September 2023 DI&A Digest Header
Engage with campus at Conversations with Mines DI&A

We invite you to three interactive sessions to learn about future plans for Mines DI&A. These conversations will also spotlight Mines community members for their contributions that advanced the goals of the Mines DI&A Strategic Plan. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend. 

September 27 @ 4:00 PM 
Student Center Ballrooms D&E
All are welcome – primary audience is undergraduate and graduate students 

October 3 @ 9:00 AM 
Student Center Ballrooms D&E
All are welcome – primary audience is faculty and staff 

October 9 @ noon
Virtual – Zoom
All are welcome  

Lite snacks and refreshments will be served at the in-person sessions. We look forward to seeing you! 

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month logoHispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) celebrates the rich and diverse Hispanic culture and honors Latinx people who have positively influenced and enriched our communities and country. Mines is home to two active groups that foster community for the Hispanic and Latinx communities: Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and Latinx Mines Community Alliance (MCA). These groups also hold campus events to raise cultural awareness, support professional development and engage networks both within and off campus. Students can join SHPE and their bi-monthly meetings, socials and outreach activities by visiting @SHPECSM | Linktree. Employees can join the Latinx MCA by completing a short sign-up form. All social identities are welcome to participate.

In recognition of this month, Mines Communications and Marketing team published celebratory Zoom backgrounds to use through October 15.

Eight Orediggers recognized for their contributions to DI&A at Mines

The annual individual and group DI&A awards were announced to campus last month. Award recipients demonstrated an exceptional understanding of diversity and inclusion as represented by their efforts to: 

  • enhance inclusion through fostering dialogue and positive communication between persons of different backgrounds,  

  • promote an environment free from bias and discrimination, 

  • raise awareness and lead initiatives that advance diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion, 

  • support efforts in the Mines DI&A Strategic Plan and/or 

  • serve as a catalyst for change in the areas of diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion, 

  • contribute to DI&A at Mines beyond primary position description or role expectations on campus.  

Congratulations to the 2023 recipients… 

Jeri Brewer, Assistant Director, PASCAL Center – Raising Awareness 
Dr. Kristine Callan, Teaching Professor, Department of Physics – Creating a Culture of Inclusion (Faculty)  
Amanda Jameer, Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry – Supporting Student Success 
Nellie Link, Department Manager and Graduate Program Manager, Department of Petroleum Engineering – Supporting Student Success 
Mines Asian Community Alliance – Outstanding Campus Engagement 
Dr. Alexis Navarre-Sitchler, Professor, Department of Geology and Geological Engineering – Supporting Faculty Development  
Davian Sandoval, Undergraduate Student – Creating a Culture of Inclusion (Student) 
Regina Willis, Associate Director of Disability Support Services – Creating a Culture of Inclusion (Staff) 

A description of recipients’ nomination was featured on Mines DI&A Instagram page throughout the week of 8/21 and each received a plaque. As you see this year’s recipients in virtual meetings or around campus, please help pass along a word of congratulations. These individuals and groups did outstanding work to promote an inclusive campus community and to advance Mines DI&A Strategic Plan goals.  

A special thanks for the awards review team for their work in selecting these outstanding individuals and groups. 

Progress Report Awards elevate departments and campus units for their contributions to DI&A at Mines

If you missed it earlier this month, we recognized the following academic departments and campus units who efforts, programs and initiatives helped create a welcoming and inclusive campus community for all Orediggers during the 2022-2023 academic year. Congratulations to the 2023 Diversity Progress Report award recipients…

President’s Choice – Academic Department: Geophysics 

President’s Choice – Nonacademic Department: Entrepreneurship & Innovation – McNeil Center 

Best in Recruitment and Retention: Computer Science

Best in Cultivating a Culture of Inclusion: Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences 

Best in Data and Metrics: Trefny Center 

If you would like to read the annual diversity reports of these recipients, or those of the major campus units and departments across campus, you can access all of them via a shared folder.

A special thank you to the review committee members who read and scored the reports.


Upcoming talks with a DI&A resonance through the Hennebach Program in the Humanities

Invisible Disabilities, Missing Song: a discussion of art, living, and loss 

October 4, 2023  
Marquez 126  

John Cotter started losing his hearing at age 30. Five years later, in the grip of vertigo and with sound too distorted to understand, he could no longer work at the job he loved or hike or hear music. He’d lost the life he’d planned, and was forced to start over, as a new person with an invisible disability and new limitations and a new understanding of the world. What followed was a struggle to adapt, and a search for meaning—a new kind of meaning, and new kind of connection to other people, to nature and to art. 

