Inclusive Excellence Fellows
The inaugural Inclusive Excellence (IE) Fellows program began in the Fall of 2019. These fellowships offer the opportunity for our division to benefit from talented and passionate students who are interested in pursuing careers that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. The fellows support our strategic programs and contribute to our institutional research efforts.
Meet Maria Ali
Maria Ali is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Biology. Her research focuses on Neurobiology and the development of the Central Nervous System by using zebrafish as a vertebrate model. She is also a passionate advocate for equity among underrepresented students in graduate school. In the fall of 2017 she founded OURS (The Organization for UnderRepresented Students) to facilitate discussion among BIPOC graduate students to reduce isolation, foster community, and identify common challenges. Additionally, she co-chaired planning committees for 2019 and 2020 Diversifying Scholarship Research Conferences, which highlight research on marginalized groups and topics. Her passion for understanding and uplifting people through her research and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work leads her to pursue a career in Higher Education Administration with a focus on DEI. She hopes to use the knowledge and experience she gains through the Inclusive Excellence Fellows Program to guide her in her future career.
Meet Logan Botts
Logan K. Botts is a UVA Class of 2021 history major in the College of Arts and Sciences and a Master of Public Policy Candidate at the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. While in high school, Logan completed advanced studies and received her Associate Degree from the George Washington University. A native of Washington, D.C., Logan is passionate about reducing inequities in public education and her professional objective is to return to D.C. to develop policy that promotes educational equity. Logan is the co-director of Reflections: Oral Histories at UVA and is a member of the University Guide Service. During her time at UVA she has become passionate about historical storytelling and advocates for broader understanding of the experiences of underrepresented groups within the UVA community. Logan worked extensively with the Racial Equity Task Force to incorporate a proposal for an Office of the University Historian into their final recommendations and is the director and executive producer of a podcast uniting student, faculty, and administrator perspectives on race and equity at the University of Virginia over the course of the last half-century.
Meet Jennifer Flores
Jennifer Flores is a first-generation college student from Houston, Texas. She is a 4th year double majoring in Global Development Studies/ American Studies, with a minor in Urban Planning. She is very involved with the Latinx community both on and off grounds such as the Peer Mentoring Program for Hispanic/ Latinx Students and the local Southwood community. Jennifer also has a passion for higher education and equal opportunity for youth and focuses on a lot of her energy on mentorship programs which help get high school students’ gain access to higher education. After graduation, Jennifer plans to earn a Master’s program in Urban Planning that focuses on community development in order to combat racial injustices that happen in planning phases such as zoning.
Meet Marissa Dinko
Originally from Canton, Ohio, Marisa is now a fourth-year at UVA pursuing a double major in Global Security and Justice and Computer Science. She is passionate about identifying and expanding the intersection of technology, engineering, and social justice. Outside of academics, she is involved on grounds as a tour guide, a member of Phi Sigma Pi, a committee chair for Take Back the Night, and a student researcher for the Computer Science department studying the Cavalier Daily archives. In her role as an Inclusive Excellence Fellow, Marisa has also worked as a co-director for Reflections Oral History, a student-led initiative to document and amplify stories of diverse UVA alumni. Current projects for Marisa include producing an intersectional coeducation collection and a collection showcasing the history of activism and protest at the University. Marisa is also a lead student ambassador for the Retold codeucation celebration hosted by the Women’s Center.