Our beloved Betty Gaffney was honored with the 2022 Staff Diversity Excellence Award for her ongoing work to promote a culture of inclusion that encourages relationships and interactions among people of diverse backgrounds within the CWRU Department of Physics and across the university.
Each year, the Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity (OIDEO) at Case Western Reserve University gives awards to members of the university community in recognition of significant contributions toward enhancing the university’s commitment to diversity through inclusive thinking, mindful learning and transformative dialogue.
It is no surprise to us that Betty, placed into nomination for the award by Professor Harsh Mathur, was selected this year’s winner.
“Betty is a: (1) Member of the Physics Department EDI committee, (2) Member of the department team participating in the 3 year American Physical Society IDEA (Inclusion Diversity and Equity Alliance) program, (3) Member of the department team participating in 1 year American Institute of Physics TEAM UP (Task force to Elevate African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics and Astronomy), and (4) Former member of African American Community Resource Group at CWRU,” said Harsh, adding that the list alone doesn’t do justice to the excellence of all of her contributions.
As the Department of Physics graduate student coordinator and assistant to the business manager, Betty’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) efforts at CWRU span many years. People who work with her credit her as being critical to the collegiality for which the physics department is known. As a member of the African American Campus Community Resource Group, she worked to create a very successful Juneteenth Celebration in 2019. Work with this group was the basis for CWRU making this day a holiday. As a staff representative of the CWRU APS IDEA Team, Betty believes that attention and commitment to equity within the scientific enterprise are necessary to enable the success of individuals in our community. In addition to her duties as the physics graduate admissions coordinator, undergraduate student worker supervisor and graduate student payroll administrator, Betty assists the department business manager with research and department grants, and financials. She has been the event coordinator for several conferences hosted by the physics department, including BLV2018, PASCO 2018 and the Standard Model 50th Anniversary.