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April 23, 2024

Getting to Know: Director of Multicultural Initiatives Maurice Traylor

Traylor helps students understand value of own stories

Maurice Traylor
Maurice Traylor helps engineering students prepare for life in and outside the classroom.

Embracing and celebrating diversity has always been a professional pursuit of Maurice Traylor.

As director of Multicultural Initiatives in the Michigan State University College of Engineering, Traylor knows that fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is both an ongoing and evolutionary process.

Traylor joined MSU Engineering in June 2023 after 5+ years in advising and manager roles at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

He served as the Internship and Co-op Program Manager for UM’s College of Engineering, and as a career services manager in the Engineering Career Resources Center for 5 years, in addition to almost a year with Wolverine Pathways. The roles gave him opportunities to design programs and classes focused on professional development and foster many collaborative efforts both inside the university and with external colleagues. While at Wolverine Pathways, he led the delivery of college access programs for 600+ underrepresented students in the 7th-12th grades in Metro-Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Ypsilanti.

Prior to UM, Traylor also held roles within student affairs at multiple institutions throughout Detroit. While at Marygrove College, he led a team of Peer Coaches and oversaw all Student Life activities for the institution. Traylor also held advisor and instructor positions in career services at University of Detroit Mercy and the Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University.

He received his bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degree in career and technical education from Wayne State University and also has an M.F.A. in creative writing from Full Sail University.

What would you like us to know about your work?

While I may not be an engineer, I am a storyteller by nature. I try to help our students understand the value in their own stories and be able to communicate that to those with stakes in their futures. With that in mind, I appreciate the unique combination of technical, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills that are required for our students to become effective engineers. Helping students develop their individual narratives around their skills, interests, and experiences is something I champion. I am very eager to continue that work here at MSU Engineering.

What projects are you currently working on?

We are in the planning phase of our upcoming Engineering and Science Success Academy session (ESSA) for Summer 2024. Our team is incredibly excited to welcome the next cohort of students to campus for a fun and engaging month on campus. The history of this wonderful program and impact it has had on so many MSU Engineering alumni is also something that piqued my interest in joining EGRID. We can’t wait to get started in July!

What brought you to MSU Engineering?

Throughout my career, I’ve worked with students of many different academic backgrounds and professional interests. Given my affinity for working with engineering students, I found this opportunity to be uniquely exciting. I am able to pull from my different experiences to work with a very dynamic student population. In the relatively short time of being part of the MSU community, I’ve already had wonderful opportunities to work with students who grew up in the same areas and attended the same schools as I did. This is just one of the things that excites me about the work we’re doing and support we are providing, especially for our underrepresented student populations. If there were ever an opportunity that ‘checks all of the boxes,’ this one certainly does for me.

What are your goals to help the college expand its celebration of diversity?

To do our part to amplify the voices of our underrepresented student populations and continue to advocate on their behalf. We want to help our students who may feel marginalized to feel just as valued, and a part of this community as any other Spartan. In doing so, we’re hoping to build upon the existing communal inclusivity efforts of the college and showcase the strength, courage, and creativity that stems from our diversity.

What can others do to advance the sense of belonging in a large community and university?

Two things: Listen intently and demonstrate empathy. Open and reciprocal communication is the foundation of most, if not all, successful partnerships. ‘Hearing’ about the student experience is certainly needed to build the infrastructure of a community. However, understanding the student experience will allow us to be more intentional, and meet our students ‘where they are’ in the moment.

Written by Pat Mroczek, MSU College of Engineering Communications.