Author: Christina Sanon
The new Diversity seat was implemented this year to embrace and promote cultural, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, religious creeds, political beliefs, and other ideological differences in a safe and positive environment. In its inaugural year, the Diversity chair created the Diversity Grant. The grant is a $500 reward awarded to a student matriculated in the School of Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) who successfully defends their position on a selected question related to diversity and inclusion.
This year's topic explored the global impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The students were tasked to assess the effectiveness of the Trump administration’s response and provide solutions to aid the government in alleviating the spread of the virus in communities that are disproportionately underserved. There was a total of 13 submissions, each one proposing an innovative approach that would help to mitigate the spread of the virus in primarily minority communities.
Due to the caliber of the essays, the grant committee picked an overall winner and two deserving students received honorable mentions. Saul Perez, the overall winner, proposed that the government makes testing for Covid-19 readily available to residents of low-income communities. His essay advocated for incentives for online shopping, construction of new clinics and other medical assistance locales, and meal distribution centers. Gabby Squillante and Emily Cummins were lauded for advocating for funds and testing. Gabby proposed that funds be allocated to underrepresented communities and be used as per the needs of the individual communities. Emily suggested that the government invests in door-to-door mobile testing.
On behalf of the Diversity and Inclusion grant committee of the Las Vegas chapter of YMF, we would like to thank all participants and the University who graciously worked in tandem with us to promote the grant. We extend many thanks to Quincy Alexander of the ASCE National Mosaic committee for his participation in scoring the essays.
To all, be safe!