LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) – “What is Diversity and why does it matter?” 

That was the question posed by New River Community and Technical College professor Pete Hoeman at the first of four conversations about diversity held by NRCTC.

Students and staff discussed the things that make every human being diverse, whether they are easy to see or not.

“I hope that they learned a new way to think about diversity that they haven’t thought of before. Part of what I was trying to do today is show that it’s more than the big hot-button issues that we think about. There is a lot more that goes on with a lot of nuance,” said Hoeman.

When most folks think about diversity, they may think about race or sexual orientation. But marital status, financial status, religion, and dozens of other less-obvious factors bring a diversity of experiences and opinions into our lives.

NRCTC Nursing student Rachel Stiltner said she will carry the lessons she learned with her in her career, as she cares for people with a wide variety of experiences and cultures.

“We have to be accepting of everyone, no matter age, race, culture, anything. A young person deserves the same care as an old person,” said Stiltner.

Stiltner’s classmate Rochelle Sanchez added that the conversation was necessary, and she believes employers across the country need to start having these conversations with their employees in a judgment-free and respectful manner.

“It’s important to recognize that times are changing,” said Sanchez. “Even though programs like a nursing program has been around for hundreds of years, it shouldn’t be done the same way in 1982 as it is in 2023. So I think it’s an important conversation.”