This is a UW System award recognizing outstanding service to campus and community. The selection process for the award is campus based. Chancellors consult with their campus community to identify a faculty, student, staff or community member who has worked in one or more of the following areas of diversity or women’ studies scholarship and activism, and served to improve the status and climate for women, particularly women of color. Each of the recipients are individuals who have consistently demonstrated their ability to rally diverse forces together to advance the agenda of women; who have created positive changes at their institutional level, i.e., curriculum development and infusion, receiving grants, mentoring women; and who have demonstrated an understanding of the interplay of family and community and culture in the lives of women of color.
You can view all of these recipients organized by UW Institution, as well as all past recipients listed from 1995 – 2018, formerly housed at the UW Women’s Studies Consortium.
Congratulations to the 2018 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award Recipients!
- Jan Larson, UW-Eau Claire
- María Yolanda Peña, UW-Extension
- Alana Dallas, UW-Green Bay
- Graciela Engen, UW-La Crosse
- Christy Clark-Pujara, UW-Madison
- Brenda Cárdenas, UW-Milwaukee
- Kayoung Kim, UW-Oshkosh
- Mai Khou Xiong, UW-Oshkosh
- Laura Khoury, UW-Parkside
- Jacqueline Hunter, UW-Platteville
- Manu Sharma, UW-River Falls
- Brigitte Benitez-Vargas, UW-Stevens Point
- Otaasia Barfeld, UW-Stout
- Lorena Rios Mendoza, UW-Superior
- Ozalle Toms, UW-Whitewater
Congratulations to the 2015 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award Recipients!
On October 9, 2015, the UW System honored the recipients of the 20th Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award. View the 2015 Awards Program to read full bios of each recipient.
Congratulations to the 2014 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award Recipients!
Click a recipient's name below to read their bio
Maa Vue was a student at UW-Marathon until her graduation with an Associate Degree in May of 2014. In addition to being a nationally-known Hmong language singer, who helping to preserve the traditions and language of the Hmong, Maa Vue is known as a highly talented student leader who functions at a professional level, especially in helping other students develop leadership skills. This is most evident in her service as the campus Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) Executive Director.
UW-Marathon County is located in Wausau, which has the highest per capita Hmong population in the United States. The MRC provides a key role in helping the campus recruit, support, and retain Hmong students, while also supporting students from other underrepresented populations and working toward increasing awareness of diversity on campus and in the local community. Without funding for a staff position, the MRC is entirely run by a student director and six MRC Advisory Board student leaders. They receive mentoring and support from volunteer faculty and staff advisory board members. In the past, the MRC has had difficulty training leaders and maintaining consistent programming from one year to the next because it relies so heavily on leadership from students who are in their first two college years. Maa Vue has created an innovative leadership-training program allowing the MRC to build a sustainable program for helping first-generation and minority students become connected to the campus community while also developing transferable skills. Her ‘build student leadership’ approach to directing the MRC has also resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of minority students who use the MRC as a support resource.
Maa Vue is an extraordinarily talented student leader who has created a strong Multicultural Resource Center program that provides substantial educational and social support to students from underrepresented populations. Her approach engages young Hmong women, who have never participated in extracurricular activities, to take on leadership roles, engage in community service, build skills for their future professions, and start the path toward becoming lifelong community leaders. Under her leadership the MRC is creating an inclusive campus learning-environment that includes students with disabilities and international multilingual students and that provides at-risk students with a social support network of peers. She also includes area high school students in leadership activities, which has helped the MRC make connections with minority first-generation students who are preparing to attend college. Maa achieved all of these things with a budget of just a few thousand dollars and while attending school as a sophomore. Because of Maa Vue, UW-Marathon County now has an effective structure in place for building effective Multicultural Resource Center programs for many years to come.
Maa Vue, we honor you.
Shelley King-Curry is a Family Living Programs Specialist for the Wisconsin Nutrition Program of UW-Extension. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in Human Nutrition from Eastern Michigan University.
As an Extension specialist, Shelley is responsible for designing and coordinating training for nearly 200 nutrition colleagues throughout the state. She provides content support in the area of Food Resources Management, a major focus of the Wisconsin Education Program, and she advises colleagues on educational efforts. Shelley is not only a master teacher, providing well-organized, detailed and creative professional development, also serves as a mentor and coach for nutrition colleagues and for those in other program areas.
Described as a welcoming, caring, respectful, positive, role model, creative, person of passion, much of Shelley’s success comes from her life and early career experience. Her understanding and empathy was developed working with low resource people in Detroit, where she grew up. She understands the daily challenges of people who need food assistance and who struggle in societal systems that are biased and oppressive. Before joining Wisconsin Extension 9 years ago, Shelley served as regional nutrition coordinator and a family and consumer sciences educator with Michigan State University Extension working in Detroit. Prior to that, she was a community nutritionist and nutrition educator with the WIC Supplemental Food and Nutrition Education Program, also in Detroit.
Shelley coaches and mentors new colleagues to develop competence with educational content, and master the skills of empowering people to better their lives, starting with the food choices they make for themselves and their families. She does not shy away from uncomfortable discussions about inclusion issues. A colleague from the agriculture program area recalls: “Shelley has been there for me when I’ve needed to talk about some difficult issues related to diversity in my program. Her insight and experience helped me see the situations from a new perspective, which enabled me to build a more inclusive statewide program.”
Shelley always finds time to help colleagues and is a respected mentor. She has been sought out for leadership roles throughout Cooperative Extension. She served as chair of the statewide 2009 Family Living Programs conference titled “Family Portraits: Diverse Families in Changing Communities” and co-chaired the planning of the 2009 New Orleans Multicultural Immersion Experience for Cooperative Extension. A member of the Civil Rights Leadership Team, the Professional Development Framework Workgroup, she also contributes to numerous other Inclusive Excellence efforts.
She resides in Madison, where she volunteers as a breastfeeding consultant for the African American Breastfeeding Alliance of Dane County and has an adult son.
