NASA has hired Steve Shih to serve in a new position as the agency's first Diversity Ambassador. Elaine Ho will become NASA's next associate administrator for the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity at the agency's headquarters in Washington. Photo courtesy of NASA
March 27 (UPI) -- NASA is working to advance diversity at the space agency with the announcement of two new hires to help NASA's workforce "reflect all of America."
NASA hired Steve Shih to serve in a new position as the agency's first Diversity Ambassador, and Elaine Ho, who will become the next associate administrator for the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
"Steve and Elaine's leaderships will help NASA continue to ensure our workforce reflects all of America and to inspire partners throughout our nation -- for the benefit of all humanity," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement Monday.
In his role as diversity ambassador, Shih will build alliances with external partners to further NASA's diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, or DEIA, initiatives. Shih will partner with government, the private sector, colleges and non-governmental groups to help NASA recruit and hire employees from all backgrounds.
Shih comes from the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, which he led since 2017.
Ho has served as the deputy associate administrator for NASA's Office of STEM Engagement. She also served as the chief diversity officer for the Department of Agriculture and Internal Revenue Service, in addition to serving as a senior adviser for DEIA as a colonel in the Air Force Reserve.
Last year, NASA released its policy statement on DEIA for its workforce and work places, saying the agency was making it a priority to "reinforce a culture in which our employees feel they can be authentic, welcomed, respected, included and engaged," the policy statement signed by Nelson said.
"At NASA, we fully embrace DEIA as a strategic enabler of our safety and mission assurance. Our commonalities unite us as a team, and our differences strengthen our capabilities," Nelson said in the statement. "I call upon all NASA executives, managers, supervisors and other employees to fully support DEIA."
On Monday, Nelson reiterated the agency's stance.
"Now, more than ever, NASA is leading all of humanity on an unprecedented journey of discovery, exploration and innovation," Nelson said. "To be successful in our missions, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility must continue to be at the forefront."