Dr. Wolfgang Sigmund & Ms. Beth Roland, MSE Seminar, September 13th

Hosted by Dr. Jiangeng Xue

Department of Materials Science and Engineering Seminar Series

Tuesday, September 13, 2016                 4:05 – 4:55 p.m.                Rhines Hall, 125



Dr. Wolfgang Sigmund

Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

University of Florida


Ms. Beth Roland

Learning Specialist in the Disability Resource Center

University of Florida



Diversity and Inclusion in Engineering



Diversity and Inclusion are currently big words in the corporate world since the strength of a diverse workforce allows companies to outperform others that lack in diversity. The economic factor is a great driving force to enable society as well as work and educational institutions to become better for all people.  We will start with a discussion on the definition of diversity. This is followed by some historic examples. Here we will go over legally recognized underrepresented minorities, women as well as groups with limited legal protections such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) people. Since diversity is not working without inclusion, we will look into possibilities to create a more inclusive environment. Unconscious bias and available tools to gauge bias will be discussed.  In the second part of the seminar we will focus on diversity that may be well hidden. About 9 to 15% of university students in the USA have a disability. We will discuss mental and physical disabilities and look at case studies.



Wolfgang Sigmund is a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Florida. He studied in Germany and Great Britain and since then worked in Europe, Asia and the Americas at Max-Planck Institutes, RIKEN (Japan), Hanyang University (South Korea), and several other universities. He is editor in chief for one journal which is in the top 20% of SCI journals and on multiple editorial boards.  He has published two edited books, numerous book chapters, and 200+ refereed articles and 40+ patents. He frequently organizes national and international symposia and conferences. Some of these focus on LGBTQ+ topics. He is member of NOGLSTP and oSTEM and fellow in three materials societies and one academy.


Beth Roland is a learning specialist in the Disability Resource Center within the Dean of Students Office at the University of Florida. She studied psychology as an undergraduate and school psychology for her masters and specialist degrees. She was a school psychologist at the high school level in Massachusetts for 6 years, before moving to Florida one year ago. She cares deeply about diversity, inclusion, and social justice, and led a diversity committee for her program in graduate school. She also advised the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at the high school where she worked. Her current passions include the development of a new peer mentor program within the DRC to strengthen transition supports for students with disabilities into the university, and to promote accessibility and inclusion at the institutional level at UF by forming collaborations and partnerships with different departments across campus.