Shelley King-Curry, we honor you.
The campus Commission on the Status of Women nominated Dr. Chaudhuri for her long-term commitment to enhancing the lives of women through her program of research. Sanjukta’sresearch specializes in the economics of gender inequality including gender gap in infant and child mortality, women's empowerment, and gender issues in South Asia. Her scholarship is dedicated to addressing gender inequalities and identifying ways to improve the economic wellbeing of women and girls.
Her paper "A Life Course Model of Rights Realization, Female Empowerment, and Gender Inequality in India" was published in the December 2013 issue of World Development, which is one of the highest ranked peer-reviewed journals in economics and the top-ranked journal in development studies. Another recent publication appeared in the International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health and was recognized in January 2012 by the Guttmacher Institute, an organization dedicated to advancing sexual and reproductive health worldwide through research, policy analysis, and public education.
Sanjukta Chaudhuri was a recipient of the 2012-13 American Summer/Short-Term Research Publication Grant sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and in the fall of 2012 she was recognized by the UW-Eau Claire Office of Research and Sponsored Programs during the annual Author’s Celebration.
Dr. Chaudhuri is recognized as an educator committed to integrating her research around women’s economic lives into the classroom. She has taught courses on Women and the Labor Market, Economics of American Minorities, and Examining Women's Studies. She is a highly valued colleague who actively serves as a Women’s Studies Affiliate that regularly participates in Women’s Studies Program related activities. She has served the university in many capacities that have furthered the well being of campus women including as a former member of Commission on the Status of Women.
Sanjukta Chaudhuri’s attention to and efforts towards improving the lives of women locally, nationally, and internationally makes her as an outstanding recipient for this award. She is an excellent representative of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the Eau Claire community.
Sanjukta Chaudhuri, we honor you.
Giselle Simons is a UW-Green Bay Alumni and has served for 10 years as the Latino/Hispanic Counselor at East High School, one of the most diverse high schools in the city of Green Bay. She is known for her commitment to diversity, and especially to Latina/Hispanic students. In addition to her role as a Latino/Hispanic counselor, Ms. Simons has served the Green Bay School District and community in many capacities: from chairing committees to tirelessly advocating for the expansion of educational opportunities for Latino/Hispanic students. Because of her experience and expertise on issues pertaining Latino students, she has been an invited guest-speaker in the UWGB college course “Cultura Latina” several times. In the course she shared with college students her experiences of growing up Latina in the city of Green Bay.
Giselle is an advocate of the endless benefits of education and she makes sure that she creates programs to ensure that Latino/Hispanic students achieve academic success. In that regards, she created a successful mentoring program between UW-Green Bay and East High School. Recently, she became a board of director member of Scholarships Inc., and was appointed to chair the scholarship committee; a committee created to allocate scholarships to help financially needy students – including DACA and undocumented students - to attend college. Her outstanding dynamism, professionalism and ability to bring diverse people together to work towards a common goal make her an effective and well-liked leader in this work.
As a first generation immigrant, Ms. Simons understands well from personal experience the challenges Latinas face to further their education. As she worded in her Professional Development Research:
“There is a strong need in the Green Bay Public Schools to find ways to support the special needs of our Hispanic students and to encourage them to become life-long learners. It is my job to support and guide my students while they are in high school, to assure their academic success, but it is also my job to ensure that they can be successful, productive members of our society after they graduate.”
Giselle Simons exemplifies very well the spirit of the UW-System Outstanding Women of Color in Education. She is an outstanding dedicated leader in education who serves as a tireless advocate for Latino/Hispanic students. She is, without a doubt, a role model for many Latinas in our community. For this and so much me we honor her.
Giselle Simons, we honor you.
Dr. Sara Docan-Morgan is an Associate Professor in the Communication Studies Department at UW La Crosse. Dr. Docan-Morgan came to UW La Crosse in 2008, where she teaches courses that address issues of difference, including such courses as Intercultural Communication, Communication and Race, and Interpersonal Communication. In these classes, she addresses issues of power, privilege, and discrimination, often harnessed around women’s issues.
Both through her teaching and advising, Sara has developed many caring, mentoring relationships with both women and men of color. Even after they graduate, she continues to support and advise many of her students. Much her curriculum guides students to understand the connections among community and culture. In one class for example, she gives an assignment called the Cultural Connections project, which requires students to spend time in a culture (broadly defined) that is outside of their comfort zone and then write and present about this experience as it relates to course concepts and theories. Students volunteer at a needle exchange program for drug addicts, become regular volunteers at organizations for the poor, and change their perceptions about other religions. Regardless of the course she teaches, one of her goals is to encourage students to bring awareness to issues related to privilege and oppression and, subsequently, to change their communication.
Dr. Docan-Morgan’s research agenda focuses on Korean adoptees’ family communication, both in birth families and adoptive families. Her research, which gives voice to female and male Korean adoptees, has examined Korean adoptees’ experiences with racism and their families’ reported responses, as well as Korean adoptees’ experiences with intrusive comments/questions posed to themselves and their adoptive families. Her work appears in top-quality peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, the Journal of Family Communication, and Adoption and Culture. Because her research holds practical significance for adoptive families, she has conducted workshops with adoptive parent groups, including Families Through Korean Adoption, a group for parents of adopted children from Korea, in Madison, WI.
On campus, Dr. Docan-Morgan has started a group for faculty and instructional staff who identify as women of color. She has created a safe space where women can connect with one another, and give and receive support. There was no group on campus that targeted this demographic specifically, even though research suggests that women of color experience dual oppression. In three gatherings last year, attendees were from various departments, and they expressed most interest in talking about shared issues related to their identities as women of color, and simply getting together socially. Dr. Docan-Morgan has also served as chairperson on the Joint Minority Affairs Committee and as member of the CLS Diversity Committee. She also gives regular talks on campus related to family, culture, adoption, gender, and race.
