Javier Vela named new LAS Equity Advisor

Javier Vela, associate professor of chemistry and an associate in the Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, has been named the new Equity Advisor for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

In his new role, Vela will represent LAS as part of the ISU ADVANCE and Peer Mentoring Programs. He will work with the Dean, college leadership, and faculty and staff on recruiting and retaining diverse faculty, and will serve as counsel on professional issues related to supporting women and minority faculty.

Vela will also chair the LAS Diversity Committee to build and sustain an inclusive and supportive climate for all faculty, staff and students.

This appointment is effective immediately and ends on June 30, 2018.

Vela’s diversity efforts include establishing a Project SEED chapter at Iowa State University, which was done in collaboration with chemistry associate professors Emily Smith and Malika Jeffries-EL, and presenting chemical demonstrations and bilingual talks at Science Bound outreach events. (Science Bound is ISU’s premier pre-college program to increase the number of ethnically diverse Iowa students who pursue ASTEM - agricultural, scientific, technical, engineering and mathematics - degrees.)

In 2014, Vela received the Midwest American Chemical Society (ACS) Stanley Israel Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences, which recognizes individuals and/or institutions that have advanced diversity in the chemical sciences and significantly stimulated or fostered activities that promote inclusiveness within the ACS Midwest region.

In 2013, he was awarded the National Science Foundation Career Award, given for his project on extracting different forms of energy from photoactive nanocrystals. 

In 2011, Vela was included in Hispanic Engineering magazine’s “40 under 40″ list of top young engineers.