Carnegie Mellon University
July 28, 2021

Shifting the Culture

Dietrich College alumnus and one of its newest faculty members works to combat stereotype threat and expand DEI at CMU

Carnegie Mellon University alumnus Kevin Jarbo came to Pittsburgh with a plan to study biology and become a physician. But over the next 19 years, his life ended up somewhere else entirely.

When Tartans return this fall, he’ll be standing at the front of a classroom in Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences co-teaching We’re Not Beyond Race: Race and Identity in America, part of Dietrich College’s Grand Challenge Seminar and his first course at his alma mater as an assistant professor in the Social and Decision Sciences Department.

“Since the first time I set foot on this campus, I’ve been surrounded by talented people who are willing to do things that will change the world,” says Kevin, who holds master’s and doctorate degrees in psychology from Dietrich College with a focus on cognitive psychology and neuroscience.

“Now, I get to continue to be part of that in bigger, deeper and more lasting ways and continue the cultural shift I’ve seen at CMU in being more inclusive and equitable in supporting students.”

He’s well aware that for many of his students he may be the first Black male educator they experience. He’s determined to change that in his profession and many others — not only with his teaching but also with his research that focuses on the inclusion and retention of historically excluded and underrepresented groups in academia. 

“I like to go in and leave places better than I found them,” Kevin says.

Read more about Jarbo’s path