Sara Docan-Morgan, we honor you.
Dr. Lillian Tong has served as an educator and research scientist at UW-Madison for thirty-three years. During that time, she has contributed significantly to education on the issues of women in science; rallied diverse forces together to advance the agenda of women and students of color; created positive changes at the institutional level; and continually worked to develop an increased understanding, among STEM faculty, staff, and future faculty, of the interplay of culture in the lives of women and students of color in the UW.
Tong successfully incorporates inclusivity into everything she does, whether it’s professional development courses for graduate students, collaborative initiatives with faculty and staff, book groups, or programs and events for STEM educators across campus. It is simply part of the way she operates. As a consequence,regardless of the specific pedagogical approaches or instructional design activities she uses, all of the work that faculty, staff, and future faculty do with her raises awareness and explores strategies for broadening access to and participation in science.
Lil Tong engages the science community by building networks that explicitly address diversity challenges. She connects educators around strategies such as implementing interventions to reduce stereotype threat and harnessing the research expertise of faculty to advance the success of diverse student populations and reduce the achievement gap in STEM courses. She works tirelessly to bring faculty and staff together from across the disciplines to build respectful and inclusive communities of practice. She creates safe spaces for experts from different fields to learn from one another, with the common goal of working together to enhance the student learning experience.
One of Lil’s most recent contributions to institutional change is her active participation in the UW-Madison Ad Hoc Diversity Plan Committee convened in February 2013 to create the campus diversity framework, Forward Together. She currently also serves on the Asian American Studies Program Faculty Advisory Committee after being involved in many activities, including the Pacific Asian Women's Alliance, that led to the creation of the Asian American Studies program. Lil has bridged campus and community, actively participating in the Wisconsin Organization of Asian Americans (WOAA), a community advocacy group, that has taken up many social, cultural, economic, and political issues from a perspective of unity of a diverse Asian American community with in our state.
In addition to serving as a mentor/friend to the undergraduate scholars in the Chancellor's Scholar Program, Lil has served as a member of the many important campus committees addressing teaching and learning through diversity, and she is an active member of the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI). She has additionally served on National Science Foundation (NSF) Panels that award scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics(S-STEM) programs and as a facilitator on the National Academies of Sciences Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education in Biology.
Lillian Tong’s work is about hope and transformation. Her work is suffused with both critique and healing, and with the science that demonstrates need through the evidence of research while offer recommendations for how to make needed change.
Lillian Tong, we honor you.
Dr. Shawnika Hull is an Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at UW-Madison. She threads social justice, advocacy, and community service on behalf of women of color and other marginalized communities through all of her scholarly research, teaching, and community building. Shawnika has channeled her research into such areas as the efficacy of particular message frames for health campaigns that promote HIV testing for young women of color, helping scholars and practitioners better understand how to reach women of color with messages that address the complexities of their lived experiences.
She is particularly interested in addressing the ways differences in the social structure translate into disparities in health and wellness, her research focuses on social determinants of health disparities for people of color, women, gay people, and those that sit at the intersection of these identity groups. For example, based on research findings that Black gay and bisexual men are one of the most disproportionately affected subgroups in the US for HIV infection and also that significant segments of the Milwaukee community were either vaguely aware of anti-gay discrimination in the community or were resistant to addressing it, Shawnika joined a partnership with a group committed to the health development of LGBT people in Wisconsin. They developed Acceptance Journeys, a social marketing campaign that uses the personal stories and images from parents, pastors, friends, colleagues, and public figures to address anti-gay discrimination and social acceptance. These stories and images were made public on billboards throughout the city. This social-justice focused, community-collaborated research project has had significant outcomes on community awareness and social marketing research.
A fine educator, as well Shawnika recently received an Honored Instructor Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her teaching philosophy is striking for its emphasis on listening and compassion towards students. Her use of a wide variety of examples drawn not only from typical college experience but also from her research and her own life, she inspires students to expand their knowledge boundaries and critically think on new levels for them. Through her success in securing grant funding to support her research, Shawnika has provided partial funding in the form of tuition, salary, fringe benefits and travel allowance for her students since 2012. In addition, she is the faculty advisor to the National Association of Black Journalists’ UW-Madison chapter. Finally she serves as an informal advisor and mentor for both undergraduate and graduate students (many of color) not only in this department but also in the Population Health Institute with which she is affiliated.
For the past four years, Shawnika has been key in organizing two on-campus and two off-campus blood drives with the American Red Cross in order to support people with sickle cell anemia, a disease that disproportionately impacts African Americans. Additionally, Shawnika is a tutor at Sherman Elementary School, where she helps middle school-aged children with their reading, comprehension and critical thinking each week as part of the Schools of Hope program.
Shawnika Hull, we honor you.
Chia Youyee Vang is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Hmong Diaspora Studies Certificate Program at UW-Milwaukee. Dr. Vang has been a tireless advocate for women of color and women's studies scholarship and activism.
Professor Vang is an interdisciplinary historian whose research interests have focused on how Southeast Asian refugees following the Vietnam War have rebuilt their lives and communities in US society since the mid-1970s. Her teaching areas include twentieth century US-Asia relations, Hmong/Asian American history, and the Vietnam War. She regularly contributes to other learning environments as a guest speaker.
Professor Vang is an innovative teacher who understands the virtual learning environment of today’s technology savvy students by developing and teaching online and blended courses. In addition to advising history students, she contributes her time and expertise by serving on many masters and doctoral committees in other departments. Since 2009, she has offered a short-term winterim programs to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam to give American students opportunities to interact with and learn from people in Southeast Asia. Women students constitute more than 80 percent of program participants.
