Champion of Change: White House Honors Professor’s Advances in STEM Diversity and Access

By Sudha Kamath

Kevin Clark

Kevin Clark. Creative Services photo

The director of George Mason University’s Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity and professor in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) has been honored at a White House event as a Champion of Change. Kevin Clark was recognized for his innovative approach to creating diversity and access in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

It was inspiring to be with change agents from around the country,” says Clark, who was  joined Feb. 26 at the White House by nine other award recipients, his wife and children, as well as CEHD doctoral student Asia Williams. “It motivates me to explore new partnerships and scholarly activities. The goal of my work is to create a culture of innovation where young people apply their STEM skills and knowledge to address some of the world’s most challenging issues, and create digital media products that are inclusive and diverse.”

The White House says STEM Access champions “are creating opportunities for young people typically underrepresented in STEM industries by using unconventional approaches to enhance student exposure ranging from photography and film, to hip hop music, to coding competitions and community-based workshops.”

Clark and the other Champions of Change award recipients later were congratulated by Valerie Jarrett, White House senior advisor. Clark then attended a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy event, “Closing the Gap: Opportunities to Expand Minority Achievement and Participation in STEM.”

Clark at the White House prior to the Champions of Change program. Photo courtesy of Kevin Clark

Clark at the White House prior to the Champions of Change awards program. Photo courtesy of Kevin Clark

The professor has focused on the use of video game design to increase interest in STEM careers; examining pathways and best practices for increasing diversity in STEM disciplines; and issues of diversity in the design and development of educational media products.

Clark also has extensive experience as a designer and consultant in the areas of educational video game design, online and interactive media and issues of diversity and inclusion in children’s media. He holds a BS and an MS in computer science, and a PhD in instructional systems.

The professor’s research activities have been funded by the National Science Foundation, Dell, Microsoft and the Entertainment Software Association. Clark also serves on advisory boards for the Public Broadcasting Service, Disney Junior and the National Park Service.

Mason’s CEHD’s distinguished faculty encourage new ways of thinking and pioneering research supported by more than $75 million in funding in the past five years. CEHD includes two schools: the Graduate School of Education, one of the largest teacher preparation and education schools in Virginia, and the School of Recreation, Health and Tourism. CEHD offers a comprehensive range of degrees, certificates, courses and licensure programs on campus, online and on site.