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Diversity, equity and inclusion

Members of the 3D Printed aircraft team

Our MISSION is to:

  • To actively establish and foster an inclusive and equitable community for our faculty, staff, and students

  • To recruit and graduate a high quality and diverse student body

  • To recruit and retain high quality and diverse faculty and staff

Code of Conduct

For questions, comments, or to report an incident, contact the DEI committee faculty chairs at

Beginning in Summer 2020 and working over a period of 24 months, a committee of students, staff, and faculty members in the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering (AOE) worked to develop a strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the department. The aim of this strategic plan is to serve the following departmental DEI mission:

  • To actively establish and foster an inclusive and equitable community for our faculty, staff, and students.
  • To recruit and graduate a high quality and diverse student body.
  • To recruit and retain high quality and diverse faculty and staff.

In order to develop an informed strategy, the AOE DEI Committee established five subcommittees in the 2021-22 academic year to collect internal and external information related to the AOE Department’s needs with regard to DEI. Internal information gathering focused on collecting objective, quantitative data about historical trends and subjective opinion data about the department’s current state. External information gathering focused on surveying similar DEI efforts in other academic and professional organizations within and outside Virginia Tech.

More specifically, these five subcommittees were tasked with:
1. Creating and administering surveys
2. Planning focus groups with moderated discussions
3. Reviewing DEI goals and strategies established by other organizations
4. Gathering diversity data concerning undergraduate and graduate AOE students
5. Supporting engagement and education about DEI issues

Each subcommittee presented the results of its efforts in the context of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) along with goals and corresponding actions to support the mission stated above. More than 60 actions were identified, along with preliminary budget considerations and metrics.

In reviewing the outcomes, the committee prioritized the following goals:
1.     Provide transparent, open, and communicative DEI environment in AOE.
2.     Increase representation of underrepresented groups among faculty, staff, and students.
3.     Increase faculty/staff/student sensitivity to DEI in relation to the classroom.

For the 2022-23 academic year, the AOE DEI Committee has reorganized into three subcommittees, each devoted to one of the three goals listed above. In addressing the goals above, these subcommittees will pursue an abridged list of actions that were identified through by the committee with additional input from AOE department stakeholders.


Since 1992, the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED) has provided encouragement and support to engineering students, focusing on the under-represented population.  AOE faculty are active in CEED summer camps and STEM initiatives such as BLAST, C-Tech² or TechGirls, and through outreach to local high schools in the area.

Learn more at the CEED website at how Virginia Tech is building diversity in Engineering.

This list was compiled by members of the AOE community.  If you have any other resources you would like to share, please submit your ideas to  

  • Dog Whistle Politics, by Ian Haney-López 
  • Waking Up White, by Debby Irving 
  • The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin
  • My Grandmother’s Hands, by Resmaa Menakam 
  • Diversity at Work: The Practice of Inclusion, by Bernardo Ferdman 
  • Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates 
  • Inclusion: Diversity, The New Workplace & The Will to Change, by Jennifer Brown 
  • Democracy in Black, by Eddy Glaude, Jr. 
  • White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White, by Frank H. Wu
  • Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum 
  • White Rage, by Carol Anderson
  • How Racism Takes Place, by George Lipsitz 
  • White Like Me, by Tim Wise 
  • Evicted, by Matthew Desmond 
  • Diversity at Work: The Practice of Inclusion, by Bernardo Ferdman 
  • Whistling Vivaldi, by Claude M. Steele 
  • The Difference, by Scott Page 
  • We Can’t Talk About that at Work, by Mary-Frances Winters 
  • How to Be and Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi 
  • I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, by Austin Channing Brown 
  • So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo 
  • Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, by Mahzarin R Banaji 
  • Crucial Accountability: Tools for Resolving Violated Expectations, Broken Commitments, and Bad Behavior, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, David Maxfield 

