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Feb 22, 2022

I School Students Champion DEIBJ Initiatives

The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Justice (DEIBJ) student representatives program at the School of Information, now in its second year, is an initiative aimed at supporting the needs of our current students. 

Student representatives from each degree program at the I School participate in monthly committee meetings with faculty and staff, engage with prospective students in webinars and in-person events like orientation, and develop and work on student-led DEIBJ initiatives.

Meet the student representatives:

Caleb Albornoz, Master of Information and Cybersecurity (MICS)

Caleb is a current MICS student working as a Full-Stack Software Engineer at Wipro Limited. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a B.Sc. in computer science and mathematics.

Caleb applied to become a DEIBJ representative to support other minorities in STEM by sharing knowledge and representing the interests of other students historically underrepresented in cybersecurity.

“My parents are from Peru,” he shared. “I immigrated to the U.S. when I was 15 and with no language skills in English. I enrolled in an English as a Second Language program … ended up working at NASA in 2012, and now I am working doing what I love most, which is to create a safe environment for people online.”

Alora Clark, Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS)

Alora is a first-year MIMS student focusing on data science and engineering. She graduated with a B.S. in computer science from Florida State University. Before coming to the I School, Alora interned as an Engineer at LaunchDarkly.

“I am passionate about DEIB principles and helping others to be and feel like the best versions of themselves,” Alora said. “In my undergraduate career, I worked with many different students across all backgrounds and I have a passion for getting to know the things that make people unique.”

“Here at the I School, we have many people from extremely diverse backgrounds and I want to be a part of continuing to foster a culture of understanding, acceptance, and friendship.”

Srishti Mehra, Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS)

Srishti is in her second year of the MIDS program, currently working as a Data Scientist at Glucosia. Her focus is on machine learning and artificial intelligence. Srishti graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a B.Sc. in computer science.

This is Srishti’s second year as a DEIBJ representative. This year, she will chair a team of MIDS reps, as the MIDS program is the I School’s largest degree program, and has a variety of needs and opportunities related to DEIB.

“As a DEIB student representative for the past year,” she said. “I had a great opportunity to work with members of the school to try and push for an increase in diversity in multiple ways. I was also fortunate to be on the listening end of struggles people in the school face, struggles that highlight some fundamental inclusion issues that must be tackled.”

“We have all grown up differently and come from a variety of backgrounds. I want to continue working towards using our diversity to make I School a more inclusive and equitable place for all students to learn, for faculty to share knowledge, and for staff to work.”

Seyi Olojo, Ph.D. in Information Management and Systems

Seyi Olojo is a 2nd year Ph.D. student at the I School. Her research explores stratification and inequality within the data economy and critical methods for algorithmic accountability. Additionally, she has designated emphasis (DE) in Science and Technology Studies (STS) at the Center for Technology, Medicine and Society. Seyi is also part of the inaugural cohort of I School Graduate Scholars. Prior to Berkeley, she worked as a technologist within the AdTech industry. She has a B.A. in Environmental Policy from Barnard College, Columbia University. Her work has been generously supported by CTSP, AFOG, CTLC, and the Social Science Matrix.

“So much of my research explores the way identity and social hierarchy impacts the way marginalized communities interact with technology,” Seyi said. “By extension, I often think of how such inequalities are replicated within academia. I’ve been extremely fortunate in the support that I’ve received here at the I School but I’m really keen on standardizing within our community. As a DEIBJ rep, I’ll have the agency to expand and formalize this support to current and future students.”

Simran Sachdev, 5th Year Master of Information and Data Science (5th Year MIDS)

Simran is a 5th Year MIDS student focused on data science, product management, machine learning, and digital analytics. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics and Data Science in 2021.

“As a first-generation, woman of color in STEM,” she said, “my personal challenges have served to strengthen my resolve to work for an equitable, diverse, and equal environment in everything I do. I strive to enable a culture where we embrace unity in uniqueness and are at the forefront of mindful disruption. I relish the opportunity to create and participate in an inclusive atmosphere in the I School where belonging is relevant and fostered. I look forward to having a larger voice to influence culture and drive change by encouraging intersectional dialogue and collaborative interactions.”

These students represent the needs and interests of current and prospective I School students in their degree program, with particular attention to students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in higher education and information, data science, and cybersecurity, including (but not limited to) Black, Chicanx/Latinx, Native American, and Alaska Native students, first-generation college students, undocumented students, LGBTQ+ students, students with disabilities, women in STEM fields, and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

“It’s absolutely essential for academic programs to center the voices and needs of students, especially students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in higher education,” said Catherine Cronquist Browning, Assistant Dean, Academic Programs, Equity & Inclusion.

“As we move into the second year of the DEIB reps program,” she continued, “I’m excited that we now have a new staff member, Djenilin Mallari, our Manager of Diversity and Community Initiatives, who will be working to develop and refine the program and ensure that students have a point person for any concerns, needs, or interests related to diversity and equity. We hope to provide support and structure while remaining student-centered.”

Caleb Albornoz
Caleb Albornoz
Alora Clark
Alora Clark
Srishti Mehra
Srishti Mehra
Seyi Olojo
Seyi Olojo
Simran Sachdev
Simran Sachdev

Last updated:

September 15, 2022