Speaking the Truth: a night with citizen journalist “V” Spehar 

October 12, 2023 
Metals Hall, Green Center 
4:00-5:00 PM 

V continues to stretch the limits of their content and their reporting. Their longform coverage of events and interviews with key figures on their podcast, V Interesting, earned them a 2023 GLAAD Media Award Nomination. V received a 2023 Webby Special achievement award for “their articulate and concise, but unabridged reporting, and for methodically balancing positive news with more solemn headlines” alongside the likes of SZA, Tracie Ellis Ross and the inventor of emojis. 

Funding available to support DI&A-initiatives through community grants 

A total of $3,000 is available for diversity initiatives with impact through the Mines DI&A community grants program. Grant money is given to a Mines individual or group who actively promotes inclusive excellence and contributes to and enhances the campus climate through a sustained commitment to improve opportunities for the diverse communities we serve. Grant applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis through the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2024). 

‘Messaging & Awareness’ lead-off four new DI&A working groups this semester  

Mines DI&A is focused on four key initiatives for the current academic year:

1. Advancing institutional-level work through connected collaboration

2. Emphasizing impact in evaluation

3. Elevating DI&A messaging and awareness

4. Updating DI&A learning and resources

Each initiative has a corresponding working group comprised of individuals from key function areas across campus. The elevating DI&A messaging and awareness begins later this month with the aim of recommending strategies that 1) raise messaging around why DEI work matters; 2) elevate Mines DI&A’s mission, vision and values across campus and with external stakeholders; and 3) rebrand Mines DI&A through visual assets, social media, story-sharing, etc.

Learn more about these initiatives at the Conversations with Mines DI&A.

Meet Heather Houlton, Research Analyst for Mines DI&A 

picture of Heather HoultonQ: What are your responsibilities on the team? 

A: I lead the data and evaluation efforts for Mines DI&A. This includes tracking DI&A-related metrics, writing DI&A technical reports, conducting surveys on DI&A topics and working with units across campus on evaluating their DI&A goals. I am also responsible for contributing to sponsored research and grant-writing related to DI&A at Mines so we can support externally funded efforts to expand our current work.

Q: How long have you worked at Mines? Please share a little bit of your professional background. 

A: I started in early March of 2020. I have two STEM degrees in the earth sciences; a bachelor’s from the University of Colorado in Astronomy/Planetary Science and a master’s from Purdue in Geology and Geoscience Education. I’ve been working and conducting research in the DI&A space since 2007. Prior to Mines, I worked in Washington DC at a non-profit in the geosciences. There I applied my understanding of STEM technical principles, knowledge of the geoscience/STEM culture and data science to investigate workforce trends in our discipline. I had a specific focus on removing barriers for students to transition into the profession and how we can elevate diversity, equity and inclusion-work to dismantle barriers to all geoscientists’ success.

Q: Why does diversity, inclusion and access matter to you? 

A: It’s truly a part of who I am. Before I started this work, I was quite naive to how several of my social identities afforded me unearned advantages in life. Slowly, I became more aware and educated myself on topics of gender inequity, experiences of LGBTQIA+ folx, systemic racism and oppression and the pervasiveness of ableism. As I’ve deepened my understanding of these topics, it’s like I have taken off the “foggy ski goggles” of my personal life experiences and am now viewing the world through a (slightly) clearer lens.

Q: What are you looking forward to in your work this year? 

A: I’m looking forward to deepening our understanding of the culture here at Mines. I feel the momentum really building towards a collaborative and campus-wide dedication to progressing on the foundations of the work that we’ve all built together.

Q: What is your favorite Golden or Denver-metro restaurant? 

A: I love Vietnamese food, Japanese food and Thai food, in particular…and having lived on the east coast, I do miss the wide variety of delicious food out there. If you have a favorite pho place that you think is the BEST in Denver, I’d love to learn about it and share a meal!

Contribute to next month’s Mines DI&A Digest

Help us highlight the work you or your department is doing across campus to support DI&A at Mines by submitting a brief article to the next Mines DI&A Digest. Submissions must be received by the second week of the month in order to make it into the Digest.  

Save the Dates 

Hyperlinks = virtual meeting access information.  

  • 9/27 @ 4:00-5:00 PM Conversations with Mines DI&A, Student Center Ballrooms DE 
  • 10/3 @ 9:00-10:00 AM Conversations with Mines DI&A, Student Center Ballrooms DE 
  • 10/4 @ 4:00-5:00 PM Authentically Me: Indigenous and Latine Engineering Panel, Marquez Atrium
  • 10/9 @ noon-1:00 PM Conversations with Mines DI&A, virtual 
  • 10/24 @ 5:00-6:00 PM Authentically Me: oSTEM Engineering Panel, Brown W210
  • 11/6 @ 12:00-12:30 PM Mines DI&A Council Monthly Meeting-General. Open to all Orediggers. 

    As always, we welcome your ideas, thoughts and feedback at
    Thank you for being a member of an inclusive Oredigger community and an advocate and ally for positive social change.

    Diversity, Inclusion and Access