Texas A&M Geographer Is Recognized For Diversity Efforts
Apr 20, 2015
Wendy Jepson receives national award for championing diversity in her discipline, college and university.
Dr. Wendy Jepson will be honored at this year’s annual conference of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), held in Chicago, April 21–25.
An associate professor, Dr. Jepson is receiving the 2015 Enhancing Diversity Award, which honors geographers who have pioneered efforts in creating a more diverse discipline. Dr. Jepson is past chair of the AAG Status on Women in Geography and board member of the NSF-funded AAG “ALIGNED” project on Enhancing Diversity in Geosciences. Part of her role was to implement strategies to target potential geography majors from under-represented groups nationwide. As a result, she recruited students in urban high schools in Houston that are located in predominately Mexican-American or lower-income neighborhoods. Her recruitment efforts have also contributed to broadening participation in the geography graduate program as an advisor for several women and underrepresented minorities.
Beyond recruitment, Dr. Jepson takes considerable time and effort to support the academic success of women and underrepresented groups at all levels. She has mentored a diverse group of undergraduate students in the classroom and in research to achieve success. Recently her graduate student Tianna Bruno received the Society of Women Geographers Pruitt National Minority Fellowship.
“Not only is Dr. Jepson one of the most approachable professors that I have ever encountered, she challenges her students while providing endless encouragement and advice to build us all into well-equipped scholars," Bruno said of her mentor.
In her role as chair of the Texas A&M University Faculty Senate Committee on Diversity, Dr. Jepson has contributed to enhancing diversity initiatives on campus. She just completed her term as a member of the Presidential Council on Climate and Diversity, which supports the Provost’s Office in planning and evaluating all university units regarding diversity-related endeavors. In addition, she regularly serves on the selection committee for the Office of Graduate Program’s Diversity fellowship. Dr. Jepson also directs undergraduate education for the Department of Geography, where she has renewed recruitment efforts to increase the diversity of geography students. She is also a strong supporter of the diversity certificate program.
“Wendy Jepson is a diversity champion,” said Dr. Christine A. Stanley, vice president and associate provost for diversity, and professor of higher education. “You are consumed by her energy, as soon as you engage her in conversation or in faculty or student initiatives at the university. Her commitment to diversity and inclusion exemplifies Texas A&M’s vision to maintain a learning environment that encourages everyone to succeed to their full potential. This award comes as no surprise to me, as it justifiably recognizes her tireless efforts to provide opportunities for all students, and underscoring through example, that one individual can have a profound impact on someone’s life.”
Dr. Jepson’s research focuses on political ecology, environmental governance and politics, legal geography, and the interaction between technology and society. In recent years, she has devoted much of her research time focusing on environmental justice and water resources in the United States, in particular the complex political, economic and social inequalities in the colonias of the Lower Rio Grande Valley.