Erica RossiEngineering major Erica Rossi and science student Aislyn Lewis-Laurent (pictured below) are the first-ever recipients of Student Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Research awards.

Students recognized as leaders in diversity and inclusion

Science double major Aislyn Lewis-Laurent and Erica Rossi, a student of mechanical, automotive, and materials engineering, are the recipients of the Student Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Research awards from the Office of Research and Innovation.

The awards were made possible by Lisa Willis of the University of Alberta, who declined an honorarium last fall when she spoke to researchers about new data and best practices in lab diversity. Instead, Dr. Willis asked that the Office of the Vice President, Research and Innovation recognize students advancing EDI practices in their own labs and research projects, with a particular focus on STEM fields.

An adjudication committee of faculty members from science, engineering, and human kinetics selected these honorees from among 10 nominations.

Aislyn Lewis-LaurentLewis-Laurent is currently finishing her BSc with Honors in biochemistry and computer science and looking forward to a career in computational chemistry. As Google’s Women Techmaker Ambassador for the Windsor Essex region, she helps improve the lives and careers of women in tech. She also leads the UWindsor chapter of Google’s Developer Student Club, where she works to recruit and showcase the talents of women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and ethnically diverse students.

Rossi advocates for diversity and inclusion within the local and campus communities through her volunteer work with FIRST Robotics, and as an Outstanding Scholar. In her research with psychology professor Lori Buchanan, she has combined this advocacy with her mechanical engineering education to explore the relationship between how male and female engineering students view themselves and how that compares to the qualities that they endorse as important in the profession. Rossi serves as president of Women in Engineering at the University and the chair of the FIRST Robotics ED&I Youth Advisory Council.

Vice-president of research and innovation K.W. Michael Siu congratulated both award winners.

“More and more, universities are recognizing and understanding the critical importance of developing a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive research community, and I want to thank Aislyn and Erica for the contributions they have already made to this growing area of understanding,” Dr. Siu said. “The pace of change in this area will only accelerate in the coming years, and it gives me great confidence to know that UWindsor students are already taking the lead and moving the academy in the right direction.”