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Civil Rights, Equal Employment Opportunity, and Diversity
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The Soil Drainage Research Unit is committed to civil rights, equal employment opportunity, and promoting diversity within the workplace.  We feel that a commitment to these three principles is critical for ensuring that we are an inclusive, high performing research unit.  We emphasize that civil rights, equal employment opportunity, and diversity is everyone's responsibility by making it part of each employee's annual performance evaluation plan and requiring all employees to complete mandatory civil rights training.  We also encourage our employees to go beyond mandated activities and training, and they have risen to the challenge many times. 


We received the MWA Summer Internship Awards in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009.  The awards were used to develop summer internship projects for students underrepresented in the sciences to provide them with research experience and an introduction to possible careers within the ARS.  Notably, one of our summer interns continued working on her research project under the direction of her internship director and eventually published it in a peer review journal.  We were also selected as the host for a Kika de la Garza Fellowship in 2010.  This fellowship was awarded to Dr. Laura Sanders from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Illinois.  We designed her fellowship to provide her with an introduction to SDRU's research program and to explore possible avenues for future collaboration.  Selected fellowship activities include research demonstrations, tours of field research sites, and participation in ongoing field and laboratory research. 

Our employees have developed and presented EEO and diversity related presentations during our monthly staff meetings.  Contributed presentations covered topics such as:  1) History of the Wyandots of Ohio, 2) Water Resources and Conflict in Israel and Palestine; 3) Ohio and the Underground Railroad; 4) Asian-Pacific Cultures; 5) Middle Eastern Cultures; 6) Indonesia Culture; and 7) cultural consideration at the Urban-Rural interface.  Our employees have also promoted diversity within the ARS and the sciences in general by attending job fairs, serving as science fair judges, and serving mentors for underrepresented students in the sciences.  

We are confident that our commitment to civil rights, equal opportunity, and diversity will contribute to the ongoing USDA-wide cultural transformation and will assist with increasing diversity within the sciences.  Below is a pdf file of the peer review manuscript written by one of our summer interns.

Peer review manuscript written by 2009 MWA Summer Intern