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A-State Selects Srivatsan as Diversity Excellence Award Winner


JONESBORO — Dr. Malathi Srivatsan, assistant director of Arkansas Biosciences Institute, has been selected as the recipient of Arkansas State University’s Diversity Excellence Award. The announcement was made at the Convocation of Scholars diversity luncheon.

Srivatsan, professor of neurobiology and director of molecular biosciences, was chosen from a group of five nominees, known as “Friends of Diversity.” The nominees included Dr. Tim Crist, professor of music; the Department of Political Science Master of Public Administration program; Department of Teacher Education at Arkansas State University-Mountain Home; and the Interactive Teaching and Technology Center.

Dr. Roderick L. Smothers, president of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, was the keynote speaker for the event. Smothers was named president in October 2014 and took office January 1, 2015.

“This is a great feeling,” said Srivatsan. “But, it takes team work. This award recognizes, not only me, but the whole team effort and the dedicated work the team puts in.”

The Diversity Excellence Award recognizes individual faculty members, faculty groups, academic departments or academic units that demonstrate the highest commitment to enhancing excellence through diversity. The program recognizes efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion.

In 2014, the National Science Foundation awarded a major grant designed to boost doctoral degree program enrollment in the traditional STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Srivatsan is the principle investigator for the project. Two other Arkansas institutions, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Philander Smith College, also are involved.

Titled “Bridging the Divide: A Program to Broaden Participation in STEM Ph.D.,” the project was funded at $749,964 over a five-year period, and will conclude in early 2019.

“There were five outstanding nominees for this award,” said Dr. Maurice Gipson, assistant vice chancellor for diversity. “Malathi Srivatsan, above and beyond, really accomplishes what our mission statement talks about and that is diversity is something we do and it is a reality.

“For the bridge program she does in the summer, she finds a way to bring in seven under-represented minorities here to campus to do research in a full lab. No one else is doing that in Arkansas. This is a small token of appreciation to show what she does in terms of diversity really matters and we appreciate her.”

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