Associate director honored for advancing diversity in chemical sciences

Lloyd Munjanja is honored by the American Chemical Society
Lloyd Munjanja
Lloyd Munjanja (Department of Chemistry)

An associate director in the Department of Chemistry has been recognized by the American Chemical Society (ACS) for his efforts to advance diversity in the chemical sciences.

The ACS Committee on Minority Affairs has selected Lloyd Munjanja, the associate director of graduate diversity and program climate in the department, as the 2020 recipient of the Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences for the Midwest Regional Meeting of the ACS.

The award recognizes individuals who have advanced diversity in the chemical sciences and significantly stimulated or fostered activities that promote inclusiveness within the region. Nominees may come from academia, industry, government, or independent entities. They may also be organizations that have created and fostered ongoing programs or activities that result in increased numbers of persons from diverse and underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, or women who participate in the chemical enterprise.

Munjanja said he is delighted to be selected as a winner of this award that celebrates contributions in diversity, equity, and inclusion in the chemical sciences.

“It means that our community as a whole is being recognized for our efforts towards inclusive excellence in the chemistry research enterprise. And this award inspires me, and hopefully the Illinois chemistry community as a whole, to keep working on eliminating the visible and invisible barriers that have excluded many groups from enjoying the thing we love the most – intellectual curiosity, which translates to solving some of the toughest chemistry challenges of our time,”  he said.

Professor Martin Gruebele, previous head of the department, said hiring Munjanja on recommendation of the search committee was one of the best things he did as head.

“Lloyd is a real gem, as a human being and as critical member of the departmental team," Gruebele said. "He has really moved our climate-improvement mission forward in so many dimensions. I look forward to working with him now that I’m a ‘civilian’ again.”

Munjanja will receive the award, which includes a plaque and $1,000 to continue his diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at the ACS Midwest Regional Meeting in August 2021.

Munjanja received his PhD in chemistry in 2016 at the University of Rochester in New York and joined the Department of Chemistry at Illinois in May 2018.

As the associate director of graduate diversity and program climate, he assists in recruiting, retaining, and advancing graduate students, focusing on traditionally underrepresented groups in chemistry. He also serves on multiple committees relating to diversity, inclusion, and climate in the department, campus, and organizations in the country. Dr. Munjanja also develops, implements, and organizes lecture series and education and professional development workshops for faculty and graduate students.

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Department of Chemistry