G.W. Carver Program promotes diversity and inclusion

The George Washington Carver Program helps Shavvon Whiten achieve her goal of earning a Ph.D.

The George Washington Carver Program helps Shavvon Whiten achieve her goal of earning a Ph.D.

When Shavonn Whiten started her Ph.D. in entomology at Virginia Tech, she found more than just an academic home — she found a place where she feels at home.

“Virginia Tech has a great environment where I can learn and grow while feeling like I’m in a supportive atmosphere where I can identify with other minority students,” said Whiten, whose passion for entomology and molecular toxicology complement each other perfectly in Professor Dini Miller’s bed bug laboratory.

Whiten is one of the members of the George Washington Carver Program for graduate students. The program provides assistantships to students from historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, tribal colleges and universities, students from the Appalachian region, and nontraditional students. It not only gives students an opportunity to earn a graduate degree they may not have had otherwise, it also helps to increase the diversity of the college. This in turn creates a student population that is more reflective of societal demographics and helps build an inclusive environment.

The funding helps Whiten focus on her work, and it has also inspired her to share her success story with other budding scientists.

“I want to be a role model for minority youth interested in science and show them that an advanced education in science is a possibility,” she said.

Share