Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Assistant Director
Earns Campus Diversity Award

Melissa Palmer

Melissa Palmer

Diversity — it’s all good, says Melissa Palmer, recipient of the sixth annual UT Dallas Staff Diversity Award, which was announced at a ceremony in April. Palmer, assistant director for the University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, says embracing differences benefits everyone.

“I want every student to know that their unique background and perspective is valued — and it’s this very diversity that makes us all stronger,” Palmer said after receiving the award. “In addition to this, preparing students to succeed in a global society, interacting with people different from ourselves, broadens everyone’s sense of what’s possible.”

Palmer’s role with IIE intersects with the MS in Innovation and Entrepreneurship program in the Naveen Jindal School of Management. Palmer is adviser for the Entrepreneurship Club, which welcomes students from across campus. There, she can guide members looking for academic classes to buttress their plans to make a business idea commercially viable. “In the Entrepreneurship Club, for example, we have eight officers who represent six different countries, varying life circumstances and ages, all studying different disciplines. The level of creativity coming out of this group is crazy,” Palmer said.

Jackie Kimzey, IIE’s executive director as well as senior lecturer in JSOM’s Organizations, Strategy and International Management Area, said Palmer is “a champion and advocate for all students regardless of their background. … Not only does it reflect her personal impact and mission, but it supports our mission at the IIE. Given our diverse student population, blending the cultures and personalities of the students is an important part of our innovation/entrepreneurship program.”

“What I love most about UT Dallas is that we are privileged to welcome students from every corner of the globe — it is truly our competitive advantage,” Palmer said. “Where else can you be immersed in a truly global culture? … When we invite more people and perspectives to the table, everyone wins.”