Kevin Clark: The Karen and Hector Alcalde Medal for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion

A simple request from his 5-year-old put a George Mason University professor on a mission to explore questions of diversity in media.

Kevin Clark’s daughter was deep into her “princess” phase, which meant a princess-themed bedtime story every night.

“One night she asked if we could have a princess that looked like her,” Clark said.

What seemed like a simple request turned out not to be.

“I had trouble finding a book that featured a black princess,” he said. “I thought, ‘This is crazy, we are in the 2000s and my daughter doesn’t see herself in children’s books.’”

As a result, Clark, a professor in the College of Education and Human Development, said he created the Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity at George Mason.

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It is his work at the center and other efforts that earned him the inaugural Karen and Hector Alcalde Medal for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion. He will be presented with the award at Commencement on Saturday, May 20.

His work focuses on academic research, but it also includes media research, which allows him to have an impact on what young people see and consume daily through television and movies.

Impact is one of the things that sets him apart.

“When you look at my body of work, it’s not that of a traditional academic and I’m proud of that,” he said.

May 18, 2017 / Adapted from a story by Jamie Rogers