Meet the Class of 2020:
Kevin Womack Works to Increase Diversity in Data Science
As an undergraduate student at Morehouse College, Kevin Womack double majored in mathematics and computer science. To study two such demanding fields was doubly difficult, he says. But, crediting his mother (an engineer) and his father (a computer scientist), Womack says that quantitative reasoning came naturally to him and he was undaunted by the workload. Now a student in the master’s degree program at the Data Science Institute at Columbia University, Womack excels in his coursework and is an advocate for increased diversity in data science. Here, he discusses his background, his career goals, and his commitment to diversity.
Tell us about your time as a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
This is the second of three columns in which I make fifty-year projections concerning the following question: as a nation, where will we stand in 2070 when it comes to the contested interplay of diversity and speech?These three columns are based on a public presentation on diversity and speech that I gave at the December, 2019, Speculative Futures in Education Conference at the University of California, Riverside.
In my previous column I argued that the internet has dramatically altered the diversity-speech discussion, particularly when it comes to hate speech.As an easily-accessible mechanism for spreading hate, including through troll storms and doxing, the internet has developed into a true weapon of terror.
During my tenure as a fellow of the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, I examined how the diversity movement of the past half century has influenced our nation’s conversation concerning speech. Then, in October, I ran across a call for proposals to present at a December 2019, symposium on Speculative Futures of Education.
This seemed right down my alley.For the past forty years I have been dabbling in futurism, including giving a popular public lecture, The Future Basics in Education. Why not apply this projective thinking to diversity and speech?So I submitted a proposal, which was accepted.
This is the eighth in a series of columns based on my research as a former fellow of the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. In these columns I have discussed what I call the diversity movement — the composite of individual, group, and organizational efforts to reduce societal inequities that penalize people because of their actual or perceived membership in certain social groups. In particular I have focused on the intersection of diversity and speech.
After analyzing the past half century of the diversity movement, I concluded that the movement actually consists of four separate but intersecting diversity strands: intercultural; equity and inclusion; critical theory; and managing diversity.My past columns have sketched the parameters of the first three strands.In this column I will focus on the fourth strand, managing diversity.
Yanique Woodall is the Head of Brand Communications, Product Innovation PR, and Social Impact Communications at Home Depot. Additionally, she serves as Treasurer for the PRSA Foundation, an independent, charitable organization committed to promoting diversity within the PR industry. Woodall graduated with her masters in corporate & public communications from Seton Hall University and serves as an adjunct professor at George Washington University.
When people talk about “Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices in the legal profession” we hear a lot of the same things over and over again.Well, I have come across a first, a truly innovative Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leading best practice.You heard it from me first, right here, right now.
Harrity is the nation’s leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To firm for the Patent 300. Harrity recently launched its first Minority Firm Incubator program to help train, develop, and launch minority-owned patent law firms. This paid program is an integral part of the firm’s ongoing diversity initiative to recruit, retain, and advance attorneys who will contribute to the increasing diversity of the patent field.
This is the seventh in a series of columns based on my research as a former fellow of the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. In these columns I have discussed what I call the diversity movement — the composite of the myriad individual, group, and organizational efforts to reduce societal inequities that penalize people because of their actual or perceived membership in certain social groups. In particular I have focused on the various issues raisedconcerning language and the exercise of speech.
In the past two columns I compared two threads of that diversity movement: intercultural diversity and equity-and-inclusion diversity. For the most part interculturalists emphasize voluntary speech restraint through the development of intergroup understanding.In contrast, while they often draw upon interculturalist principles, some inclusionists are more willing to pursue direct speech restraints, such as through regulations.When it comes to the third strand of the diversity movement, critical theory, its advocates tend to take an even stronger position in support ofthe direct restraint of speech, including through laws and codes.
This is the sixth in a series of columns based on my research as a former fellow of the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. In earlier columns I argued that our nation’s system of expression is far too complex to be encompassed by the simple, misleading couplet, “free speech.” In fact, over more than two centuries, our nation has developed a complex constitutionally-based system that combines robust legally-protected speech with selective legal limitations on speech.
Therefore, diversity advocates should not be drawn into the position of opposing free speech.They don’t need to, because it does not actually exist. Instead they should defend the basic societal value ofrobust speech, while also reframing the discussion by clarifying the tensions that inevitably arise when the valuable imperatives of diversity and speech intersect. Simultaneously they should function within the American historical tradition by proposing carefully focused additions to the current list of legal limitations.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The observance, which dates back to 1945, is sponsored annually by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy.
Did you know? The employment population ratio for people without disabilities (65.7%) was more than triple that of people with disabilities (18.7%) in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Marine Corps’ purpose as stated on its webpage is to, “Defend the people of the United States at home and abroad. To do that, we make Marines who win our Nation’s battles and return as quality citizens.”To the casual reader, the first half of the purpose, which is to defend the United States, is stated in simple terms and easily understood.However, it is the latter half of the purpose that bears some investigating and begs the question, “What does make a better citizen mean?”To answer this question, I want to take you on a journey through the process of becoming a Marine, the transformation that occurs and the life-changing impact of being immersed into a sea of diversity creates.
Citizens from every walk of life you can imagine arrive by bus to one of three locations.Young men and women who have signed an enlistment contract arrive at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina or Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego.Officer candidates receive their initial training at the Officer Candidate School located in Quantico, Virginia.For the purposes of this journey, we will focus on the experience of the recruits who matriculate through one of the training Depots.