Undergrad laboratory

DUS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We welcome everyone to our community.
Associate Dean for Advising and Executive Director of the Division of Undergraduate Studies, David Smith.

David Smith

Associate Dean for Advising and Executive Director

An inclusive, diverse community is one where all experiences and perspectives are valued. Here in DUS, we want everyone to feel that they can share their stories openly and be accepted for who they are and how they see the world. It is through the inclusion of the broadest range of perspectives that we will find solutions to the many problems that confront our world. I encourage you to be yourself, to share your story with your adviser and others, and to join us in building a strong, inclusive community at Penn State.

Assistant Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Rebekka Kuhn

Interim Coordinator of Multicultural Initiatives





Hear from our staff...

How do you define diversity?

Diversity to me is bringing together a group of people with different backgrounds and characteristics; this includes visible and non-visible characteristics.
Academic Adviser Trevor Brown
Diversity is present when people of different identities are in one place. Sometimes, these are blatantly obvious (race, religion, language, etc.), but there is also diversity in people's political views, personalities, professions, values, aspirations, and more. All of these things are an important part of diversity because they contribute to our uniqueness as human beings.
Erin Ahart
Diversity is the sharing of knowledge, experiences and viewpoints from people of a wide variety of backgrounds. These backgrounds may be different cultures, genders, ethnicities, socio-economic statuses, educational levels, ability statuses and many more. To be truly diverse, we need to discuss and learn about all of these different experiences and just as importantly, acknowledge our own lack of knowledge and be open to new ideas and ways of thinking.
Associate Director for Outreach and Orientation, Jeff Warner
Diversity is humanity: the full and beautiful range of human identity, culture, thought, belief, and experience. Looking outside of ourselves, seeing and valuing difference, and uplifting people who are different from us are not only how we demonstrate care for other people, but also how we learn and grow.
Emily Fogel Conway

What are you doing to become more culturally competent?

I enjoy reading and listening to stories about different cultures. I also like to keep an open mind and listen to other perspectives before I give my own.
Academic Adviser Trevor Brown
Personally, I've been actively building my facilitation skills, so I can be more effective in the midst of engaged (aka difficult!) discussions and passionate (aka entrenched!) perspectives. I'm a huge fan of TED talks and podcasts because they easily and accessibly give me access to others who are willing to share their unique life experiences. I take advantage of as many great Penn State speakers and events that I can squeeze in.
Sherri Metcalf
Listening. Really listening. And talking and reading and learning about different life experiences.
Hilleary Himes
Currently, I spend time reading, listening to podcasts, and viewing films to become more culturally alert.
Undergraduate Studies Adviser Heather Atkinson

How do you advocate for others?

In my role as an academic adviser, my goal is to listen and empathize with students so that they feel truly heard on our campus and then take action along with the student, empowering and supporting them. If I am not a person that my student feels close to, that is okay, and I will connect them to other resources and communities where they feel they can share. I strive to foster a relationship of trust and empathy with all my students. We all need safe spaces.
Undergraduate Studies Adviser Heather Atkinson
Be proactive in listening, accepting, and welcoming people and ideas that are different from my own.
Academic Adviser Juyeon Schulman
In order to advocate for others, I strive to contribute to creating welcoming spaces in my personal and professional life. Often, this includes recognizing and utilizing my privilege as a white male in order to stand up for others who historically have not had the power to do so and call out injustices when I see them, even if it makes others uncomfortable.
Academic Adviser Brian Tholl
By listening. Finding ways, when possible, to encourage others to advocate for themselves. Call for help by enlisting others who know and experienced something I don't know, did not have to work through.
Academic Adviser Irma Giannetti

What does diversity mean to you?

It is important to recognize and appreciate others differences. Everyone brings a unique set of experiences and perspectives that enhances any environment whether it is a workplace or the classroom.
Academic Adviser Kimberly Geter
Diversity encourages open-mindedness and a level of cultural competence needed to develop inclusive, safe, and equitable environments for all students. Diversity allows me to be me. It feels good to not have to hide who I am, and that is just adding another item to the list of why diversity is not only important, but essential to me and the continued development of my worldview.
Academic Adviser Diana Leach
Simply - diversity makes us stronger.
Brian Petrosky
Because human diversity is a fact of life.
Academic Adviser Irma Giannetti

Student Spotlights


Having safe spaces where you can interact with people that may or may not look like you, and engage in conversation and activity, makes you feel big at a smaller school.


I was challenged to experience learning more dynamically in and out of the classroom followed by attaining leadership and interpersonal skills. It [DUS-ES] has taught me that it is okay to accept my failures because they’ll serve as stepping stones to striving for greatness in my college life, and I have the willpower to be resilient, no matter what the circumstance may be.


Connect to the multicultural coordinators in each college.
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Multicultural & Special Interest Organizations

Join one of over 70 multicultural student orgs.
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First-Generation College Students

Connect to 1st gen students, professionals, and advocates.
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Student Stories

Hear from our students; do you see yourself in their stories?
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Community & Belonging

There are many ways to be a Penn Stater. Let us help you build your community.
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Connect With Us

Connect with the DUS Diversity Team.
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Penn State’s Land Acknowledgement

Find out who lived on the land Penn State resides.
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