It’s about ALL of us — NIST economist Juan Fung is on the ground floor of a movement happening within our organization, lending his expertise to the newly established Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Office (DEIO).
The need to provide for community has followed Juan since he first started at NIST in 2016. Following his doctoral studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, he found a practical application for his quantitative methods in NIST’s disaster resilience research. To convince leaders that it’s worth the cost upfront to prepare communities for disasters, having data to show the return on investment can be critical. That’s where Juan would come in.
But this past January, Juan shifted gears to help another community: the NIST community.
Along with Jeanita Pritchett and Carina Hahn (and formerly, Sesha Joi Moon), his colleagues in DEIO, Juan is helping to implement a recently developed strategic plan for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility at NIST. He is helping to create milestones and metrics for tracking progress, along with a dashboard to provide visualizations of that growth.
As a Latino immigrant from Guatemala who has experienced some of the challenges that DEIO seeks to resolve, Juan sees this moment as more evergreen than it is fleeting. Awareness of issues for Latinos may come and go in the news cycle, but this effort is more permanent … and it’s not only about one underrepresented group. It’s about everyone.
That’s what draws Juan in. The mission of DEIO is about more than just him. It’s about the community in which he plays just a small part.
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