The Diversity and Inclusion Award, presented for the first time this year, recognizes a community member who supports the broad range of backgrounds and experiences at VIMS and who works to create and foster a respectful, cooperative, and equitable campus environment.
The recipient of the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Award is Ms. Shanna Williamson.
Shanna truly embodies the spirit of promoting diversity and inclusion at VIMS. She has been as an active member of the DiveIn committee since arriving in Gloucester Point, serving on numerous subcommittees, pushing efforts to expand the committee’s reach and success, and spearheading several new initiatives.
New initiatives started under Shanna’s leadership include the first DiveIn Digest, installation of the DiveIn bulletin board, successful application for a $1,500 IDEA grant from William & Mary, and renovation of the DiveIn website, a key tool that allows others to learn about and understand the goals and initiatives of diversity and inclusion at VIMS.
Shanna has also worked with the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation to organize a Rising TIDES workshop, where TIDES stands for “Towards an Inclusive, Diverse, and Enriched Society.” Here, she excelled at recruiting speakers and ensuring that the workshop was well organized and operated smoothly. These efforts show Shanna’s insight into adversity within the scientific community, and personify her passion for improving the inclusive atmosphere on the VIMS campus.
Nominators commented on Shanna’s work ethic in research and how her organizational skills and intelligence allow her to excel in academic and research settings. Her combination of exceptional work and quality of character are truly an indispensable benefit to the entire VIMS community.