Inclusive Excellence Advisory Council

Each student, faculty and staff member is an important member of the Michigan Tech community and valuing each individual’s perspective is a cornerstone of the academy. As such, the university is committed to creating a welcoming environment for each and every one of our students and employees. In support of our priority, the Inclusive Excellence Advisory Council shall advance, support and advocate for efforts in this regard.

The council will serve as the external entity dedicated to advancing a sense of belonging on campus.  The council will have an opportunity to interact with students and faculty and facilitate the overall university’s commitment while working on strategic initiatives identified by the President over a series of two to three meetings annually, one which will be on campus. 

2024-2025 Committee Members 

Jaylyn Boone ‘18 BS Finance 
Jaylyn Boone is a  transformative speaker, coach and consultant, with a keen focus on empowering individuals to live out their purpose. Hailing from Flint, MI, Jaylyn intimately understands the challenges of poverty, crime, and broken dreams. Yet, through unwavering discipline and persistence, he has witnessed the remarkable transformation that is possible. Drawing from his personal journey, Jaylyn channels his passion for people and gift of communication to empower individuals to transcend their internal barriers and embrace the full spectrum of life's possibilities. He looks forward to being an integral part of Michigan Tech's journey towards inclusive excellence and fulfillment.

Jimmie Cannon '19 '20 BS Management Information Systems; BS, MS in Accounting 
Jimmie Cannon graduated from Michigan Tech in 2019 with a double major in Accounting and Management Information Systems and again in 2020 with a MS Accounting with a concentration in data analytics. At Michigan Tech, he played collegiate football, served as the president of the Black Student Association, vice president of Undergraduate Student Government, participated in various other student organizations, and was a proud recipient of the Percy Julian Award. He is currently employed with Ally as a Business Consultant in Technology Risk where he also serves as a member of the Black Professional Network and helps with other key initiatives to support diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Dr. Amy Freeman 
Dr. Amy Freeman is director of the Millennium Scholars Program under the Office of the Provost at the Pennsylvania State University, and Associate Research Professor in the School of Engineering Innovation and Design. The Penn State Millennium Scholars Program provides a strong continuous four-year learning community for a diverse population of undergraduates who are preparing to ultimately pursue doctoral degrees in STEM fields. The graduation rate for the B.S. degree is at 91%, with over half of these graduates admitted directly into STEM Ph.D. programs across the nation. Prior appointments include Associate Provost and Chief Diversity Officer at Tufts University and Assistant Dean in the College of Engineering at Penn State, where she provided leadership for the Center for Engineering Outreach and Inclusion serving about 4000 students across 15 campuses. Dr. Freeman’s academic credentials include a B.S. in construction management from Washington State University, an M.S. in architectural engineering, and a Ph.D. in workforce education, both from Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). This unusual combination has prepared her well for research in engineering education. Her research area focuses on successful transitional interventions for STEM students  with extensive research on scholarly success initiated through nine unique summer bridge program models. Her work also includes several international initiatives where the students have introduced sustainable engineering practices to improve residential and community infrastructures. Dr. Freeman is a cofounder of the Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity (CoNECD) and a previous President of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN) and of the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Programs Advocates (NAMEPA). She is also a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM), sponsored through the White House.

Richard Harris
Prior to joining Northeastern University, Richard spent 15+ years in industry as an industrial engineer and manager for the following two companies: (1) M/A-COM, Inc., a Tyco Electronics Company, in Massachusetts, and (2) Mitsubishi Chemical America, Inc. in Virginia, where he holds a patent in OPC technology. Richard currently holds the following positions: College of Engineering (COE) Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion; Director of NUPRIME (Northeastern University Program In Multicultural Engineering); Affiliate Professor of Africana Studies in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH); and serves on the Northeastern University Presidential Council on Diversity and Inclusion. Richard is currently a Co-PI on the $10million NSF Eddie Bernice Johnson INCLUDES Engineering PLUS (Partnerships Launching Underrepresented Students) Alliance Grant committed to produce nationally, 130,000 Women and BIPOC undergraduate and graduate engineers by the year 2026.  As Co-PI, Richard recently helped to institutionalize a $5million S-STEM partnership with several HBCUs and community colleges.  Richard contributes to and oversees several grants, including the NSF Northeast Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program (NE-LSAMP) (which is an alliance of University of Rhode Island, University of Connecticut, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Tufts University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Northeastern University); senior member for HHMI Inclusive Teaching grant. Richard is a member and official chapter advisor to both the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).  He is a member of the Board of Directors for the National GEM Consortium; American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) member; American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) member; National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA) member; and is a Fellow of the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences. Richard received the following recognitions: 2022 Inaugural Northeastern University Impact Award; 2019 NSBE Minority Program Director of the Year; 2019 NSBE Boston Professional STEM Advocate Award; 2016 Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Carter G. Woodson Bowties & Pearls Higher Education Award; 2015 National GEM Consortium University Representative of the Year; 2014 Raytheon, Patriots, Boys & Girls Clubs of America Science of Sports Science Fair Award. Richard volunteers for many activities and organizations outside of engineering. He serves as a member of the Community Advisory Board (CAB) for Massachusetts General Brigham; Board member for Good Sports, Inc;  Board member for the Empower Yourself Youth-based program; Board member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts; appointed inaugural member for the City of Boston Commission on Black Men and Boys; and President of the Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts, Inc.

