race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, education, socioeconomic status, ability, and more. We see diversity as a source of strength, and we strive to create an inclusive, collaborative, and equitable environment where everyone can realize their full potential. NM EPSCoR particularly acknowledges the acute need to remove barriers to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of talented students, faculty, and staff from historically excluded populations who are currently underrepresented.

Diversity and Inclusion in Practice

We recognize that it is not enough to affirm our commitment to diversity and inclusion with a statement. We must actively seek to examine our project practices, process, and programs to ensure that we are fostering an inclusive environment, providing support for all project team members, and engaging people across all of NM’s post-secondary institutions including research universities, comprehensive universities, and community colleges.  

The NM SMART Grid Center has a number of programs and initiatives in support of diversity and inclusion.

NM SMART Grid Center Diversity and Inclusion Team (2020)

Laura Boucheron, NMSU
Camilla Bustamante SFCC 
Selena Connealy, NM EPSCoR
Trilce Estrada, UNM
Anne Jakle, NM EPSCoR
Kristin Leigh, Explora
William Michener, NM EPSCoR
Sara Pichette, NM EPSCoR
Enrico Pontelli, NMSU
Kevin Wedeward, NMT
Jonathan Wheeler, UNM