Boyd-Sinkler Named Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Duke Engineering

January 15, 2021

Beginning in March 2021, Karis Boyd-Sinkler will advance diversity, equity, inclusion and community across Duke Engineering

Karis Boyd-Sinkler

Karis Boyd-Sinkler

After an intensive nationwide search by a school-wide committee, Karis Boyd-Sinkler has been named the new Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Pratt School of Engineering, beginning in March 2021.

In this vital role, Boyd-Sinkler will work with Duke Engineering’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community (DEIC) Committee and the school’s four departments to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and community through activities, programs, relationships, and the development and implementation of a strategic plan with measurable outcomes.

Key among her priorities will be to serve as an advocate and resource for Duke Engineering students. She will also work closely with other schools and the larger university to share best practices, advocate for our community and provide regular updates to faculty, students and staff.

“We are thrilled to have recruited a candidate with Karis’s highly relevant experience, demonstrated commitment to engineering education and passion for working toward diversity and inclusion for this important role,” said Ravi Bellamkonda, the Vinik Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke.

An engineer by training, Boyd-Sinkler received her Bachelor's in Engineering Science from the University of Virginia with a concentration in nanomedicine engineering, and her Master's in Industrial and Systems Engineering with a concentration in human factors from Virginia Tech. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, with an expected degree completion date of May 2021. A recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, she has focused her dissertation research on exploring the interpersonal relationships of Black men in engineering. In addition, she actively supports and conducts research related to students from traditionally underserved and underrepresented populations in engineering.

As a program assistant in Virginia Tech’s Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity, Boyd-Sinkler has led multiple mentoring, outreach and professional development programs focused on recruitment and retention of engineering students at all levels. She has also led or participated in numerous local and national panels, workshops and seminars related to engineering education and diversity in engineering. Prior to starting graduate school in 2016, Boyd-Sinkler worked at the University of Virginia as the associate director of student affairs in the Center for Diversity in Engineering.

“I was attracted to Duke Engineering by the opportunity to work with students, faculty and staff and to be an advocate for the entire Pratt community,” said Boyd-Sinkler. “Everyone I’ve spoken with has been warm and welcoming, and truly enthusiastic about working on issues of diversity and inclusion--there’s a real desire to not just talk about positive change, but take action to get things done. I’m humbled to step into this important role, and can’t wait to get my feet on the ground to get started!”

Boyd-Sinkler plans to begin her new position by meeting with student affinity groups, the DEIC committee, department leaders, and others across Duke and Pratt to learn more about the community while completing final work toward her PhD, and transition into the role full-time in June 2021.

“Many people across Duke Engineering have been working diligently to raise awareness of issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and other inequalities in our community, and to take meaningful action to create a community where every individual can feel that they belong, and reach their fullest potential in a welcoming and supportive environment,” said associate dean Nan Jokerst, who will co-chair the Pratt DEIC committee with Boyd-Sinkler. “While there is a great deal of work ahead, we are encouraged by the deep commitment of our community and by the enthusiasm and leadership Karis will bring to take these initiatives to the next level.”

Learn more about DEIC at Pratt