Dr. Solomon Adera

Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Michigan Engineering

Dr. Adera has a distinguished record of service to disadvantaged communities and fostering the principles underpinning social justice and D-E-I. Dr. Adera serves as a mentor to community college transfer students through the Transfer Connections Mentoring Program and provides both academic mentoring and emotional support for his mentees, which included 12 transfer students in Fall 2022 alone. He leverages group-building activities to build strong relationships, foster belongings, and promote retention and graduation. 

He’s also engaged in national and local community activities through the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering. Most recently, he co-launched The Sankofa Project: Cultivating Socially Conscious Engineers at U-M with his colleague Professor James Holly, Jr. This new, D-E-I-centered activity is a two-part cultural and historical experience that exposes and educates students through field trips hosted by Black cultural institutions. The aim is to create awareness among students regarding race and black history through group experiences and reflections.

Collectively, these activities provide strong testimony of the compassion and personal dedication that Solomon unselfishly offers to individuals and to under-served communities. 

Being your best DEI self: Think of a time when you were at your best at advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. What happened? Who was there? Why did you feel at your best?

“When I was a student (undergraduate and graduate), I used to volunteer for organizations that benefit the less fortunate, low-income, and underprivileged communities. I was a big brother at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay. I volunteered for 10+ years (2010-2019) at Tutoring Plus-Cambridge. Founded in 1964, Tutoring Plus is a non-profit partnership between the MIT Social Service Committee (a student group that had been inspired to local action by President Johnson’s War on Poverty) and The Mother’s Executive Committee of the Cambridge Neighborhood House.

The program serves the local community by managing the longest-running out-of-school academic programs for Cambridge youth free of charge. What began as matches meeting at kitchen tables has grown to a center-based model that provides over 170 elementary, middle, and high school students with free tutoring, mentoring and enrichment support each year. The vision of Tutoring Plus is to build a community/world where every young person is empowered with the knowledge and confidence to create their own future. I was also a volunteer at the Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless, a food distribution center in Atlanta. Additionally, I volunteered in local churches in Atlanta (for example, Eagles Nest Ministry and New Life Covenant Church) to provide service to the homeless and low-income communities in the metro Atlanta area.”

In envisioning the future, how would you describe progress in the realm of diversity, equity, and inclusion? What might it look like?

There is progress when we create opportunities and make resources available for under-served communities and low-income families.

What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the MLK Spirit Awards?

“It is a great honor (and in fact honor of a lifetime) to be nominated for the North Campus Dean’s MLK Spirit Award 2023.”

Dr. Solomon Adera