Business Courier: UC dean honored for expanding access to STEM

Chamber awards Diversity by Design Award for leading change in community

Whitney Gaskins, PhD, Assistant Dean of Inclusive Excellence and Community Engagement at the University of Cincinnati was honored in the 2021 Cincinnati Lifts Inclusion and Minority Business Awards for her contributions toward ensuring a more diverse, inclusive and equitable Cincinnati community.

Whitney Gaskins headshot

Whitney Gaskins, PhD, created the Gaskins Foundation in 2008 in response to her experiences as a Black women studying STEM. Photo/Provided.

The Cincinnati Business Courier and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber host the annual CLIMB Awards to celebrate and elevate the individuals and organizations that help our region achieve greater success through building a diverse workforce, championing equitable policies and practices and developing inclusive cultures. 

A three-time UC graduate and faculty member in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, Gaskins received a Diverse by Design Award, recognizing her for unparalleled leadership in diversity and inclusion. On and off campus, Gaskins is paving the way for local students to develop the skill sets needed to achieve their own vision of a brighter future.  

The Gaskins Foundation, a nonprofit organization she established in 2008, continues to deliver on its mission: to prepare students of all ages and backgrounds to become leaders in STEM. That’s why she is dedicated to improving access to STEM education.  

“I have a hard time believing it’s because of a lack of talent or ability,” Gaskins told the Courier. “It’s a lack of access and opportunity.”  

The foundation’s nationally recognized centerpiece, the STEMulates program, provides free, year-round K-12 programming focused on building math and science skills. STEMulates serves 2,500 students in Cincinnati Public Schools, as well as other schools in the state.  

A community- centered program, STEMulates is designed to increase the number of engineers and applied scientists in Cincinnati over the next 20 years. 

“We can’t solve some of our world’s biggest problems if we don’t start diversifying the people who work on them,” Gaskins told the Courier.  

Gaskins shares her journey from being one of the “lonely only” one of two Black women in her engineering classes in college, to changing the face of what education in the heavily male-dominated fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics looks like for future generations.

Read the story from Cincinnati Business Courier.

Featured image at top: UC College of Engineering and Applied Science assistant dean Whitney Gaskins speaks at GE Aviation in 2021. Photo/GE