December 2, 2020
In Conversation with
Softball Coach Monica Harrison

Coach Monica Harrison, Head Coach of the Carnegie Mellon University softball team and NCAA Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Designee, is an advocate for student-athletes and a champion for DEI work within the Athletics department at Carnegie Mellon. In October, Carnegie Mellon and other members of the University Athletics Association took to social media to launch #TogetherWeRise in honor of the NCAA Diversity & Inclusion campaign.

The Center spoke to Coach Harrison about her work with CMU Athletics.

Can you define your role as the DEI liason for Athletics?

As the NCAA Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Designee, my role is to help communicate the strategy, messaging and programming from the National NCAA office. I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to expand on that role directly in the Athletics Department here at CMU. I am assisting the Leadership Team in benchmarking the culture around diversity and inclusion within athletics, formulate strategy for that models a culture leading with inclusive excellence, and helping to suggest/develop training and programming for staff and student-athletes around cultural competencies and diversity and inclusion with the hopes of achieving a culture of inclusive excellence.

Why is DEI important to the experiences of scholar athletes?
DEI is important to the experiences of student-athletes because like their peers, student-athlete are coming to college looking for a positive affirming experience. Often times society dictates that their identity as a student-athlete is prioritized over other important aspects of their lives that they closely identify with as well. Giving student-athlete space to explore the intersectionality of their identities and find confidence in themselves through that exploration is why the DEI space is vitally important for student-athletes. No one person/group is a monolith and to tell student-athletes that you can be different and not have to fit into the stereotypical mold of how an athlete should look, act, feel and react gives power back to the hands of the student-athlete.

What are you reading and listening to?
I am the Head Softball Coach, NCAA ADID and a mom of 2 little ones (3y/o and 17 month old) so my days during the pandemic have been turned upside down. I have had virtually no time to myself to dive into a good book which I normally do on the plane rides to recruiting. I have been taking in some bit-sized nuggets of information by following Brene Brown and Ibram X Kendi on social media. As far as listening goes, my radio is controlled by the little ones so it's Elmo Songs and Little Baby Bum on repeat. I have been indulging on a new Netflix series The Queen's Gambit. I can squeeze in about one episode a week.
Watch the "Together We Rise: Staff Panel Discussion" Featuring Coach Harrison
The Office of International Education Launches the Fourth Year of the Host Family Program
Students participating in the 2020 Host Family Program for International Students
Pictured: Amulya (top); Byeongjoo (mid-left); Gautam (mid-right); Rahul (bottom-left); Zhaomin (bottom-right)

Host Family Program for International Students adapts to the pandemic, inviting people to become Virtual Neighbors.
Host Family, sponsored by the Office of International Education (OIE), is now in its fourth year.  Students are paired with CMU community members, and they agree to get together once a month for an academic year.   They’ve enjoyed tours of Pittsburgh, visits to museums and sporting events, and meals at home.  Many hosts continue to stay in touch with their students after graduation.  This year, in response to the pandemic, we’ve adapted Host Family to become Virtual Neighbors: students meet their CMU neighbors over Zoom, email or other socially-distant ways.  Fifty people are currently participating in this Virtual Neighborhood.  Each month they’re furnished with a “Conversation Kit” that provides ice-breaking questions.  Students send in photos, and responses to these questions about their families, holidays, hobbies, and their studies.  Soon to come is an “Art Corner” where they will share drawings, photography, calligraphy, etc.  It will be a wonderful showcase of our talented and diverse group of international students.  It’s so much fun to get to know them!
Christine Asenjo, International Programs Coordinator, Office of International Education.  Served previously as assistant to Michael Murphy, Vice President for Campus Affairs.  Study Leader, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, offering courses on Hinduism, Sikhism, and Islam in India.  

This program is led by Chris Asenjo, International Programs Coordinator within the Office of International Education. She is a longstanding member of the Carnegie Mellon community, serving in many capacities over the years, including working within University Campus Affairs and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Learn More about the Host Family Program
Attorney Ben Crump and Michelle Williams Speak at CMU
On October 29, Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump and Grammy Award singer/songwriter Michelle Williams led a conversation on civil rights, social justice, hosted by the Activities Board and University Lecture Series. The conversation was moderated by doctorate student Uche Agwu.