When she joined UWM in 2006, she worked with colleagues, students, and community leaders to develop a certificate program in Hmong diaspora studies, which was implemented in fall 2009. The program has collaborated with the Women’s Resource Center and Union Sociocultural Programming to bring Asian American women performers and speakers to campus, contributing to the diversity of activities and events at UWM. She is committed to building undergraduate students’ capacity to go to graduate school as illustrated by her efforts to obtain a grant to establish the Southeast Asian American Research Project. Six students (five female and one male) learned how to design and conduct research. She has also partnered with the Hmong American Peace Academy charter school to implement a Hmong Arts Preservation Initiative to work with students in grades nine and ten to conduct oral history with elders.
Through her leadership position as Co-Chair of the Asian Faculty & Staff Association (AFSA) and as Director of the Hmong Diaspora Studies Certificate Program, Dr. Vang has been instrumental in bringing about positive changes at UWM, specifically, in curriculum development and infusion of content on women and diversity. With two other colleagues she is in the process of completing work on an edited volume, Claiming Place: Hmong Women, Gender and Knowledge Production, which is a collection of essays that foreground ways in which Hmong (refugee) women exert agency and transform both their own lives and those of others. The volume with be published by the University of Minnesota Press.
Through her own teaching, research and service contributions both on campus and in the community, Dr. Vang has raised the visibility and recognition of women of color as scholars, educators, researchers and citizens. In her adeptness at balancing the professional and personal, she has become an important role model for the upcoming generations who aspire to join the leadership ranks of women in academia.
Chia Youyee Vang, we honor you.
Grace Lim is an adjunct professor in the writing/editing emphasis for the Department of Journalism at UW Oshkosh. She has been a staff reporter for The Miami Herald and the Austin American-Statesman covering crime, education and business. Grace teaches her students that true stories have great power, that they have the power to inform, and they have power to effect change. She works with her student producing multimedia projects to discovered the power of storytelling and celebrate diversity on many levels.
Her series, War: Through Their Eyes began in 2009. That first project gave 16 student soldiers at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and Marines a forum to tell the world why they enlisted, what they did and what they felt at the front lines of war. Their stories, which were told in an 80-page book, a series of podcasts and a photo gallery, gave readers a glimpse into a world that most will never see. The second in the series, Warriors & Nurses, continued that tradition of giving our veterans a name, a face and a voice. That project, which was produced fall of 2012, featured five current students or alumni of the College of Nursing who’ve left the battlefields and entered into a field of healing. Warriors & Students is the third of the War: Through Their Eyes series. This latest installment features the work of 10 journalism students who’ve produced a 100-page book, 300 online journal entries and 30 audio podcasts that highlight the stories of 10 student veterans. All three projects attracted a diverse audience from the campus community and beyond. By interacting with the veterans, Grace Lim’s students learned about a certain small segment of the U.S. population - those who volunteer to serve in the U.S. military. These men and women are among the 1 percent charged to protect the other 99 percent. The War: Through Their Eyes photo exhibits will be part of the new Military Veterans Museum and Education Center, when it opens later this year.
Another class project, Green Medicine: From the Mountains of Laos to the Labs at UW Oshkosh was a multicultural, multimedia project that highlights the story of a young Hmong research student at UW Oshkosh and how his work has led him to discover a past that began in the mountains and jungles in Southeast Asia, some 8,500 miles away. What began as a simple story of a young man and his research turned into a heart-rending and inspirational tale about science, family traditions, honor, sacrifice, peace and war. Lim’s students, many of whom knew little about the Hmong culture, were surprised to learn how the past connects with the present and how the dream for a better future transcends geographic boundaries and culture. This class project resulted in a full-color magazine, an online publication, a photo gallery exhibit and a multimedia presentation that was unveiled to a standing-room only crowd at the Reeve Union Theatre and Steinhilber Gallery in 2013.
Grace Lim, we honor you.
Mentoring students, in particular students of color and women, has been a strong suit for Dr. Correa while at UW-Parkside. She has participated in multiple Bilingual and Multicultural student-family oriented open houses at UW-Parkside in order to reach out to communities who have historically not had easy access to education. By working with first-generation, minority students, and their families, she has been able to bridge the gap between the university and the community through meaningful dialogue about the importance of a higher education and the financial opportunities available to them through the university. UW-Parkside has a large number of first-generation, racial/ethnic minority students enrolled in its institution compared to its counterparts in the UW system.
At the national level, the number of Latina/o students enrolled in colleges/universities is gaining some upward momentum. In light of this, as a Latina of Mexican-origin, Dr. Correa stands as an exemplary role model for other Latinas/os in the community, who wish to pursue a post-secondary education. Bridging the gap between the university and the community has been and will continue to be a central concern for Dr. Correa, as she works to increase the number of first-generation and minority students at UW-Parkside by working closely with students and families in the region.
Jennifer has taught fundamental courses for the Sociology and Anthropology department at UW-Parkside that are cross-listed with Ethnic Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, courses such as Latinas/os in the U.S., which focuses on the history of this growing population as well as the socio-political impacts of their growing presence in the U.S. In 2013, Jennifer Correa created the first course at UW-Parkside that examines the lived experiences of people in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer (LGBTQ) community. These courses have been critical in demystifying the racialized and heteronormative understandings concerning these two marginalized communities. Meanwhile, these courses have generated much enthusiasm from students of color, women, and students who wish to enrich their knowledge of these communities as they pioneer into a global economy.
As a member of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Steering Committee, Jennifer Correa has championed women's rights as human rights and participated in a mini-conference organized by the committee at UW-Parkside concerning the theme of citizenship and rights. She presented a paper entitled "Bad Romance: The State vs. Women's Citizenship Rights," which focused on the feminist/ women's liberation movements of the 1960s in the United States with a critique of civil and political rights, and the importance of a human rights framework within the modern-day feminist movement.
Jennifer Correa, we honor you.
Lakisha Clinton is a 2014 graduate in political science from University of Wisconsin-Platteville. During her years at UW-Platteville Lakisha emerged from being a quiet, insecure girl, blossoming into an extraordinary woman who is not afraid to take risks and challenge herself to make a difference on campus.
