CEGE Diversity & Equity Committee

Civil, environmental, and geo- engineers provide the infrastructure that protects, sustains, and promotes the welfare, health, and well-being of human kind. To accomplish this mission, it is critical that engineers serve all communities equitably, without bias or discrimination, and call upon and use our collective skills to address issues of diversity and equity in society. Inclusion of and collaboration among people of all cultures and backgrounds drives the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering to deliver teaching, learning, and research that will develop the tools and relationships required to build resilient, inclusive, and diverse communities. As civil, environmental, and geo- engineers, we fundamentally believe that diversity in all forms advances our profession.

The CEGE Diversity & Equity Committee, launched in 2018, works to uphold these values throughout the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering.

Accomplishments & Current Projects


  • CEGE continued efforts to increase inclusion in the department. We hosted our second-annual department-wide survey and used the results to guide our inclusion efforts throughout the year.
  • Started a CEGE DEI Movie Night for students to come together and watch and discuss movies with a focus on diversity and inclusion in STEM.
  • Streamlined the process for making departmental funds available to student groups to host inclusion-focused events.


  • CEGE made active efforts to increase inclusion in the department. We hosted the inaugural dissemination of a department-wide survey in Fall 2022 to understand where efforts should be focused to improve inclusion. This led to the first annual CEGE State of Inclusivity report (available upon request).
  • Started new DEI Bookclub to facilitate conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM through a series of student-selected books
  • Launched CEGE Queer Community group to provide a gathering space for LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff within the department
  • Co-sponsored "Women and Minorities in CEGE Panel" in collaboration with UMN's ASCE Student Chapter (March 2023)
  • Incorporated DEI Moments into monthly CEGE Departmental Meetings


  • Collaborated with Boynton Health and the CEGE Graduate Studies Committee to distribute a mental health survey to CEGE graduate students. This data was analyzed, presented, and discussed at a mental health community/listening meeting for the graduate program, faculty, and staff. The community meeting included a presentation from D&E Committee members and small group discussion. (Fall 2019)
  • Worked with Facility Management to install gender-inclusive restroom and menstrual product signage in the Civil Engineering Building (Fall 2019)
  • Coordinated an end-of semester colloquium on the experiences of international graduate students and faculty with the Graduate Studies Committee (Fall 2019)


  • Provided training to faculty on inclusive language in teaching (Spring 2019)
  • Invited Edgar Arriaga, co-lead of the CSE Diversity & Inclusivity Alliance, to speak as a Warren Lecturer (Spring 2019)

Committee Members

  • Michelle Anderson (staff)
  • Mariah Dorner (graduate student)
  • Robynn Hickman (student)
  • Klara Kondrak (student)
  • Emma Lonson (student)
  • Char Psios (staff)
  • Erin Surdo (faculty)
  • Raphael Stern (faculty & committee chair, rstern@umn.edu)