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

Shana Clarke

Assistant Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. These are big, heavy words with one throughline— that all people deserve the dignity of respectful treatment, equal opportunity, and feelings of safety and appreciation. In the Division of Undergraduate Studies, we strive to make sure that all students have what they need to thrive, to succeed, and to be their most authentic selves. On this page you will find useful resources, sources of inspiration, and ways to connect to us. We are Penn State… and we cannot be Penn State without you.

Hear from our staff...

How do you define diversity?

Diversity is difference. Difference in perspectives, experiences, personal characteristics and/or skills.
Hilleary Himes
Diversity is the collection of, and acknowledged value of, each of our various identities, experiences, and perspectives that make us each a whole, worthy individual.
Kathy Garren
Pieces of a absolute whole that when assembled respectfully with true care and selfless concern lead to shared health and fulfillment.
Brian Petrosky
To me, diversity is the presence, representation, and celebration of individuals and ideas from various backgrounds based on ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender identity, religious beliefs, disability, etc.
Academic Adviser Brian Tholl

What are you doing to become more culturally competent?

I read a lot. I listen a lot. I engage in conversation. Where and when I can, I do [take action]. When something doesn't sit right with me or I encounter a perspective I don't understand, I start by doing my own research. When doing research, your sources matter. I look for scholarly research and articles, and hear from multiple perspectives. I try to be mindful of how my own background and biases might influence the sources of information that I choose. I ask for help. Then I find spaces to engage in dialogue around the topic. I welcome the discomfort that may accompany dialogue around race, class, culture, and privilege because it's only in the discomfort that one's cultural competence can truly mature.
Academic Adviser Rebekka Kuhn
Something simple that I've been intentional about lately is diversifying my media consumption. I realized that many of the influencers I watch, pages I follow, books I read, shows I watch, podcasts I listen to, etc. are from people who identify in similar ways that I do. I spend much of my leisure time doing these activities, and it has made a difference in my perspective and education to be taking in more diverse content from a wider range of creators.
Ali Chiavetta
I try to be more culturally competent by sharing ideas and experiences with others from a wide variety of backgrounds when I can. I read articles, books and more that are written from a different perspective than my own. I search for opportunities to move out of my own understanding and opinions and learn about how others view the world, its events and its people. I listen and learn when I know that I am not well-educated in a topic being discussed and then try to incorporate the new knowledge in how I act. I also value the opportunity to visit and explore new and different places both domestically and internationally to first-hand experience different cultures.
Associate Director for Outreach and Orientation, Jeff Warner
I reflect upon my own values and how I might identify possible biases that I have that are unintentionally fostered by my upbringing and development. I aim to take every opportunity to attend an event or ask about a new word, fad, or trend so that I can do my part to remain an active participant in the desire to promote my own understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion for all individuals.
Academic Adviser Diana Leach

How do you advocate for others?

I acknowledge barriers and work to have them removed to make processes, policies, and procedures more equitable.
Academic Adviser Kimberly Geter
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
In one-on-one relationships, I get to know people. When someone isn't able to speak up for themselves or their voice isn't being heard, I echo and amplify their voice if they're OK with it. I advocate for change by showing up, speaking up, being a conscious consumer, voting in local and national elections, and donating time and money.
Academic Adviser Rebekka Kuhn
I follow reputable news sources and social justice leaders on Instagram (Rachel Lindsay from the Bachelorette, Matt Bernstein, and Oprah) and promote their posts that I connect with on my story. I do this to show my peers that I am an ally and promote information that I think is interesting or that taught me something new.
Erin Ahart

What does diversity mean to you?

Because human diversity is a fact of life.
Academic Adviser Irma Giannetti
I believe I become a better person by being exposed to a diverse array of people from many backgrounds and culture and learning new perspectives from all their lived experiences.
Joan Miller
At a university, where the pursuit of knowledge is at the heart of everything we do, diversity is vital. We cannot do the work of understanding our world if only some of us are asking the questions. When we foster a deep sense of belonging in every member of our community, we are all better for it.
Emily Fogel Conway
Diversity is important to me because it brings different experiences and perspectives to the conversation and always results in a better outcome, product, or decision!
Hilleary Himes

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.


As a college student transitioning into adulthood, I believe it is imperative to involve yourself within your community to ensure that you are an asset by being able to work well with people of all levels and by being a leader with a diverse background. From my involvement in the Penn State community, I have a seat at the table and I use my voice to provide ideas to enhance the college experience, holistically, for students of color and to provide sustainable solutions for issues that students of color may face.  


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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