Clinton began her college career as biology major. During that time she conducted research on stem cells and practiced her public speaking skills. After establishing connections with other students and potential employers who shared a similar interest in politics, Clinton changed her major to political science and also pursued a certificate in ethnic studies.
Lakisha has held positions on Student Senate including senator and senior senator for the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture, as well as a senator for the College of Liberal Arts and Education. Moreover, she was named inclusive affairs director of students and worked to increase awareness of diversity on campus.
To say Lakisha Clinton took an active role to better the campus is an understatement. She not only engaged, but led the university in many areas that bring the campus community a better understanding of race and gender issues. Clinton chaired the Inclusive Affairs Committee for Student Senate; served on the University Women’s Council, Sexual Assault Awareness Committee, Affirmative Action Committee and Inclusive Excellence Committee; co-founded the UW-Platteville Fusion X Hip Hop Dance Team; served as a member of the Pre-Law Society Organization; worked with the Women in EMS Program; and gave campus tours to prospective students. She also started a “Bridging the Gap” conference in 2013, bringing together a variety of student organizations to discuss issues and solutions to bring them closer together; and attended missionary trips to Greenwood, Mississippi working with both students and teachers.
Despite all of her accomplishments, Clinton says that mentoring students is what she is most proud of.
“Being a mentor to students, especially ones with similar backgrounds as mine, has been the most rewarding,” she said. “Being there for them just as I wished someone was there for me is what I enjoy the most. I like to think that I help guide them in the right direction.”
Her campus community expects her to continue to be an advocate for those who are less fortunate and struggling in life with poverty, racism, sexism, and poor educational opportunities. Clinton is currently working at Perkins Coie LLP in Washington DC as the Political Law Project Assistant, while studying for the Law School Admissions Test. Clinton plans on attending graduate school in hopes of obtaining a degree in law.
Lakisha Clinton, we honor you.
As the Project Director of TRIO Upward Bound program at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Bee was originally hired as an advisor for the program in fall 2010. Since then she has progressively taken on all duties and responsibilities for the program; becoming the Interim Director in fall 2011 and eventually the permanent hire in fall 2012. In the short time that Bee has held this leadership role, she has made significant improvements in the UWRF Upward Bound program at Washington Technology Magnet School in St. Paul, MN.
Students in the Upward Bound program are primarily students of color, low income, and first generation. Under Bee’s leadership Upward Bound is consistently achieving a 100% graduation rate among its seniors and all but one of the UB students has exceeded the grade point goal for the program. Bee saw that many of the UB students encountered transportation challenges and were unable to get to events and service learning activities. She worked with the other UB staff member to develop a new program that teaches students how to use public transportation in the Twin Cities. Bee also schedules special upper classmen visits to a variety of universities to give students exposure to and build their confidence navigating higher education.
Bee has developed strong partnerships both with UWRF organizations and external groups, including offering collaborative events with the UWRF Asian American Student Association; busing UWRF Falcon Tutors to Washington Tech for individualized tutoring; working with the UWRF Physics Department during the summer program to expose students to the sciences through the IceCube project; partnering with the UWRF College of Education and Professional Studies for ACT test preparation; offering a financial aid night with post-event individualized FAFSA completion advising in collaboration with other pre-college programs at Washington Tech, and partnering with St. Paul Public School Office of College Career Readiness.
Bee wrote the current TRiO Upward Bound grant proposal and received funding from the US Department of Education totaling over $1.6 million for five years. This was a highly competitive grant program and several existing programs were not funded due to budget reductions. Bee has also submitted other grant proposals in support of the Upward Bound students. Bee Vang goes beyond the requirements of the grant to offer extra programming such as a summer bridge program and senior series. She has taken on teaching “Becoming a Master Student” and “Pre-Bridge: Rising Seniors” during the 6-week summer program.
Bee is truly committed to helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds succeed.
Bee Vang, we honor you.
Dr. Ogunnaike-Lafe has been at UW-Stevens Point since fall 1997 and became a full professor in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the fall 2013. She has expertise in early childhood education and is the Coordinator of the campus Early Childhood Education program and is one of the major professors in the major.
As part of her course load, she teaches the course in which students are expected to develop an “Agents of Change” project that has a focus on responding to a need in a home, school, or community organization. As a result of these projects, students, with Ogunnaike-Lafe’s guidance, have completed meaningful projects involving community, home, and school environments. In the community, an informational booklet was devised for adults experiencing domestic violence. For adolescent parents of all backgrounds, the importance of literacy was facilitated through parent education and provision of materials. In the home environment, support for single mothers and first-time mothers was provided in terms of a manual focusing on key infant needs and adult behaviors. To understand the needs of the parents, interviews were conducted to determine their specific needs and then information was developed to address their specific needs. More personal care was provided for one family having a child with severe disabilities. Within the school environment, an environmental educational play space was developed for a Head Start Program. At UW-SP, non-traditional students were provided resources that involved information regarding finances, health care, and family activities to enhance their transition. Backpacks of necessary school supplies were provided for children experiencing low socio-economic status. In review of these meaningful projects, the needs of families from diverse backgrounds were addressed and resulted in long-term positive effects. One cannot underscore sufficiently the positive benefit these projects associated with Agents of Change have had. These projects were just a sample of what has been completed.
Beyond her teaching, Dr. Ogunnaike-Lafe has a consistent research interest in responding to the needs of fathers from diverse backgrounds. On an international level, Dr. Ogunnaike-Lafe has worked on curriculum development for the Human Factor Leadership Academy in Akatsi, Ghana. Oluyomi Ogunnaike-Lafe is a very effective professor and researcher, who celebrates all persons. She models celebration of all persons and is highly sensitive to the perspectives of others.
Oluyomi Ogunnaike-Lafe, we honor you.
Vickie Sanchez coordinates PreCollege and Stoutward Bound Summer Bridge programs for the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Vickie exemplifies inclusivity, diversity and equity with the highest ethical standards. Her contributions make a difference because she cultivates inclusive excellence with innovative programs and services to enhance compositional diversity, campus climate and equity in outcomes.
