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Rachel Osten

Diversity Officer
Sharron Gatling headshot

As STScI’s diversity officer, Sharron Gatling is responsible for developing and implementing critical initiatives that foster a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the institute. She is responsible for advancing our strategic objective of promoting a fair, inclusive work environment and encouraging a diverse, engaged workforce. She partners closely with the rest of the leadership team, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) chief diversity officer, our human resources team, and our diversity, equity, and inclusion affinity groups, among others. 

Before joining the institute in 2021, Ms. Gatling served as a deputy equal employment opportunity officer and employment policy analyst at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. There, she focused on preparing and implementing the university’s affirmative action plan and worked to remove barriers to achieve affirmative action goals. She also conducted search committee trainings to help colleagues identify best practices in recruitment and retention, focusing on barriers to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Before this, she served for more than 10 years as the assistant director of diversity and inclusion, also at William & Mary. In this role, Ms. Gatling served as a strategic partner and a catalyst for change by building a culture of inclusion. She did this in part by closely collaborating with university leaders, faculty, staff, and students both through regular trainings and meetings, think-tank sessions, and other diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Topics she addressed included cultural differences, ability, generational, gender expressive, racial, ethnic, religious, socioeconomic, and educational diversity, all of which influence the campus climate. She also governed faculty and executive recruitment, and developed processes for addressing accommodation requests for employees with disabilities. Earlier in her career, she served as a coordinator of precollegiate programs at William & Mary.

Ms. Gatling serves on a range of organizations, boards, and committees. She is currently a board member of the American Association for Access, Equity & Diversity, where she’s served since 2012. Highlights of her past William & Mary service include its Organization and Culture Advisory Committee, Disability Working Group, and Equal Opportunity Committee. She has appeared as a featured speaker, moderated panels, and presented about diversity, equity, and inclusion topics throughout her career, including at the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (AAAED) National Conference and Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, and New Orleans, Louisiana, and Virginia’s Community Colleges’ Black Concerns Commission’s annual symposium in Williamsburg, Virginia. She was also featured in a 2018 issue of Virginia Lawyer magazine. In 2020, she received the AAAED President’s Award in honor of her outstanding contributions.


MA in Education, University of Phoenix
BA in Psychology, Hampton University