“Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a practice, equity is the goal.”

Dereca Blackmon, Stanford’s Assistant Vice Provost and Executive Director, Diversity and Inclusion Office.

Group photo of the department.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering aims to cultivate an inclusive and welcoming environment that recognizes, respects, and values differences including those based on:

  • Sex
  • Race
  • Age
  • National origin
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender identity and expression
  • Intellectual and physical ability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Income
  • Faith and non-faith perspectives
  • Socio-economic class
  • Political ideology
  • Education
  • Primary language
  • Family status
  • Military experience
  • Cognitive style
  • Communication style

Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee is comprised of faculty, staff, and students, undergraduate and graduate.

The DEI Committee was initiated to foster an environment in the department that is respectful, encouraging, and open-minded. Our goal is to encourage diversity within our department as well as be a voice for each and every individual that seeks equity and inclusion. We also promote awareness of DEI and bias, with the aim to enhance participation of underrepresented communities in our STEM programs.

The committee is devoted to sharing resources, facilitating events, and dedicating time towards strengthening an inclusive learning and working environment. We look forward to working alongside students, faculty, and staff—empowering all towards the continued success of the department, in keeping with the University of Rochester’s visions and values.

DEI Committee Members

Hussein Aluie

Hussein Aluie—I believe that our individual identities are complex, multi-dimensional, and ever-evolving. When we come together, we bring a wide spectrum of experiences and backgrounds, struggles and accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses that are essential for our collective resilience and progress. As a member of the mechanical engineering DEI committee, I plan to help foster and maintain a culture where we all treat each other with compassion, respect, and a mind that is open and curious to understand.

Kristen ChurnetskiKristen Churnetski—It is important to establish and maintain a learning environment that is welcoming and in which all members feel a sense of belonging. As a committee member, I look forward to contributing a student's perspective and participating in discussions to help further facilitate a respectful and accepting community for individuals of all backgrounds.

Paul FunkenbuschPaul Funkenbusch—I look forward to helping the committee apply the university’s motto of Meliora to the mechanical engineering department’s DEI efforts.

John LambropoulosJohn Lambropoulos—Engineering is a collaborative and diverse enterprise, with communication essential and central across individuals of different backgrounds, of different countries, and of different cultures and views of the world. To be successful in teaching and practicing engineering, and thus to follow the UR motto of “Meliora,” it is essential, therefore, that we incorporate the facts of diversity in our department at all levels, and to promote equity so that we accomplish belonging and inclusion for all our students, our staff, and our faculty!

Jill MorrisJill Morris

Helena SchrederHelena Schreder—As an undergraduate student, I am excited to share a student’s perspective and work to get more undergraduates involved in our committee. I hope to help build our mechanical engineering community into one where everyone feels welcome and supported.

Jessica ShangJessica Shang— 
Engineers drive change and innovation, and that includes internal change: how can we elevate the voices of historically marginalized groups within our ranks and in our practice? As a DEI committee member, I hope to engage with our students, staff, and faculty to cultivate an environment where diverse perspectives are valued and celebrated.

Sarah WeiseSarah Weise

DEI Committee Goals and Objectives

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee brings together undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, faculty, and scientists together to:

  • Identify areas for improvement with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Define specific goals for improving in these areas
  • Develop and execute action plans to achieve these goals

Our specific objectives in our Department are:

  • Diversify our department at all levels
  • Improve student retention
  • Continue strong support for the student chapters of NSBE, SHPE, SWE, SASE, and others
  • Assess diversity, anti-racist, and inclusivity climate in our program
  • Continue to promote inclusivity in student leadership positions (TAs, peers, research)
  • Provide dedicated mentorship
  • Promote diversity in graduate student outreach and recruitment
  • Promote diversity in faculty and staff hiring and promotions
  • Promote diversity in the membership of our Program Advisory Board (PAB)

Message from the Chair

Renato Perucchio, Department Chair.

Renato Perucchio

As chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering one of my goals is to address our department’s diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. Our department’s core mission is to prepare students for professional careers through excellent research and education, and it is critical that we conscientiously strive to overcome implicit bias and to provide equal opportunity to all the members of our community.

Our students, staff, and faculty are committed to encourage a professional, inclusive, and respectful climate in which every individual makes a unique and important contribution. We are dedicated to the pursuit and cultivation of a learning environment that promotes free and open expression of ideas and we are fortunate to have a very rich population of minority and international students.

As an integral part of our commitment, the department actively supports student participation in the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers. Our program is also recognized for the high level of undergraduate involvement in research projects, with strong participation of minority and international students.

Message from the Dean

Wendi Heinzelman, Dean of the Hajim School.

Wendi Heinzelman

The mission of the Edmund A. Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences is to advance the highest quality education and research in engineering and applied science through engaging experiences and environments that promote critical thinking, creativity, ethics, and leadership. This is a lofty goal and one that we must be sure to achieve. Indeed, our future capacity to transform our world through technological innovations depends on new research discoveries. It also depends on educating a diverse population of students who will be the next researchers, developers, entrepreneurs, educators, and leaders in engineering, and who have the passion to change the world.

The world needs more engineers with a diversity of backgrounds and ways of looking at the world. The world needs more engineers who care about the impact of our decisions on our environment, on our place as a global citizen, and on our future. These are the engineers who will serve as catalysts for change. In the Hajim School, we recognize that engineering training provides the tools to tackle some of the most difficult problems facing society today. Yet it is the unique skills and backgrounds of each engineer, and the ability to work together as a team with integrity, perseverance, and a commitment to the highest standards, that will lead to the next big breakthrough.