Dr. Victor McCrary 
McCrary currently serves as Vice President for Research and Professor of Chemistry at the University of the District of Columbia. Previously, he was Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and the first Vice President for Research and Economic Development and Professor of Chemistry at Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD. Prior to that, McCrary was the Business Area Executive for Science & Technology and principal professional staff at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory where he directed internal research and development (IRAD) funding to develop new core competencies and innovations in the areas of national security and space technologies for civilian and military applications. He started his career at AT&T Bell Laboratories-Murray Hill, as a post-doc and then Member of Technical Staff before being tapped to be a program manager with the Advanced Technology Program and becoming the first Chief of the Convergent Information Systems Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). At NIST, McCrary led the first efforts to develop industry standards for electronic books where he was a co-recipient of the US Department of Commerce’s Gold Medal for his efforts. He is a former national president of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) and a Fellow of the American Chemical Society. McCrary was a member of the NSB class of 2016 – 2022 and was reappointed to the class of 2022 – 2028.

Brenda Ryan, ‘76 BS MSE
Brenda Ryan is the president and owner of Ryan Industries and Ryan Properties in Wixom, Michigan, and Alliance Industries in Springfield, Missouri. She holds a bachelor's degree in metallurgical and materials science engineering from Michigan Technological University and a master's degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Virginia. Ryan is a Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Production honoree. She was honored as Chrysler Group’s Diversity Supplier of the Year in 2011 and 2020, and was named a National Minority Supplier Development Council Success Story in 2013. She was the Missouri Minorities in Business Small Business Person of the Year of 2013. She is also a member of the Michigan Tech Presidential Council of Alumnae, and was inducted into Michigan Tech’s Academy of Materials Science and Engineering in 2008 and the University’s Academy of Business in 2022. Ryan was a former member of the Board of Trustees for Michigan Tech. She first served on the Board from 1979 to 1989, and was its chair in 1984. She was reappointed to the Board in 2015, holding the position of vice-chair in 2017 before once again chairing the Board in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Ashley Simpson ‘09 BS in Electrical Engineering
Ashley Simpson earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering with a focus on power and energy systems from Michigan Tech. Afterward, she attended Oakland University, where she received a master's in engineering management. Today, she is the Director of Safety, Protection and Preparedness at ITC Holdings Corp., the largest independent electric transmission company in the US, where she is responsible for leading all aspects of the company’s safety, human performance, physical security, and emergency preparedness functions. Prior to her role, Ashley lead ITC’s Inclusion & Diversity strategy, plans and programs to enhance diversity and inclusion across the enterprise, and to enable and facilitate an engaged, inclusive culture reflecting the communities ITC serves. Outside of work and academics, she is a staunch believer of giving back to the community. She is a member of various STEM organizations and serves on the board of Rebuilding Together of Southeast Michigan, and previously held the position of scholarship chair for the American Association of Blacks in Energy. 

Monique Wells, ‘99 AAS CE, ‘02 BS CE
Monique Wells currently serves on Michigan Tech’s Board of Trustees. Wells graduated from Michigan Technological University with an associate degree in chemical engineering technology and a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. Wells went on to complete a master's degree in career and technical education from the University of Toledo and was a teacher in the Toledo Public School system. Formerly, Wells served as director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for DTE. Additionally, she served as Diversity, Equity, and inclusion project manager at Consumers Energy, where she supported the inclusion and strategic sourcing department. In this role, Wells was responsible for the development and deployment of the diversity, equity, and inclusion company wide strategy. In this capacity, she led cross functional corporate and operations teams in the design, implementation, and execution of DE&I goals, metrics, and continuous improvement plans. Wells serves on the college of engineering advisory board for Michigan Technological University and is a Program Committee member for the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation. She continues to be a passionate advocate for STEM equity and literacy in the state of Michigan through her support for FIRST Robotics programming and organizations like FIRST in Michigan.

Ex-Officio Member:

Dr. Wayne Gersie, Michigan Tech's Vice President For Diversity, Equity and Inclusion