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?

My definition of diversity would include openness to differences among people, status, cultures and perspectives.
Academic Adviser Juyeon Schulman
Diversity is a) a fact of life; and b) the spice of human interactions.
Academic Adviser Irma Giannetti
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 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

What are you doing to become more culturally competent?

In order to become more culturally competent, I try to listen more than I speak and be realistic about my own gaps in knowledge. To this end, I am constantly reading and seeking out opportunities in order to fill these gaps.
Academic Adviser Brian Tholl
I actively seek out opportunities to learn from people with identities and experiences different from my own. This could mean joining a club or organization, trying a new food, reading an article or book, going to a social event, enrolling in a course, engaging with media, attending a lecture or panel discussion, or following someone on social media. The options are endless! In my learning, I center the lived experiences of people in the communities that I’m trying to learn more about. I am grateful to have learned so much from people in the AAPI, Black, Christian, disabled, Hispanic/Latinx, immigrant, Indigenous, Jewish, LGTBTQIA+, Muslim, and veteran communities, along with so many others. No one owes me their story, so when someone chooses to share theirs with me, they are giving me a gift. It’s my responsibility to accept the gift graciously, to work past any discomfort of stepping outside of my own culture, and to understand where they’re coming from. I don’t have to believe or agree with everything people share, but I do have to sit with it and let what I’ve learned inform my actions.
Emily Fogel Conway
I am a reader, so I intentionally chose books that will help me learn more about diverse experiences and voices.
Kathy Garren
Reading, listening, observing.
Matt Stumpf

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
I advocate for others by speaking up, and bringing humility whenever there is an opportunity to learn. I pay attention to and learn from my own discomfort.
Sherri Metcalf
I step in when needed. I step up as called. I step out when asked.
Matt Stumpf
Be proactive in listening, accepting, and welcoming people and ideas that are different from my own.
Academic Adviser Juyeon Schulman

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity inspires innovation and creativity and causes people to have a more broader perspective on the things around them.
Matt Stumpf
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
Listening to and learning from people with various different backgrounds, experiences, cultures, and viewpoints allows me to feel more connected to and more capable of navigating the world. It reminds me that there is life beyond my own little bubble.
Without diversity, the world would be boring. Diversity lets us see things from new perspectives and gives us a reason to come together as humans. If everyone were the same, togetherness wouldn't be as special.
Erin Ahart

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.


My DUS-ES meetings with all of my peers and advisors were very impactful to my growth as a student, leader, and person. The friendships I made from DUS-ES turned out to be some of my closest friends, which in turn helped guide me to where I am today.


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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