As the Coordinator of Stoutward Bound, a living and learning community that serves first year Asian, African American, American Indian and Latino students. The majority of the student participants are women of color. Under Vickie’s leadership since 2011, Stoutward Bound increased retention rates to eliminate the achievement gap between Stoutward Bound underrepresented minority participants and white students. Stoutward Bound students have higher retention rates than other minority and all new freshmen. Vickie coordinates the recruitment and services for students to thrive at UW Stout. She works with Admissions, Housing, Advisement, Dean of Students, Counseling, Career Services, Financial Aid and many individual faculty and staff to maximize student success. She coordinates mentoring, financial literacy, cultural enrichment, leadership development and academic support services. These students often serve on Stout Student Association, as Resident Advisors and in various leadership positions throughout the Stout community. Vickie is able to rally diverse forces together to advance the status and climate for underrepresented minority students.
Vickie also serves as the PreCollege Coordinator and develops career focused summer residential programs to serve high school age students from low-income environments. She recruits diverse student populations for three different programs with the majority of the students being young women of color. Under Vickie’s leadership, Students, Faculty and Staff are a part of the successful programs. Students consistently report increased desire to attend college after their positive experience at UW Stout.
Vickie works many long days, nights and weekends throughout the entire year to support retention services for hundreds of students of color. Vickie regularly takes the initiative to not only outreach to students, but often communicates with families and community leaders because she understands the interplay of family, community and culture. She also serves as an Advisor to the Latinos Unidos Student Organization and advocates for and empowers Women of Color.
Vickie demonstrates sophisticated intercultural competence to adapt to unique needs of individuals, systems and programs that enhance diversity, campus climate and equity. UW Stout is stronger because of her leadership.
Gabriela Theis is a Multicultural Student Services Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Gabriela coordinates student leadership skills building programs such as the Leadership and Mentorship Program which focuses on the retention, academic, and social successes of new incoming students of color while working with current students who act in leadership roles as mentors for these new students. Gabriela co-coordinating several important programs, including: the campus Diversity Leadership Retreat that introduces current students from all backgrounds about diverse leadership; “Making College Accessible; ” a pre-college program for middle school students of color and their parents; and “Advancing Minorities in Science Scholars”which works with underrepresented minority/disadvantaged UW-Superior students majoring in science related fields and gives students an opportunity to conduct a research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. She also co-coordinating the Diversity Dialogue series, which helps inform the campus and surrounding communities about racial/cultural/diversity issues. In all her roles she has built strong and respectful relationships with UW-Superior students, faculty and staff members
Off campus, Gabriela has been actively involved in organizations that build on leveling the education and leadership gap that is often found within communities of color. She was an integration specialist within the Duluth Public Schools and worked with 40 elementary students of color each year with tutoring services, organizing the Parents And Students Succeeding Program. She co-founded and is Executive Director to a non-profit organization called “The Metamorphosis Project.” This program was designed with the goal to close the achievement gap within the Duluth Public Schools by creating an afterschool program with a curriculum and activities that started out with a target group of elementary girls. The program now includes boys as well. Gabriela is also the Chair of the Adelante Parents Advisory Committee within the Duluth Public Schools, where she has also Spanish and as well as being a substitute teacher. A member of a selected cohort of the national Latino Leadership Academy: Eliminating Barriers to Opportunities, she represents and works towards the highest standard of community service within Minnesota’s Latino communities to empower Hispanic individuals into leadership roles and non-profits organizations that help build strong Latino communities
Gabriela holds a Master’s of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia College, a Bachelor of Applied Arts Degree in Spanish Education K – 12 from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from the Technological Institute in Culiacan, Mexico. She is currently seeking Ed.S. Degree-Principal Licensure program at Concordia College. Gabriela’s research has been published in a book published by SAGE entitled, “Diversity and Inclusion in Early Years Education: Issues, Perspectives and Practices from the International Experience.” Gabriela presents at conferences, workshops and in educational classrooms that focus on educational and racial/cultural competency and learning.
Gabriela Theis, we honor you.
Kang Her is a student in her junior year at UW-Superior, majoring in Social Work and minoring in Professional and Personal Communications. Kang is very is forthcoming about the cultural struggles she faced being a young college-aged Hmong woman. Traditionally, she should have been at home helping out with household duties; instead, she was pursuing her education at UW-Superior. While she continues her educational journey, Kang Her does maintain many facets of her Hmong culture such as helping out at home, staying home after the birth of her two children, maintaining the traditional diet after birth, and celebrating the various Hmong holidays.
In the fall of 2012, Kang Her was selected to be an Alternate in the McNair Scholars Program. In spring of 2013 Her officially became a McNair Scholar. Kang Her demonstrates leadership in the McNair Program. She has connected and became close with the other underrepresented students in the Program as well as with another underrepresented woman in her classes. Her has been a key participant in students encouraging each other throughout the program. She has been verbally and also non-verbally supportive of her classmate and the classmate’s educational and family goals and concerns for maintaining a cultural balance.
She has worked for the Office of Multicultural Affairs as an Office Assistant/Student Employees Lead in a student employment position for the past three years in a management role. Throughout her time on campus, Her has been integral to the coordination of four pre-college mentoring/recruitment programs called "College Student for a Day" throughout the year and has mentored visiting high school students in the program. When mentoring the high school-aged women, Ms. Her always brings them to the McNair office and shares her own story of balancing education and culture, assuring the high school students that they, too, can be successful as an undergraduate and should aim high to graduate school. She is currently fulfilling a First Nations Studies Special Topics internship.
Kang Her’s involvement in the Hmong community evidences that she is a true leader within the younger crowd. As a married mother of two, she delicately balances the traditional home life of a Hmong woman while pursuing an education. She has been a great asset to the recruitment and retention of students of color efforts for this campus as she has participated in countless student panels for campus visits organized through the Office of Multicultural Affairs, TRIO Programs, and Admissions. Kang is the past President of the Asian American Student Association and is active within the Hmong community in the Twin Ports and region.
