Lincoln Laboratory's Out Professional Employee Network
receives the 2014 MIT John S.W. Kellett '47 Award 

On 8 May, committee members of Lincoln Laboratory's Out Professional Employee Network (OPEN) were presented with the John S.W. Kellett '47 Award at the 2014 MIT Awards Convocation held on campus. The award, which recognizes "any MIT individual or group for an exceptional and/or sustained commitment to creating a welcoming environment at MIT," was established in 2001 in honor of MIT alumnus John S.W. Kellett, whose spirited support enabled significant improvements in the lives of MIT's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community members.

The John S.W. Kellet '47 Award is presented to a member of OPEN.MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart presented the John S.W. Kellett '47 Award to Jordan Crouser, who accepted the award on behalf of the Out Professional Employee Network. Photo credit: Justin Knight. 

The Out Professional Employee Network, an employee resource group for LGBT individuals and their allies, works to address the challenges experienced by the LGBT community at Lincoln Laboratory. Since forming in May 2013, OPEN has been advancing workplace inclusivity through many avenues, as noted by the award citation: "While their inaugural event was less than a year ago, OPEN has carried out a vibrant array of initiatives, including developing orientation materials, sponsoring brown-bag lunches and speakers, and educating the Laboratory about issues facing the LGBT community." In addition to serving as a resource for current employees, OPEN also supports the recruitment of LGBT professionals. Directed by a committee of dedicated volunteers, OPEN strives to make Lincoln Laboratory an environment in which LGBT individuals can succeed and feel comfortable. The group, which now consists of more than 50 members, is open to the entire Laboratory community.

OPEN committee member Ngaire Underhill, Air Traffic Control Systems Group, called the award a "turning point" for OPEN. "This award recognizes OPEN's efforts in providing the means for the Laboratory to understand, acknowledge, and accept all of our coworkers as who they are. Now more than ever, the needs of the LGBT community are being brought to light and met. OPEN not only serves the LGBT community in this way but also teaches the rest of the community what we need to do to be a more welcoming and open workplace."  

As the most recently formed employee resource group, OPEN joins five other networks that contribute to the Laboratory's inclusive work environment: the New Employee, the Technical Women's, the Hispanic/Latino, the Veterans, and the African American Networks.

The MIT Awards Convocation honors MIT students, faculty, staff, and community members who have made outstanding contributions to the shared life of the Institute. The awards recognize excellence in academics and teaching, public service, community building, the arts, athletics, leadership, and entrepreneurship.

Posted May 2014

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