Dr. LaShan Simpson Chosen to Lead Diversity Initiatives within the Shackouls Honors College

         Since joining Mississippi State University in 2013, Dr. C. LaShan Simpson has been an advocate for minority students, especially STEM majors, in many ways through the various roles that she serves. In 2019, Dr. Simpson was chosen to lead within the Honors College Diversity and Inclusion mission as the Coordinator of Diversity Initiatives. Dr. Simpson is an ally and mentor to minority students in the Shackouls Honors College and strives to create an inclusive environment for all students.
         When asked to define what being the coordinator meant to her, Simpson said, “I see it as an honor to be able to help the students to feel included.” The Honors College is engaging and including students through monthly social mixers hosted by Simpson. The most recent event was in October in celebration of Latin Heritage Month. “This semester, I have been working to engage Hispanic students more,” Simpson said. Dr. Karina Zelaya, an Assistant Professor at MSU with research and study focuses on Latin American literature and culture, performed a reading at the event. “You can learn from anything. So to broaden your horizons and learn more about different cultures, I definitely encourage people to come out and participate in our events.” Simpson said.
         On November 19, 2021, Dr. Simpson is hosting the Honors Minority Enrichment Day trip with stops along the way to Birmingham, AL. The first stop is at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL. The group will then travel to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. The trip will end at TopGolf in Birmingham. The trip provides an opportunity for students to engage with one another and expose themselves to the history of our country.
         The Honors College and MSU prioritize the inclusion of all students. They want to ensure that every person feels welcome and represented through access to resources that allow students to have successful college careers. Dr. Simpson works directly with students to ensure that their needs are being met. With her leadership, the goal to bridge the gap between minority students and involvement on campus is actively being achieved.  “A lot of the students when I first started in this position and met with them, they didn’t know of all of the opportunities within the Honors College that were available to them, and they also didn’t feel as if they had a home in the honors college. So, being able to create that community for them and being able to connect with them, I really enjoy it.” Simpson said.
         In addition to her position in the Honors College, her other roles include being an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and a co-Advisor for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). She was the 2021 Diversity Lecture Award winner from the Biomedical Engineering Society. Dr. Simpson also began the Biomedical Engineering Association of MSU (B.E.A.M.) in her department. She engages with women and minority students in STEM through research and leadership opportunities in her laboratory. To learn more about Diversity Initiatives in the Honors College and how to get involved, please contact Dr. Simpson at cls893@msstate.edu.