She is also a student assistant in a work-study position within Student Support Services and has worked for a year with the Admissions Office as a Tour Guide.Kang Her is a recipient of the 2014 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. She will work with Dr. Lynn Amerman Goerdt in Social Work on research about students of color at UW-Superior and the effectiveness of Peer Mentoring Program.
Kang Her, we honor you.
Dr. Catherine Chan is an Associate Professor in Biological Sciences and Chemistry at UW-Whitewater. Also the director of the Undergraduate Research Program, she has personally mentored over 20 UWW students since 2005. Almost half of her mentees are women and within this group, almost 50% are women of color (with additional mentees as young men of color).
Catherine Chan has helped create a paid research assistantship program aimed at providing early disciplinary exposure and skills development for freshman and sophomore students, especially students of color. This program, apart from providing opportunities for experiential learning, also helps build camaraderie among program participants and sustain a culture of professional development and personal growth among young women of color. Partly due to her advocacy, the program has been institutionalized and she is working towards securing additional resources for further growth.
Catherine Chan is also currently involved in various initiatives (e.g., curricular reform, grant submissions to help establish support/intervention programs) designed to support freshman science students to reduce their attrition and improve their success. A substantial portion of these students are expected to be underrepresented minority students, including women of color. She is serving on the Inclusive Excellence Committee for the College of Letters and Sciences, where her colleagues and she are working to improve, promote and sustain a positive learning and working environment for all, including women of color.
Catherine Chan is well recognized nationwide for her outstanding research accomplishments. When seeking grant funding, she includes undergraduate students as part of the program whenever possible and she always makes special efforts to recruit students of opportunity, including women and women of color. She reaches out to others who can contribute to success of her mentees. These resources vary as widely as individual students, staff, faculty and key offices in the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Student Success and individual Colleges.
She has received funding in the amount of $16,000 from the Provost, $60,000 from the Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program and $10,000 from the UW System Diversity Research Award, along with many other grants from various funding agencies, to recruit underrepresented students to conduct undergraduate research. She also has a number of publications with undergraduate co-authors.
Catherine Chan has created and sustained a positive learning environment for women, especially women of color on the UW-Whitewater campus where their potentials are nurtured and they are supported to thrive.
Catherine Chan, we honor you.
Congratulations to the 2013 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award Recipients!
Click a recipient's name below to read their bio
PaFoua Kue has been an active leader on our campus, as she devotes herself to studying Women’s Studies and Sociology. Her volunteer work, and willingness to mentor other students, are signs of a true leader.
PaFoua is one of a few students who are earning the Women’s Studies Certificate. PaFoua has excelled in her Women’s Studies classes, and has taken her passion for learning about and helping women outside of the classroom. She helps local Hmong women find local resources for health care, and birth control, for example, and is an advocate for women in the Hmong community. She also serves women in the larger community. Most notably, she volunteers at our local Domestic Violence Center/Sexual Assault Resource Center. She also serves as a connection between the Center and our campus. She was instrumental in having a Denim Day display on our campus for the first time in 2012.
PaFoua has served as a leader of our campus multi-cultural club during her time on campus. She was appointed to a leadership role and continues to serve as a club advocate. Under her leadership, the club has organized campus events like multi-cultural film nights, discussions on race and current events, and service projects with the local Salvation Army.
PaFoua has also served on the campus Student Senate, representing not only the multi-cultural club, but also the interests of the student body. She has been integral in working toward greater transparency in Student Government, and working to make connections between campus clubs.
During the 2012-2013 academic year, our campus planned and hosted an Inclusive Excellence Symposium, featuring workshops, panels, and films on a variety of diversity topics. PaFoua is an active member of the campus Inclusive Excellence Committee, and she took charge of two sessions: a Hmong Community Panel discussion of immigration and life in Wisconsin, and a screening and discussion of the Hmong documentary film My Way Home. PaFoua recruited fellow students, family, and Hmong elders to speak on the panel, and served as one of the panel facilitators for the film discussion. The Hmong panel was one of the most popular sessions at our Symposium, and its success is a tribute to PaFoua’s dedication to bringing people together to start conversations and make change.
From her advocacy and leadership on campus, both in and out of the classroom, to her volunteer work in our community, PaFoua is an excellent example of a leader who builds consensus, applies her academic background of women’s studies and sociology to help women on campus and in the community, and is a powerful, thoughtful advocate for inclusion on campus.
Pafoua Kue we honor you.
For the past 14 years, Fabiola Diaz has been a bi-lingual educator in Kenosha and Racine Counties with the UW-Extension Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program (WNEP), a federally funded program. This program offers limited resource families and individuals research-based knowledge and information to help them choose healthful diets, purchase and safely prepare healthful food, and become more food secure by spending their dollars wisely.
The breadth of subjects that Fabiola teaches, the many locations where she teaches, and the diversity of learners she works with, speak to the complexity of her educational role. Her subjects include the Eating Smart and Being Active curriculum, Money For Food, Sisters in Health, Food Safety, and the Power of Choice. She teaches a diversity of races, ethnicities and cultures in Head Start, elementary schools, community center, job centers, WIC clinics, senior meal sites, churches, the Shalom Center homes shelter, and community oriented policing houses known as COP Houses. Her learners are pre-school children and youth in grades K-12, parents and other adults of all generations.
Fabiola has made particularly valuable contributions to the Sisters in Health curriculum that encourages low income women to eat and enjoy fruits and vegetables. She was among a small group of Latina educators who adapted the curriculum to be culturally appropriate for Latinas and translated the materials into Spanish. Fabiola now helps train other nutrition educators to use the curriculum.
