Travis Brown of Quantitative Skills Center Receives 2019 Distinguished Staff Award

Travis Brown holds an award in front of a sign that reads The Quantitative Skills Center.

At Pomona since 2013, Travis Brown of the Quantitative Skills Center (QSC) is the 2019 recipient of the Peter W. Stanley Distinguished Staff Award.

In his role as director of the QSC, Brown has been instrumental in building a truly inclusive campus community. He has done so by modeling it and by working tirelessly as an advocate for Pomona students, while serving as a critical bridge between academic and student affairs.

The QSC helps Pomona College students sharpen skills related to empirical inquiry via mathematical, statistical or computational data gathering and analysis through a range of services, including study sessions, peer tutoring, workshops and fun study breaks. Brown has been instrumental in developing the QSC and providing mentorship and support – academic and beyond – to students who walk in the door.

One of the nominators writes that Brown has “a vision for inclusive excellence and continually works toward that vision.” Another writes that Brown “never fails to step up and become engaged when the project or activity means improving the experience of students or increasing the likelihood of their success.”

Brown works closely with Pomona students on a daily basis and, as another nominator explains, “frequently stays late and beyond normal working hours, tutoring students, supporting them, advising them and counseling them.” This year’s honoree “truly embodies the Pomona spirit, and many students of color, first-generation students and low-income students rely on Travis and the work of his office.”

A key member of the President’s Advisory Committee on Diversity, Brown trains faculty mentors on best practices for inclusive pedagogy, volunteers to do diversity training for staff in other divisions and also makes time to work directly with students, including as many as 250 past and present cohort members each semester. His work “has allowed Pomona to become a leader in pursuing equity and inclusion, not just in our student body, but also as part of our core values. And Travis does all of this with grace, with extraordinary intelligence and humanity.”

A graduate of Morehouse College, with a Ph.D. in integrative biology from the University of California at Berkeley, our honoree spent four and a half years at Tufts University as director of the Center for STEM Diversity before coming to Pomona to build the Quantitative Skills Center into “a thriving hub of student activity.”

The Peter W. Stanley Distinguished Staff Award, established in 1997, honors a staff member who distinguishes themselves in some way through service or effort beyond what is required in their daily jobs. Staff are nominated by other staff, faculty and students, and selected by the Staff Council. This year, 84 nominations were submitted for a total of 34 individuals.