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Alum Chosen for Inaugural Defense Department Committee on Diversity & Inclusion

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KINGSVILLE (September 30, 2022) — The U.S. Department of Defense announced the appointment of 20 members to the inaugural Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (DACODAI) on Sept. 19. Among the private and public sector leaders selected to serve on the committee is Texas A&M University-Kingsville alum, Colonel (Ret.) Lisa Carrington Firmin ‘79.

Chaired by General (Ret.) Lester Lyles, the committee’s collective purpose is to provide Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III with recommendations to improve racial and ethnic diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity within the DOD, primarily focused on military personnel.

Firmin retired from the United States Air Force as its most senior ranking Latina officer. She was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for her efforts in combat as an Expeditionary Mission Support Group Commander in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle.

Firmin is a certified Diversity Professional by the National Diversity Council and as founder of the Veteran and Military Affairs department at The University of Texas at San Antonio has been instrumental in the support and services provided to military-affiliated students.

Not only is she professionally qualified, Firmin is driven to use her expertise to help others.

“I so value all my educational and training experiences over the years, in particular that very first degree from TAMUK that changed my family’s life forever,” Firmin said. “As the first person in my family to get a college degree, I found a home in Kingsville at my alma mater, engaging with faculty, being with students who not only looked like me, but had similar stories of being first to go to college.

“The intellectual curiosity that started then is never ending and cannot be quenched. It catapulted me on a leadership journey that I am still on,” Firmin added. “Mis hermanos y hermanas, dream big, life will never be easy, but you can make a difference for yourself and others.”

A member of the A&M University-Kingsville Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Firmin gives back to her alma mater with more than just her time.

Earlier this month, through the Foundation, Firmin established an endowment in perpetuity to support students who have walked a path similar to her own.

The new endowment’s distributions will fund first generation, military-affiliated students pursuing degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences. The endowment is in addition to the scholarship Firmin previously supported for military-affiliated students.

Dr. Jarett Lujan, the University’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, knows how challenging and complex the work of diversity, equity and inclusion can be.

“Individuals like Col. Firmin make it look easy. Her dedication and passion for creating a more equitable and inclusive environment is incredible and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor than her,” Lujan said. “The significance of her appointment cannot be understated. As our country continues to diversify, so will the guidance on how to better serve these populations within our branches of government.

“We are absolutely proud to call her a member of Javelina Nation, and wish her the best of luck representing on the first of its kind DOD committee.”

Throughout her career, Firmin was no stranger to being the only Latina or only woman—sometimes both—in boardroom settings. In 2017, Firmin founded Carrington Firmin LLC through which she provides writing, speaking and consulting services in leadership, veterans, Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and diversity and inclusion.

In 2020, Firmin began a healing journey after the death of Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen triggered her own MST and set her on a path to educate others and to share stories of military members and veterans. 

After hearing Firmin’s story, other veterans and active duty personnel reached out. Firmin recounts the experiences of these individuals in “Stories from the Front: Pain, Betrayal, and Resilience on the MST Battlefield”—published in April. Firmin continues to speak out and write about the prevalence of MST and other disparities that uniformed members encounter.

To learn more, please visit lisacarringtonfirmin.com.

Category: General Univ