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Engineering a Better Department at Boise State: 'Maid' Author Stephanie Land Speech Dovetails Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

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An author talking about her experiences as a mother living in poverty to a university engineering department may seem like an awkward mix, but that's exactly what the organizers of Maid (2019)-author Stephanie Land's speech at Boise State University want. That speech, "Unflinching Writing About Poverty and Motherhood," will challenge students' views and preconceived notions

“Because engineers are trained to solve problems, we have an opportunity—a responsibility—to address significant challenges that are locally relevant and globally significant. In order to do this responsibly, we must see beyond ourselves to see the world,” Will Hughes, director of the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering, wrote in a release.



Land's address starts at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 11, in the Simplot Ballroom of the Student Union Building, and it's just the latest in a number of cross-disciplinary events geared toward diversity and inclusion.

“Engineering has a historical tendency to be designed by, and for, dominant groups. This dated design reinforces an insidious pattern of being exclusionary—not by intent but by neglect—of women, underrepresented groups and the poor,” Hughes wrote. “Our hope is that our invited speaker, Stephanie Land, will help challenge our assumptions by giving a voice to a socioeconomic group we conveniently don’t see or understand.”

Boise State has undertaken numerous diversity and inclusion efforts, many of which have caused a public debacle, in an effort to be a more welcoming institution. The most recent was the Diversity and Inclusion Conference, which took place on Oct. 8. This is a continuation of the university’s efforts, according to Hughes.

“The College of Engineering’s dedication to diversity and inclusion empowers all of its students and faculty to break down the historical barriers that divide while creating the solutions for the world’s critical challenges,” Hughes wrote.

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