Diversity is the understanding of others as well as seeing and celebrating others’ differences and unique qualities. Diversity should encompass respect and acceptance. There are many layers to diversity including race, ethnicity, gender, social orientation, age, physical ability, religion, socioeconomic status, and/or political beliefs. Diversity should be celebrated and explored in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. Just like there are many layers to the term diversity, there are many layers to my diversity. I am a highly educated woman, someone who is capable of achieving success on her own. I am Scot-Irish and Cherokee, so my heritage can be a little confusing at times. I have many friends and colleagues who are seen as “alternative” or “different,” and I have learned so much from their stories about how to walk through this world while honoring others’ beliefs and feelings.
In the School of Education at William & Mary, I am surrounded by many amazing, passionate, and highly intelligent women. I see positive qualities reflected in my gender identity on a daily basis. However, I don’t see or make connections to my heritage as often as I would like, which can be frustrating when trying to find a place in this environment. I want to recognize and celebrate all people—faculty, staff, and students—who work and study at the School of Education. We all have a place, and we all have something to give. Diversity and individuality offer insights and opportunities for learning and growth, which are so important to all of us in our community.