If you missed the conversation, we welcome you to view the recording below.
View the Conversation

Please click on an event poster to learn more.
Visit our website to view all our events. All event times are EST.
Flyer for Modern Language Course Offerings for Native and Heritage Speakers
Community Partners
Flyer for a beginner-friendly hackthon for LGBTQ+ students
Internship & Job Opportunities
Flyer for Out for Undergrad Business Conference for LGBTQ+ Professionals
Flyer for Business Opportunity for people with disabilities from Bender Consulting Services
Opportunities & Resources

Engaging in Civil Discourse
Wednesday, December 2 at 7:00pm EDT
Registration link: (Use this to get the Zoom link)
Did a relative say something offensive over Thanksgiving break? Join CMU Votes and a panel of experts to learn how to engage in difficult conversations with your loved ones that are meaningful and effective. You may feel that you have a duty to educate your family, but it can be challenging to engage in productive conversations that actually change minds. Engaging with family members and friends about tough issues is often emotionally draining, so we will also discuss strategies for self care.

CMU Alumni Awards
Wednesday, December 16th, 5-6:00 p.m., The CMU Alumni Association will proudly honor 11 members of the CMU community, all of whom have made an impact on their industries, their communities, their alma mater and others' lives around the world. Registration required.

Merkle is Hiring
Merkle, a leading data-driven, technology-enabled, global performance marketing agency that specializes in the delivery of unique, personalized customer experiences across platforms and devices, is hiring a Digital Media Analyst. For more information, visit their website. Contact Trevor Hadick with any questions.

The ClimateTech & Energy Prize at MIT
The ClimateTech & Energy Prize at MIT (formerly known as the Clean Energy Prize), the largest and longest-running cleantech startup competition for university students. CEP@MIT teams compete for a $100,000 grand prize* and other monetary prizes. All semi-finalist teams will also receive mentorship from industry experts and gain access to other resources through our sponsors and partners. Applications for this year’s prize are due on Tuesday, February 5, 2021, at 11:59PM EST.

Donate to the CMU Food Pantry:
Due to COVID-19, the Pantry will not be taking in volunteers to help this fall for health and safety reasons. To donate items to the Pantry, you must fill out their donation form which collects donation information and helps them coordinate the drop off of those items. The Pantry is seeing many shoppers who have newly moved to Pittsburgh and are lacking items such as pots, pans, baking pans, etc. One of the most requested items over the past couple weeks has been can openers.

Two Sigma Fellowship Opportunities
Two Sigma are proud to announce the continuation of the Two Sigma PhD Fellowship program, which supports doctoral students pursuing a PhD in a STEM field such as Statistics, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics and Finance/Econometrics, and the Inaugural Two Sigma Diversity PhD Fellowship, which seeks to promote the visibility and inclusion of women, LGBTQ people, and those from ethnic and racial backgrounds that remain under-represented in technology. 

CMU Strangers Project
Inspired by The Strangers Project (Instagram: @strangersproj), the CMU Strangers Project (Instagram: @cmustrangersproject) is collecting anonymous handwritten stories on our campus to allow students, staff, faculty, and alumni to tell their CMU stories and to demonstrate not only how diverse our campus is, but how similar and connected we are through our shared experiences as a part of the CMU community and, more broadly, as humans. Learn more and submit a story here!

Mayor's Office Announces the Appointments Project
Mayor Peduto's Office of Equity has announced a new initative the Appointments Project. Through the Appointments Project, the City is looking to increase the gender diversity of their boards, authorities and commissions. To learn more and to get involved, register for an information session on December 7th or January 13th. 

Womxn Ignite Cohort
Womxn Ignite is a professional network of female tech superstars who want to invest in one-another -- professionally, financially, and emotionally -- as they become the future leaders of the tech industry. Womxn Ignite is recruiting a Winter/Spring cohort. Learn more by visiting their website.

Give to Tartan Emergency Support Fund:
Help CMU Students Impacted by COVID-19 by giving to the Tartan Emergency Support Fund. Gifts provide CMU with the resources to step in and help with individual undergraduate or graduate student needs during times of crisis.

CMU Coronavirus Information
Visit CMU's coronavirus information page to stay up-to-date on CMU-related news.

Student Affairs Events
Stay connected and visit the Student Affair's event calendar.

Academic Resources
Visit the Student Academic Success Center and the Eberly Center for resources for remote learning.

Bias Reporting at Carnegie Mellon
For information on bias reporting, contact the Center or visit CMU's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website

Hollaback! Bystander Intervention
Visit this online resource for Bystander Intervention.
Past Newsletter:
Newsletter: October 29, 2020
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Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion
Carnegie Mellon University
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