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Thomas O'Donnell


(L-R) Dr. Lisa Materson, Tom O'Donnell, Dr. Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor
(L-R) Dr. Lisa Materson, Tom O'Donnell, Dr. Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor
I started working on diversity and inclusion issues at UC Davis in May 2015 when I was recruited as a graduate student researcher to work on the Chancellor's Strategic Initiative for Diversity and Inclusion Task Force that culminated with the publication of a comprehensive report in 2017 and the creation of the Vice Chancellor's Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

I am currently an Analyst for the Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Diversity, Lorena Oropeza. In addition to supporting AVC Oropeza, I also assist the faculty directors of CAMPOS and CAMPSSAH. For 2020-2021, I am a "freshman" member of the Disability Issues Administrative Advisory Committee (DIAAC).

Prior to joining UC Davis as career staff, I taught U.S. History and U.S. Women's History at Sierra College.

I received my Ph.D. in history from UC Davis in 2018 under the mentorship of Drs. Lisa G. Materson and Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor. (Dissertation: “Resisting Reform: San Francisco Vice in the Progressive Era.”)

If I do anything as well as advocating for equity in higher education and teaching history, it would have to be running ultramarathons.

Why I Do DEI Work

As a student of American history with an emphasis on gender and, to a great extent, race, I am aware of the structural barriers in our society that prevents too many talented and ambitious people from achieving success and full autonomy in their lives. I am committed to changing the culture of higher education to make it more equitable and just.  

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Last updated March 10, 2021