Pronouns and Why They Matter

Holiday 22/'23
Rosh Hashanah – Jewish
Jewish New Year. Begins at sundown. A time of introspection, abstinence, prayer and penitence. The story of Abraham is read, the ram’s horn is sounded, and special foods are prepared and shared.
Sept 26 – 27
Paryushana Parva – Jain
Jain 8 day fesitval signifying human emergence into a new world of spiritual and moral refinement. Marked by recitations from Jain sacred writing and family exchange of cards and letters. Celebration of the natural qualities of the soul. The 8th day (Samvatsari) is most important and is forcused on forgiveness.
Aug 23
Waqf al Arafa – Hajj – Islam
Begins at sundown. Islamic observance day during Hajj when pilgrims pray for forgiveness and mercy.
July 9
Yom Kippur – Jewish
Begins at sundown. Jewish Day of Atonement. The holiest day of the Jewish year is observed with strict fasting and ceremonial repentance.
Oct 5
Mabon – Wicca/Pagan
Wicca observance of the autumnal equinox when day and night are of equal length. A harvest festival time.
Sept 22
Eid al Adha – Sacrifice Day – Islam
Begins at sundown. Islamic Festival of Sacrifice. The day after Arafat, the most important day in the Hajj ritual. A three-day festival recalling Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to Allah.
July 20
Sukkot – Jewish
Begins at sundown. Jewish Feast of Tabernacles which celebrates the harvest and protection of the people of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness dwelling in tents. Temporary dwelling places have leaves for a roof so the sky can be seen. In temperate climates, night is spent in the Succoth.
Oct 10 – Oct 11
Shemini Atzeret – Jewish
Begins at sundown. Jewish completion of the annual cycle of reading of the Torah
Oct 17
Simchat Torah – Jewish
Begins at sundown. Jewish day to celebrate the reading of the law. Synagogue services involve readings, processions and blessing of the children.
Oct 18
Navaratri – Hindu
Hindu Festival of the divine mother honoring Durga, wife of Shiva, and seeking her blessings. Also observed as a celebration recalling the days of Lord Krishna.
Sept 26
Hijra – New Year – Islam
Begins at sundown. The emigration of Muhammad and his followers to Medina in 615 c.e.
July 30
Birth of the Bab – Baha’i
Begins at sundown. Baha’i honoring of the founder of the Babi religion, forerunner to Baha’u’llah and the Baha’i faith.
Oct 20
Installation of Scriptures as Guru Granth – Sikh
Sikh scriptures, the Adi Granth, are honored as perpetual Guru.
Oct 20
Dasara (Dussehra) – Hindu
Hindu celebration of victory and valor. Lord Rama is remembered as winning a victory over evil.
Oct 5
Ashura – Islam
An Islamic optional one day fast. The Shia observance is based on the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s Grandson, Hussein, martyred on this date in 683/684 AD at the battle of Kerbala. Sunni observance is a recognition of Moses fasting in gratitude to Allah/God for liberation from oppression.
Aug 7
Samhain – Beltane – Pagan/Wicca
Wicca celebration of endings and beginnings and of remembering the dead. Revering of elders is also observed. Begins at sundown.
Nov 1
Veterans Day – Interfaith USA Nov 11
Diwali – Hindu – Jain – Sikh
Hindu Festival of Lights symbolizing the human urge to move toward the light. Gift exchanges, fireworks and festive meals.
Oct 24
Birth of Baha’u’llah – Baha’i
Baha’i celebration of the birth of their founder and teacher. Refrain from work. Begins at sundown.
Nov 12
New Year – Jain Oct 25
Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom – Sikh
Sikh time of remembering the execution of Tegh Bahadur by the Moghul Emperor in India.
Nov 24
Guru Nanak Dev Sahib birthday – Sikh
Sikh honoring of the birth of the first Sikh teacher who lived from 1469 – 1539 c.e. Sacred readings, prayers, hymns, meals together.
Nov 7
Day of the Covenant – Baha’i
Baha’i day of celebration of the covenant given in the last will and testament of Baha’u’llah.
Nov 26
Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha – Baha’i
Baha’i celebration of the rising of the spirit of Abdu’l-Baha to the heavenly dwelling.
Nov 28
Hanukkah – Judaism
Jewish festival of lights. It commemorates the Maccabean recapture and rededication of the Jerusalem Temple in 165-164 b.c.e. Special readings and praise songs focus on liberty and freedom. The eight candle Menorah is lighted. Begins at sundown.
Dec 18 – 26
Rohatsu (Bodhi Day) – Buddhist
Buddhist celebration of the enlightenment of Buddha.
Dec 8
Posadas Navidenas – Christian
