Kelly Thomas

Cheers to CS&E's Kelly Thomas for receiving the 2020 Gopher Way Award from the Academic Advising Network. This award goes to the University of Minnesota advisor who models inclusivity, accessibility, and advocacy in their work.

Kelly is the Senior Undergraduate Academic Advisor for computer science & engineering, and has been a diversity and inclusion champion since joining the department in 2015. She has tackled a variety of initiatives in the past year, including:

  • developing events focused on recruitment and retention of women and underrepresented students in computer science;
  • implementing new practices into the introductory computer science course, which includes placing students of similar abilities into the same class section to remove barriers to success;
  • collaborating with transfer counselors to improve improving the experience for transfer student; and
  • leading the initiative to add pronouns to business cards, door name plates, and email signatures.

Outside of her advising work, Kelly is currently working to complete the advanced Equity and Diversity certificate program. She has also been an active member of the College of Liberal Arts Indigenous Staff and Staff of Color Community.

“In my opinion, her passion and commitment to diversity, accessibility, and fellowship—whether working with students, collaborating with her colleagues, or educating department leadership—is the gold standard,” said Luc Nelson, student services manager and Kelly’s supervisor.

She was presented with this award at the Tate Professional Development Conference on March 4. Congratulations to you, Kelly!