Dr. Lucinda Carnell to be appointed as interim VP of Diversity and Equity

Lucinda Carnell. Photo courtesy of CWU

Lucinda Carnell. Photo courtesy of CWU

Morgana Carroll, News Reporter

It often feels like the word ‘belonging’ gets thrown around too much, but according to Dr. Lucinda Carnell, she truly wants to help students find a place where they feel they belong and where everyone feels valued. 

On Feb. 8, President Wohlpart announced that Dr. Lucinda Carnell would be taking the position of Interim Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She will be appointed on April 1.

Carnell volunteered to take the position after the previous vice president, Kandee Cleary, stepped down to return to her prior position as a sociology professor. 

Carnell was working in the Diversity Office as a fellow for three years before this, while also being a professor in the department of biological sciences. 

Breaking down barriers in biology

According to Carnell, inclusivity is important to her.

“Every person has value and a purpose and I want to help them be able to find that, and it’s something I have spent a lot of time doing, even for myself,” Carnell said.

Carnell said that her background had an impact on how much inclusivity and diversity mattered to her.

“I am a biracial African American. My father was African American and my mom was white,” Carnell said.

According to Carnell, she also has sympathy for students having a hard time finding where they belong because she had a similar experience. 

“I had trouble navigating college the first time I went, and I ended up going to a different college where I was able to have opportunities,” Carnell said. “I realized I got excited about biology and I had the opportunity to find a program for minoritized students to get into research, and there I found peers.”

According to Carnell, she found a love of teaching because she loved learning.

“I’ve always liked learning, so I like sharing that knowledge,” Carnell said. “I get very excited about learning new things and sharing it with the students I work with.” 

Carnell said that before becoming a teacher she pursued that love of learning through graduate research, but only felt truly fulfilled when she started teaching.

“It felt like something was missing,” Carnell said. “I couldn’t really share that knowledge.”

Carnell said she wanted to become a teacher so that she could break down barriers for minority students.

“[Sharing] that experience of having to overcome these barriers because I still see that now,” Carnell said “These spaces aren’t as diverse and inclusive as they could be.” 

Looking forward

Carnell said she intends to continue the initiatives and programs that the Diversity Office had already put in place.

“I consider it an actually great opportunity and an honor to try to move this forward,” Carnell said.

Carnell said she wants to empathize that she is thankful to the others in the diversity department. 

“I see it as continuing the work of the office,” Carnell said. “There are a lot of Diversity Fellows, there’s an Associate Dean, Sigrid Davidson, and of course the stepped down Vice President Kandee Clearly, she’s been a mentor and a sponsor for me to provide me with opportunities to learn and grow.” 

Carnell said she doesn’t know if she will be in this position long term, she’s just going to take it one quarter at a time.