Industrial-Organizational Psychology Graduate Student Works to Better Workplace Inclusivity through DEI Projects

Industrial-Organizational Psychology graduate student Kelsi Cornett is currently working on two Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion projects. The first project investigates weight-based discrimination by using a large data set collected from LinkedIn and a pre-trained CNN model to investigate the relationship among BMI, race, and gender and upward mobility. The second project uses natural language processing (NLP) to detect subtle offensive statements or microaggressions using a transformer (RoBERTa) model that utilizes word importance to classify the offense and predict to whom and why the statement is offensive. Cornett won an ICTAS award and grant which funds her research in microaggressions and allows her to partner with HBCUs.

Through Cornett’s current projects and future goals, she hopes to facilitate more inclusive cultures by bettering our understanding and awareness of discrimination and mistreatment within workplaces. Cornett had both projects accepted to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) annual conference. In addition, Kelsi presented at an Natural Language Processing (NLP) symposium with her work titled "Using Computers to Humanize Us: Applying Natural Language Processing to Improve the Detection of Offensive Workplace Statements" and presented a poster titled "Examining the Exhibition of Weight-Based Discrimination Through Promotion Speed."

For more information about Virginia Tech’s Industrial-Organizational Psychology graduate program, please visit the website