JEDI                                


Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Ambassador Initiative

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Ambassador Initiative

The JEDI ambassador program is a partnership between the School for Universal Computing, Construction, and Engineering Education (SUCCEED) and the Center for Diversity and Student Success (CD-SSEC), who bring significant experience working on NSF-funded projects to broaden participation in engineering. SUCCEED faculty will train students in theories of equity from social science, action research methodology, quantitative and qualitative methods for assessing equity problems, and the design and evaluation of educational programs to promote inclusion. CD-SSEC staff will provide infrastructure support for the yearlong REU program and learning community in parallel with their existing REU programs.

Ambassadors will form small action groups to take on specific project initiatives, involving JEDI program student leads on both program design and research / evaluation. Project areas will include: design and evaluation of events to promote a culture of inclusion for faculty, staff, and/or students; a StoryCorps style podcast interview initiative to promote awareness of and share the experiences of minoritized professionals in STEM; a case study on a specific equity and inclusion challenge in CEC to share most important findings with local stakeholders; monitor progress on equity metrics for programs and departments related to their goals. 

A SUCCEED grad student will mentor project teams in weekly meetings to provide additional guidance and support.

Intellectual Merit

JEDI tests a novel approach to supporting students in research experiences regarding JEDI in engineering, while channeling the impact of that effort towards improving the local educational environment. Education research too often centers knowledge generation and does not focus that knowledge to create local impact.

This is an action-based research program, as each project area emphasizes research and/or evaluation of programming design. The projects will produce practical solutions for fostering a more inclusive and student-centered educational environment, as well as student-led scholarship and publications on the novel process. 

As resources for this innovation, the project draws on local infrastructure (CD-SSEC) and knowledge base for running REU-style programming, and local expertise (SUCCEED) in equity and education research.

Broader Impacts 

JEDI will have important local impact on promoting social justice, a culture of inclusion, recruiting underrepresented student groups into engineering, and providing research experiences for underrepresented student groups. The lack of JEDI-centered research in engineering is a universal engineering problem. 

Although we will develop this model at FIU, a large Hispanic Serving Institution, the programmatic elements and action-based research will translate to broader contexts within engineering education. JEDI program ambassadors will become the leaders in creating research and training that not only generates knowledge, but centers JEDI towards broadening participation in STEM. 

Together, we can create a sea change in STEM education, education research, and research training. 

Rationale

Black and Latinx students are entering the STEM workforce at disproportionately low rates. FIU is a Hispanic-Serving Institution with a high potential to influence this problem based on its large population of Black and Latinx students. However, even at FIU CEC there are challenges in graduation and retention that limit access to the profession, for example: 1) there are low graduation rates for Black and Latinx students, 2) there is a lack of representation of Black women and Latinas, and 3) there are disparities in retention based on socioeconomic status. In order to reach its potential to broaden participation, FIU CEC needs a culture change and a new grassroots workforce focused on identifying and pursuing those changes.

Student advocates are a great source of potential impact for initiating change, but empowering them requires training and programmatic support. Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) and learning communities are effective models for providing students professional experiences while generating valuable knowledge. We believe that same models can be applied to a yearlong justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) student ambassador program focused on research, advocacy, and leadership by undergraduate engineering students.

Our JEDIs

Bailey Bond-Trittipo

Bailey Bond-Trittipo is a second-year engineering and computing education Ph.D. student. She is part of the Equity Research Group lab led by Dr. Stephen Secules. Within the JEDI Ambassador program, Bailey is a mentor for the Women and LGBTQ+ Students’ Experiences research project and the Foundational Coursework Experiences research project. Bailey’s goal is to aid the undergraduate student ambassadors in investigating equity issues within CEC and to support them in disseminating their research findings and advocating for change in engineering education.

Malak Elouinate

My name is Malak Elaouinate, I’m a third year international student majoring in electrical engineering. I’m involved in two projects within the JEDI Ambassadors program. The first is the Women and LGBTQ+ Students’ Experiences research project, aiming to implement changes within CEC that contribute to women and LGBTQ+ students feeling welcome and comfortable being their authentic selves. The second project is the STEM Field Day outreach project, which focuses on fostering local K-12 students’ interests in STEM by integrating STEM learning into a well-known event, field day.

Jocelyn Garcia

Jocelyn Garcia is a fourth-year electrical engineering student. Jocelyn is involved in three projects within the JEDI Ambassadors program. The first is the Women and LGBTQ+ Students’ Experiences research project, which aims to gain insight into the experience of women and LGBTQ+ engineering students at FIU. The second is the STEM Field Day outreach project, which focuses on fostering local K-12 students’ interests in STEM by integrating STEM learning into a well-known event, field day. Lastly, they are part of the Welcoming Event project, which intends to create a more welcoming environment at Engineering Center while focusing on the main objectives of the JEDI initiative, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

Fabio Macias Sarcos

Fabio Macias Sarcos is a second-year biomedical engineering student. He leads the Foundational Coursework Experiences research project, which seeks to understand engineering and computing students’ perspectives on the foundational science, mathematics, and engineering courses required for their major and gather insight into how students feel these courses could be changed to better support them. He is also a part of the STEM Field Day outreach project. This project aims to foster local K-12 students’ interest in STEM in a fun and inclusive way by integrating STEM learning into a well-known event, field day.

Estefania Thalia Victorero

Estefania Thalia Victorero is a senior environmental engineering student, who participates in two projects within the JEDI Ambassador program. Victorero is leading the Welcoming Event project, which intends to bridge any gap there may be between orientation and a student’s real-life experience. As well as creating interactive bulletin boards displays to cultivate a more welcoming environment on campus. The second project is the STEM Field Day K-12 outreach project, which aims to cultivate an interest in STEM for disadvantaged local K-12 students, by integrating together STEM disciplines and a field day with a focus on engineering.

In The News 

Eligibility 

To participate in the JEDI program, student must:        

Contact Us

Stephen Secules, JEDI Ambassador Faculty Lead
Center for Diversity and Student Success
College of Engineering & Computing
Telephone: 305-348-4705
Email:  ssecules@fiu.edu