Committee Members

The mission of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee of the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment (ESE) is to foster and sustain diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of life in the department in accordance with the department’s stated vision for DEI.

  • Michelle Busby

    Michelle Busby


    I believe that each person brings something unique to our society because of our cultural differences. I serve on the DEI committee to help us see that those differences are more valuable than any education we can receive as they enrich our experiences and they bring a new perspective to situations we encounter.

  • Andres Clarens

    Andres Clarens


    I believe that we cannot solve our most pressing societal problems without broadly engaging with everyone that is impacted. I serve on the DEI committee to support diversity and equity in the research and education that we carry out as a department.

  • Sadegh Eghdami

    Sadegh Eghdami

    Graduate Student

    Sadegh is a Ph.D. candidate in Engineering System & Environment who is a committee member looking for increasing diversity and inclusion in academia.

  • Dorothy Gardner

    Dorothy Gardner


    I believe that individual strengths lies in differences and not in similarities.

  • Jose Gomez

    Jose Gomez


    I am a Lecturer in the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment, teaching courses in structural mechanics, analysis, and design.  I want to do all that I can to provide a positive experience for all members of our ESE, SEAS, and University community.

  • Jonathan Goodall

    Jonathan Goodall


    I am serving on the DEI committee to help cultivate and sustain a department culture that allows students, staff, and faculty, especially those from groups that have been underrepresented in engineering in the past, to flourish.

  • Patrick Hancock

    Patrick Hancock

    Graduate Student

    I am a Phd student within the Engineering Systems and Environment department at UVa. I serve on the ESE DEI committee to fulfill the mission of the committee.

  • Arsalan Heydarian

    Arsalan Heydarian


    I believe the more diverse and inclusive we are, the more we can learn from each other and formulate better solutions to address our societal problems. I am a member of the DEI committee to educate myself and others on ways to expand on this vision and create a more inclusive ESE community.

  • Kelsey Hollenback

    Kelsey Hollenback

    Graduate Student

    The pursuit of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of their many dimensions is vital to strengthening our department, discipline, and more broadly the STEM fields.  The creativity and innovation at the heart of STEM cannot thrive in a homogenous environment.  I serve on the DEI Committee to promote and support these values in which I strongly believe.

  • Leidy Klotz

    Leidy Klotz


    I'm motivated to take away some of the systemic racism and sexism that is holding back engineering.

  • Natalie Lerma

    Natalie Lerma

    Graduate Student

    Natalie Lerma is a Doctoral Student in Prof. Jonathan Goodall's research group. Her work focuses on flood mitigation and management in coastal communities. She is currently working on a project about community perceptions of green infrastructure for stormwater management; this work also identifies what community engagement processes exist and their effectiveness, particularly for vulnerable communities. As a first-generation college student and Mexican-American, Natalie joined ESE's DEI Committee to help advocate for underrepresented minorities (URM) in STEM. She is interested in the DEI's commitment to recruiting and retaining URM while creating a safe and inclusive environment for them to thrive.

  • Garrick Louis

    Garrick Louis


    I believe that diversity strengthens our department. Equity and inclusion are essential to achieve and sustain diversity. I serve on the DEI committee to help pursue DEI for ESE.

  • Saran Mishra

    Saran Mishra

    Graduate Student

    I strongly believe that without a strong commitment from everyone to push for a more inclusive higher education experience, we cannot properly educate ourselves and each other. Without striving for diversity and equity, our ideas lack nuance, as we don’t see the full picture and without the full picture, our work is only partially complete. I serve on the DEI committee to advocate for those goals.

  • Courtney Rogers

    Courtney Rogers

    Graduate Student

    Everyone should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential regardless of their differences. For far too long higher education has excluded those with certain differences. I serve on the DEI committee to ensure those that have diverse backgrounds feel like they are valued, included, and have the support they need to thrive in the ESE department.

  • Brian Smith

    Brian Smith


    One of the core values of UVA Engineering is “Excellence through Diversity.”  I feel strongly that our department’s community must take action to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion at the university, in our school, and in our department.

  • Shravan Sreekumar

    Shravan Sreekumar

    Graduate Student

    The goal of a truly developed society can only be achieved with there being harmony and unity among the perspectives and diversity it holds. It is our responsibility and moral duty to uplift these values of unity and bring equality to the forefront.

  • Tina Tang

    Tina Tang

    Graduate Student

    I’m a Systems Engineering masters student returning to graduate school after 7 years working in consulting. I firmly believe innovation stems from a diverse set of minds working together. I’ve found this to be true in academia and industry; yet, achieving diversity is not a given. It takes focus and hard work in ensuring students from all backgrounds feel welcome and believe in their own ability to succeed, celebrating their differences rather than trying to fit a mold for success. With this in mind, I hope to work towards creating an environment where students from all backgrounds find confidence in their own future success.

  • Shelley Thomas

    Shelley Thomas


    If we consider the broadest definition of the word “diversity,” every person is included in that definition—we are all unique, we are all special, and we all have different feelings of belonging in different settings, times, and places in our lives.  My goal is simply to have our students, leadership, faculty, and staff appropriately reflect our diverse population and have the best experience during their tenure at the University of Virginia.