There have been many changes in the Wei LAB in recent months, including the make-up of the Wei LAB Staff. While we were sad to say goodbye to Dr. LaVar Charleston, the former Assistant Director and Senior Research Associate, we congratulate him in his new endeavor. Dr. Charleston will now serve as the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Diversity, Engagement and Success at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Read Dr. Charleston’s reflections on his experiences working in the Wei LAB below:
“From the genesis of the Wei LAB, I could not have known how the training, coaching, teaching, educational innovation and research and collaborative experiences related to creating equitable and inclusive working and learning environments would have effectively prepared me to be the academician I am today. From the first conversation Dr. Jackson and I shared around the concept of “Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory,” I saw it as a grand opportunity to explore all the areas of research in which I was interested. This included broadening participation in STEM, graduate school preparation and success for underutilized populations, and the academic identity development of student athletes.
The Wei LAB would serve as an umbrella for all the burning questions I had related to my research interest. I literally grew up academically in the Wei LAB, while being afforded the opportunity to engage in meaningful and critical research and practical experiences that would shape the scholar/practitioner I am proud to be today. It has always been important that my research could be translated into practical applications that serve communities. From research and writing, to consulting and collaborating with various institutional types (e.g., PWIs, HBCUs, Community Colleges), the LAB gave me multiple opportunities for professional development. I was able to travel the country and the world, serving underserved and underutilized populations. These were indeed the most rewarding experiences of my life.
The Wei LAB was the place wherein my successes and failures came full circle.
I transformed into a mechanism to educate and help others. Through collaborating with Dr. Jackson and other important scholars across the country, I have been apart of 6 educational start ups. I have worked on over 80 local, national and international presentations and over 45 publications. To be sure, this has served as an immeasurable foundation for the rest of my career. For this, I will be forever grateful.
From being a Lab Manager, to the Assistant Director, to developing and teaching classes in my Alma Mater department at UW-Madison (Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis). I will forever value the Wei LAB and the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Now I take with me the tools to continue to serve my community at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, as well as the broader education community. I vow to continue to do the work, as it is indeed my purpose.”