We value the perspectives and contributions that each unique individual, including women, underrepresented minorities, LGBTQ+, and differently-abled, can bring to our discipline. And we believe that everyone has the right to work and study in a supportive environment that fosters a sense of belonging and respect.

To that end, we have taken concrete steps in recent years towards developing a more diverse and inclusive department. These include actively recruiting excellent women and underrepresented minority faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and students. We have also created merit fellowships to catalyze these efforts at the Master’s and PhD levels. In addition, we have dedicated time, funding, and administrative support to the formation of the Women of Mechanical Engineering Network, an undergraduate student group.

While these steps have increased the department’s diversity and are fostering a more inclusive environment as a whole, we still have work to do to enact long-term, positive change. We are researching, discussing, and collaborating to forge a new way forward for our department.

Our Action Plan

Below are some of the immediate steps that we are taking as a department:

  • Expanding our Diversity and Inclusion Committee to include staff, postdoctoral fellows, and students at all levels;
  • Assessing the current climate and experiences of all members of our department, in order to identify and understand what we are doing well and where we need to improve to create a respectful and supportive environment for everyone;
  • Reevaluating our departmental Diversity Action Plan, based on the findings of the climate assessment;
  • Appointing two departmental ombudsmen whom any member of our department can contact regarding issues related to the advancement, or lack thereof, of a respectful and supportive environment;
  • Sponsoring resources and opportunities for professional development and networking for women and underrepresented minority postdoctoral fellows and students at all levels.

Diversity and Inclusion Committee

The mission of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee is to guide the department to develop and implement research-grounded initiatives that will ensure a safe space for all in our community, to foster inclusivity, and to ensure that we succeed as individuals and together.

Committee Members

  • Thao (Vicky) Nguyen, Chair and Professor
  • Dennice Gayme, Associate Professor
  • Axel Krieger, Assistant Professor
  • Rui Ni, Associate Professor
  • Xiaolong Lu, Assistant Research Scientist
  • Michael Bernard, Academic Program Manager
  • Simon Toedtli, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Bianca Viggiano, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Jacob Diamond, Graduate Student
  • Manuel Ayala, Graduate Student
  • Lorena Velasquez, Graduate Student

Submit your feedback to the committee

Let us know your thoughts about the department’s climate and culture - and how to improve it. Feedback can be anonymous and will be reviewed by the Diversity and Inclusion Committee monthly.

*This form does not replace existing campus procedures for reporting incidents of harassment or discrimination. Contact the Office of Institutional Equity to get help.


The Whiting School has compiled a list of helpful diversity-related resources for our students, faculty, and staff. The list comprises training and education, information on divisional and university initiatives, groups and committees, and more.

Distinguished Master's Fellowship

The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers fellowships to outstanding underrepresented master’s applicants in the form of partial or full tuition waivers for full-time master’s degree graduate study.

The Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative (VTSI)

The $150 million initiative will provide permanent funding to add a sustained cohort of approximately 100 new slots for diverse PhD students in JHU’s more than 30 STEM programs.

Student Affinity Groups

Across the University, Johns Hopkins students, faculty, postdocs, and trainees have founded a vast range of affinity groups and committees concerned with diversity, to bring individuals with similar backgrounds, cultures, interests, and ambitions together in community or common purpose.

Student Spotlight

Mechanical engineering third-year Bridgette Kim was awarded the highly competitive DoD SMART Scholarship. Next summer, she will work on submersible vehicle technology as an intern at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Norfolk, Virginia.