Michele Casella is the education, outreach and diversity administrator (EOD) for the Nevada System of Higher Education Sponsored Programs Office (NSHE SPO). In this role, she is responsible for ensuring that EOD activities are integrated throughout the three NSF EPSCoR projects currently funded in Nevada.
Q: We have read your job description, but what do you really do?
A: I have THE BEST role in the Nevada EPSCoR program! I have the pleasure of working with students and faculty across programs, the university system, even across a number of states, to broaden the participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM education and research. With
that, I meet many different people, from many different backgrounds and build unique opportunities to reach common goals in diversifying our workforce, and ultimately, economic growth in Nevada.
Q: What is the most important lesson you have learned from your job?
A: One size does NOT necessarily fit all! What is proven successful for a particular individual, group or institution, may not be for another. Education and outreach programs are often like research experiments, true to trial and error.
Q: What impact has working in the EPSCoR office had on you personally?
A:. Working for EPSCoR has made me realize that had I had more guidance and support while going through my academic career, I would have gone into a science-driven profession, possibly in health sciences. I get charged up when I hear of the amazing research that happens right in our backyard, and I am happy to be a peripheral part of that work! Who knows? I still have my whole life ahead of me and that’s what I tell students I assist on a daily basis.
Q: If there was a movie made about your life, who would you cast as yourself?
A: Well, if I wasn’t available to play me, I would have to say Sandra Bullock…but only if she could bring in some of her Gracie Lou Freebush characteristics from Miss Congeniality.