Hispanic Christian feast of the Lodgings commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem in preparation for the birth of Jesus.
Dec 16 – 25
Yule – Wicca/Pagan
The festival of the winter-solstice
Dec 21
Mawlid an Nabi – Islam
Islamic commemoration of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, in about 570 c.e. The prophet’s teachings are read and religious meetings are held. Shia and Sunni on separate days. Begins at sundown.
Oct 8
Christmas – Christian
Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Observed by prayers, exchanging of gifts, and family parties.
Dec 25
Kwanzaa – Interfaith USA
Seven day spiritual celebration of African-American values and traditions and their continued vitality. “Kwanzaa” is Swahili and means “first fruits of the harvest.”
Dec 26 – Jan 1
Birth of Guru Gobind Singh – Sikh
Anniversary of the birth of the tenth guru.
Jan 5
Maghi – Sikh
Commemorates the battle in which 40 Sikhs (the Immortal Ones) laid down their lives for the guru (Guru Gobind Singh).
Jan 13
World Religion Day – Baha’i
In 1950, this day was founded by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States to address the need for religious unity.
Jan 16
Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Jan 17
Fatemiyeh – Islam
The Shia observance is based on the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s daughter, lady Fatima.
Chinese New Year – Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist Feb 1
Ash Wednesday (Lent Begins) – Christian
Begins Christian Lent; name derives from symbolic use of ashes to signify penitence.
Mar 2
Nirvana Day – Buddhist
Commemorates the death of Buddha
Feb 15
Parinirvana – Buddhist Feb 15
Ayyam-i-Ha – Baha’i
This period adjusts the Baha’i year to the solar calendar. It leads to the 19 day fast; each day of Ayyam-i-Ha is marked by a different virtue like hospitality, gift giving or charity.
Feb 26 – Mar 1
Nineteen Day Fast Period – Baha’i
A fast to be observed by adult Baha’is in good health from sunrise to sundown.
Mar 1 – 19
Naw-Ruz – Baha’i
Nowruz – ZoroastrianThe day of the vernal equinox, which marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It is celebrated as the beginning of New Year in Iran, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, and by various ethno-linguistic groups across the world
Mar 20
Holi – Hindu
Spring festival; a carnival occasion featuring bright colors, pilgrimages and bonfires.
Mar 18
Purim – Jewish
Feast of Lots; celebrates deliverance of Jews of ancient Persians froma plot to destroy them.
Mar 16
Hola Mohalla – Sikh
A day to commemorate the valor and bravery of the Sikhs. This 3-day festival consists of mock battles, music and poetry reading.
Mar 18  
Good Friday – Christian
The Friday of Jesus’ crucifixion.
April 15
Easter – Christian
Celebration of the resurrection of Christ.
April 17
Pesach (Passover) – Jewish
Marks the deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt; “Seder” ceremonies emphasize the concept of freedom.
April 15 – 23
Ridvan – Baha’i
Commemorates the declaration of Baha’u’llah to his followers in 1863. Work is suspended for the 1st, 9th and 12th day.
April 21 – May 2
Buddha Day (Visakaha Puja, Wesak) – Buddhist
Celebration of the birth of Buddha in Japan.
Lailat al Bara-ah – Islam
Night of Forgiveness. A night of prayer to Allah for forgiveness of the dead. Preparation for Ramadan through intense prayer.
Ascension of Baha’u’llah – Baha’i
A commemoration of the death of Baha’u’llah.
May 29
Ramadan Begins (US Date) – Islam
The ninth month in the Islamic calendar; 30 days of strict fasting from sunup to sundown in honor of the first revelations to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).
April 3
Shavuot – Jewish
Festival of Weeks; celebrates harvest of first fruits and commemorates the giving of the Torah and Commandments at Mt’ Sinai.
June 5
Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev – Sikh
Anniversary of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev in 1606 C. E., the fifth guru who had built the Golden Temple of Amristar.
Jun 16
Juneteenth – Interfaith USA
Also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, it commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery.
June 19
Summer Solstice – Pagan/Wicca June 21
‘Id al-Fitr – Islam
Festival of the breaking of the fast of Ramadan.
May 3
Martyrdom of the B’ab – Baha’i
Anniversary of the martyrdom of the B’ab, the forerunner of Baha’u’llah, in 1850.
July 9
Pioneer Day – Mormon
Observance of the arrival of Brigham Young and the early settlers to Salt Lake City, Utah.
July 24