On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, members of the Eberly College of Science community gathered to recognize three individuals who have displayed extraordinary commitment to enhancing the environment of mutual respect and diversity in the college over the past year. The college’s Climate and Diversity Awards, sponsored by its Climate and Diversity Committee, are presented at an annual ceremony in recognition of the efforts of staff, faculty, and students who improve the climate and diversity of the college.
The Climate and Diversity Committee chose three winners from the pool of nominees: Danielle Bayletts, David Hunter, and Margaret Gerthoffer.
Bayletts, an administrative assistant in the Dean’s Office, was nominated by Teresa Diehl, Associate Dean for Administration. Diehl noted that, in addition to her typical duties, Bayletts quietly champions the cause of diversity and climate in the Eberly College of Science, including by creating avenues of communication among staff.
Bayletts serves on the Staff Advisory Committee, the staff subcommittee for the Climate and Diversity Committee, and leads the college’s United Way fundraiser. Bayletts also provides administrative support for the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, the College’s Sustainability Council, and for the Next STEPS Committee. As a result of her involvement with various groups, Bayletts has created a network that has helped staff feel more heard.
“Due to Danielle's willingness to assist in many areas of the college and therefore her communication with many staff, she, in essence, has become an ambassador for many,” said Diehl.
Hunter, a professor of statistics, was nominated by Murali Haran, professor and head of the Department of Statistics. Haran spoke highly Hunter’s efforts to make the department a welcoming and inclusive place for students, staff, and faculty during his 21 years with Penn State, including through his leadership and service in a variety of organizations as well has his willingness to help members of the college.
Hunter served as the inaugural chair of the Eberly Next STEPS committee, which is focused on enhancing the college’s ability to attract and retain a diverse pool of faculty and graduate students. He is the co-chair of the Institute for Computation and Data Science’s newly formed Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, the associate director of partnerships for the Math Alliance, and a co-founding member of the American Statistical Association’s outreach group on justice equity, diversity, and inclusion. Hunter also personally helps faculty, students, and staff by acting as a soundboard and giving advice, and has spent countless hours helping multiple graduate students over the years, notably some from underrepresented groups.
“In each of these roles, Dave has always been very mindful of creating a warm and inclusive environment where people feel appreciated and well respected,” said Haran. “When making decisions, he always keeps in mind best practices and goes out of his way to involve as many people as possible and gives weight to the concerns of every member of the community. He also addresses difficult situations justly, kindly, and honestly.”
Gerthoffer, a chemistry graduate student, was nominated by Carsten Krebs, professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology, and Squire Booker, Evan Pugh University Professor Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Gerthoffer has helped to foster an inclusive environment in the Department of Chemistry as an active student member of the department’s Climate and Diversity Committee. With this committee, she has organized workshops on imposter syndrome, co-worker relationship development, and effective team management in partnership with Penn State’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). She also secured a grant and is working with CAPS to plan a workshop on stereotype threat. Gerthoffer has also volunteered her time in a variety of service and outreach efforts, working to create a more inclusive and transparent environment for everyone from perspective graduate students to postdoctoral researchers. Her efforts have led her to creating a video tutorial for Young Women in Sciences, working with the NSF Center of Nanothread Chemistry, producing YouTube videos, and much more.
“It is clear from Margaret’s involvement in a large number of outreach and service activities that she deeply cares about these topics,” said Krebs and Booker. “Her track record is outstanding, and her efforts make Penn State a better place to work.”