Dr. Jenifer L. Bratter is a Professor of Sociology at Rice University and the founding director of BRIDGE (Building Research on Inequality to Grow Equity). Her current research explores the growing complexity of race and ethnicity in the 21st century and its bearing on the formation of families, identity, and social inequality. She has authored several peer-reviewed articles and co-edited Un Making Race and Ethnicity (with Michael Emerson and Sergio Chavez).  Through the Kinder Institute, Dr. Bratter has organized several events including “Having the Talk: Teaching Race in the Undergraduate Classroom” and “Measuring the Multiple Dimensions of Race”.  She was awarded the 2009 Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation for Career Enhancement to study patterns of residential patterns of mixed-race families.

Dr. Carrie Masiello has been a professor in the Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences since 2004 and is jointly appointed in the departments of Chemistry and Biosciences. She is part of a team of scientists working to harness the tools of synthetic biology to address theoretical problems in carbon and nitrogen cycling. Applied aspects of the Masiello group work include contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms controlling charcoal’s ability to sequester carbon and alter agronomic processes. She is committed to creative teaching and outreach designed to make science accessible to everyone. Dr. Masiello holds the W. Maurice Ewing Chair at Rice, is a Faculty Scholar at the Baker Institute for Public Policy, and is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America.

Dr. Leonardo Duenas-Osorio is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University. He obtained his Master degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001, and Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2005, both in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He received the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) award in 2005 for the paper entitled “Interdependent Response of Networked Systems”, the Best Ph.D. Thesis Award in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2006 for his work on interdependent infrastructure performance modeling and prediction, the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award in 2008 to investigate risk mitigation principles for smart utility systems, and the Outstanding Earthquake Spectra Paper of 2013 by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) for his contribution entitled "Calibration and Validation of a Seismic Damage Propagation Model for Interdependent Infrastructure Systems” published in the August 2013 issue of Earthquake Spectra.


Dr. Nicole A. Waligora-Davis is an Associate Professor of English at Rice University. She specializes in late-nineteenth and 20th-century African-American and American literary and cultural criticism, with a particular emphasis on black intellectual history, black internationalism, legal studies, critical race theory, and visual culture. She is the author of Sanctuary: African Americans and Empire (Oxford University Press, 2011). An associate editor of the award-winning Remembering Jim Crow (New Press, 2001), Waligora-Davis’s essays have appeared in numerous publications including the Cambridge History of African American Literature, the Cambridge Companion to American Literature after 1945Centennial ReviewAfrican American ReviewModern Fiction Studies, and the Mississippi Quarterly. She is currently working on a book-length study titled, The Murder Book: Race, Forensics and the Value of Black Life.


Dr. Alexander Byrd was appointed Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in July 2020. In that role, Byrd provides high-level strategic leadership for diversity initiatives and coordinates offices across the campus to help create one point of responsibility for all programs and efforts around diversity. Byrd also is an associate professor of history. He began his career as a student of free and forced transatlantic black migration in the era of the American Revolution, and his book Captives and Voyagers was awarded the 2009 Wesley-Logan prize in African diaspora history. Dr. Byrd’s current research is focused at the intersection of urban history and the history of education. He recently presented aspects of this work-in-progress (on the efficacy of black teachers in black schools, and on diversity as a kind of white privilege) as the 54th Annual Furniss Lectures at Colorado State University. He is currently shepherding a collection of essays on the historical significance of race and place in Houston, Texas.