When Chloe Poston—who joined the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity (IDE) in July as associate vice president for strategic initiatives—started a PhD program in chemistry at Brown University, she was the only African American graduate student in her department. Later, as a postdoctoral researcher at Eli Lilly and Company, she was the only woman, and the only Black person, in her research group to hold a doctoral degree.
A graduate of Clark Atlanta University, Poston (whose first name is pronounced with a silent “e”) says the experience of coming from a historically Black institution, or HBCU, to white-majority academic and industry environments is part of what motivated her to devote her career to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“I felt like it was important to effect change so that other people would not encounter some of the culture shock that I experienced,” she says.
She took a science and technology fellowship through the American Association for the Advancement of Science to work with the National Science Foundation to analyze diversity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs across more than a dozen federal agencies. And after a stint as a consultant working with the scientific workforce diversity officer at the National Institutes of Health, she returned to Brown as associate director for the Leadership Alliance—a national consortium of top research universities, including Dartmouth, that partners with HBCUs and other minority-serving academic institutions “to diversify the research workforce across all fields and sectors,” she says.
Most recently, she served as assistant vice president of strategic initiatives in Brown’s diversity and inclusion office.
At Dartmouth, Poston is leading the newly organized diversity and inclusion team in IDE, which supports the Employee Resource Networks and other diversity programs, consults with academic and administrative units across campus, and provides training and professional development opportunities related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Her role also includes helping to develop a campus-wide strategic plan for diversity, building on the existing initiatives—Inclusive Excellence, Moving Dartmouth Forward, and the Campus Climate and Culture Initiative (the latter of which she serves as the campus director)—that aim to create a more welcoming, inclusive, and equitable learning and working environment.
“There’s an opportunity now to highlight the work that’s already been done and talk about what’s needed to move beyond that,” Poston says. “And there are a lot of enthusiastic folks across the College who care about diversity, equity, and inclusion. I’m excited to have a role in that effort.”
An avid reader (she highly recommends Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’ new novel, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois), Poston says she looks forward to getting to know the Dartmouth community. “I hope people see me as a collaborator and a colleague—a partner who’s open to having conversations and helping to make positive change.”