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People: Eric Shupert on Developing Diversity at SLAC

(Photo - Eric Shupert)
(Photo by Adam Mann.)

Eric Shupert has a brand new job. Hired just over a month ago for the newly created position as manager of Workforce Development and Diversity at SLAC, Shupert's task focuses on the lab's personnel and future.

"It's all about career and skills development, leadership development, succession planning and incorporating the principles of diversity and inclusion into all those programs," he said.

Shupert is in the early stages of developing strategies and plans with each of the lab directorates, from Operations to Particle Physics and Astrophysics. He hopes to figure out the current and future needs of the lab, analyzing gaps that are in need of attention.

Once these investigations have been done, he will work with the directors to address these gaps. Since the composition and availability of each directorate's workforce is different, the approach will be unique to each area.

A key part of his work is increasing diversity. "I strongly believe that having a diverse workforce increases innovation and can only enhance the science being done here," he said. "One focus is on developing a pipeline for women and minorities into engineering and sciences."

Shupert plans to continue summer programs such as the Summer Undergraduate Laboratory Internships, which provide undergraduates with meaningful research experiences and encourage them to continue their education in the sciences, and the Faculty and Student Teacher Program, providing faculty and students at minority-serving institutions with the opportunity to observe and work first hand at an operating research laboratory. This type of community outreach supports students and will increase their chances of coming into the scientific fields, Shupert said.

Overall, Shupert wants to ensure that SLAC's workforce is reflective of the available talent in all its diversity. He said he knows that his work closely benefits the lab.

—Adam Mann
SLAC Today, December 8, 2009