PSD Spotlight: Cosmos Boekell

May 22, 2020

June 2020

Cosmos Boekell

PSD’s June spotlight is Cosmos Boekell, Director of Computer Science Instructional Laboratory (CSIL). Cosmos has been in this position for one year, and is also an alumnus of The College, A.B. in Anthropology ‘97.

Cosmos was nominated for the “Out of the Box (Rising Star) Award.” This award recognizes a staff member with an innovative mindset. It refers to how an out-of-the-box feature works immediately, without any special installation or modifications. This award recognizes a recently hired staff member into the division (two years or less) who was able to transition into their new role quickly and is successfully making a positive impact in a short time span.

A member of the PSD community had this to say:

Cosmos promotes and sustains a sense of belonging with his tutors. He values and practices respect for their talents, beliefs, backgrounds.

We interviewed Cosmos about his interests and experiences below.

Where are you from?

I grew up in a town between Philadelphia, PA, and Trenton, NJ, called Morrisville, PA. I was born in Charleston, WV. I consider Chicago home.

What do you enjoy about being a part of the PSD community?

I am still getting to know my way around the Division but I love the environment, especially at John Crerar Library where I work. Whether I walk around the science quad or over to Eckhardt for lunch, I am always greeted by friendly faces.

Tell us a bit about you.

I enjoy cooking, making music, and practicing Tai Chi.

Who inspires you?

So many people. This week James Baldwin has been a huge inspiration. He is one of the most eloquent and poignant speakers with regard to what I understand to be the "beautiful tragedy" of America. Finding beauty whilst in an oppressive situation is crucial for anyone to be able to gain some buoyancy when drowning in a sea of hate.

What is the most interesting thing that you are working on right now?

I have been working with some of the Chicago Mutual Aid folks, specifically the Bronzeville Kenwood Mutual Aid network. One of the most beautiful things I have witnessed during this pandemic is people's compassion and kindness. The expressions of the community have been profound. We are still working to better find connections to effectively help those who have been drastically affected by the pandemic. I encourage everyone who is able to speak to your neighbors and community leaders about what efforts are being made to help those around us.

What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?

Receptivity. Tolerance and even acceptance will have a difficult time in their manifestation if one is not willing to be open and receptive. The places I have felt included and by virtue have been diverse usually have a community or individuals who are receptive to people that may not be like them.

Who would you most like to swap places with for a day and why?

Ella Fitzgerald. It would be amazing to sing with that type of effortless intonation and vocal dexterity.

What have you seen lately that made you smile?

People's kindness.

Who had the most influence on you growing up?

My mother.

What three words best describe you?

Open, yielding, and kind-hearted.

If they made a movie about your life, what genre would it be and who would play you?

It would likely be a drama. I think it could be anyone who has had to refine their dual or multi consciousness. Being familiar with navigating two or more distinct cultures or societies would likely apply to many individuals' experiences.

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