Ana Ortiz, a community partner of 12 years from UMOS in Kenosha County, described Fabiola’s generosity with her time and talents and her boundless energy for volunteer efforts. “Fabiola goes the extra mile to help find resources and needed items for children and their parents such as clothing, furniture, food, community services and medical treatment. She takes time to teach people to be self-sufficient and enrich their lives with healthy practices. Many families have looked to Fabiola as a mentor and role model with knowledge and information that they can apply to improve their health and their lives. Fabiola serves families with an integrity and commitment that builds trust.“
Fabiola Diaz, for your work with families and communities, we honor you.
Catherine Emmanuelle, one of Eau Claire’s Council Members and a recent graduate from UW-Eau Claire, is the first Latina/o on the Eau Claire City Council and as well as the youngest woman on the council. Catherine has done extensive training in women’s leadership coordinated the first City of Eau Claire’s declared Women’s History Month in March 2013. Catherine has co-chaired, as a founding board member, Diversity Initiatives for Clear Vision Eau Claire. During the national Fall elections in 2012, she helped to coordinate and run the first Hmong phone bank in Eau Claire, that specifically reached out to Millennial-aged women voters.
As a non-traditional student, Catherine is exemplary in her ability to balance motherhood, her academic program and scholarship, as well as extensive civic engagement and community leadership activities. As an undergraduate, Catherine had an impressive record of scholarship and publication. Most recently, “The Awakening of Mamie Till-Mobley,” her collection of interviews for this project, has been accepted for inclusion in the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African American History and Culture Collections Vertical Files. She is currently attending the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and is slated to graduate in May 2014 with a Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership.
She has extensive experience in the realm of public policy, government, and civic engagement, having participated in several internships as well as working on several political campaigns. She has also served as a member of the UW-Eau Claire’s Commission on the Status of Women, Western Dairyland Parent Policy Council, and Luther-Midelfort Hospital’s Family Centered Care Advisory. In her professional work, she serves as a Family Living Educator for UW-Extension in Trempealeau County, home of one of the largest growing Latino populations in the nation.
Catherine Emmanuelle we honor you for your work as a student and community member.
Margaret (Toni) Lardinois a native of Pine Bluff, AR. and mother of two boys, Jamel and O’Brien, and wife to husband David, has earned the respect of many as an educational and community leader. Toni graduated from the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff with a B. S. Degree in Accounting. She also attended Concordia University, Marian College, and St. Mary’s Minnesota where she earned her Wisconsin Teaching License, a Master’s in Educational Technology and completed coursework for her Administrative License. Toni is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Prior to her career in education Toni was a Community Development Manager with the United States Department of Agriculture serving rural areas by providing subsidized housing for very-low to moderate income families. She was a Business Education and AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) teacher in the Green Bay Public Schools. Toni served as the Green Bay Education Association (GBEA) vice-president from 2008-2010 and as president from June 2010-August 2012. Prior to that, she served as a building representative, as the GBEA members liaison in her building.
Toni is also a committed and dedicated teacher, as well as an effective leader. She is currently an associate principal in Green Bay East High School. She understands much about schools and the needs of all students to be educated for their future and for the advancement of our communities.
For the past eight years Toni has organized mentoring African American girls at Franklin Middle and Edison Middle Schools. Toni was instrumental in getting the Institute for Learning Partnership involved in starting the mentoring and support groups. Since then, we have been providing support programs for African American girls, focused on their school attendance, self-esteem, motivation and academic achievement. Toni recognized that “It takes a village to raise a child,” and continues to involve community members as speakers who come to share their stories of challenge and triumph with the girls.
Last summer, Toni was involved in the Phoenix Scholar Institute for African American Girls, a one-week residential summer program. Toni is a great collaborator who brings the Green Bay School District, the community and University together to work to improve learning and college access for students.
Toni is also a member of the Nia African/African American Dance/Drumming group. The group started since 2002, to promote diversity in the area, performing at several events in Northeast Wisconsin. For Toni, it is her opportunity to connect with students and as she says, it is also good exercise for them.
Toni is very well respected in the various communities in our area and she could definitely facilitate community, university and school district engagement/relationship. Most important, Toni is a passionate teacher, a strong and effective leader and advocate for schools and students. She loves our schools, students and community; she is a great collaborator and works well with people.
We honor you, Margaret (Toni) Lardinois, for outstanding mentoring and leadership.
Dorothy Her is a senior, majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Organizational and Professional Communication. She is currently the Family Strengthening Advocate for the La Crosse Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association (HMAA) where she advocates for and support victims of domestic violence. In this capacity, she provides crisis intervention, community resources and education to the Hmong community about the social dynamics relating to adult victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and harassment. She has been the Gender and Justice Specialist Intern for HMAA.
In that role, she created the “Hmoob Paj Ntaub Circle” program to provide a safe space and a support network for Hmong women of all ages, connecting them culturally, socially, emotionally, and politically while at the same time preserving the traditional needlework of the Hmoob paj ntaub. She also facilitates the “Hmoob Paj Ntaub Circle” through interactive and critical discussions on Hmong women gender roles in the Hmong community and serves as a mentor for the HMAA youth group by having critical discussions of the importance of their leadership role in the community.
She is the Founder and Chair of the Hmong Women’s Group where she plans meetings and social gatherings, facilitates a support group for Hmong women by addressing issues and oppression that Hmong women face. She has been an Anti-Racism Educational Trainer and Public Speaker, working to break down systemic racism and build racial justice in institutions by providing anti-racism organizing and training services. She led her own workshops on “Community Building” at the Widening Circle Conference. She has served as the Film Producer and Cultural Programming Intern for Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, the Social Justice Director, UW-La Crosse Student Association (Sept. 2010 – May 2011) and the Student Senator, President and Vice-President for Asian Students Organization. In addition, she was a Resident Assistant at UW-La Crosse and tutored students of color through Mentor, S.M.A.R.T and the UW-La Crosse Pre-College Tutoring Program.
Dorothy Her we honor you for your influential work during your student years.
A faculty colleague writes, “Professor Roberta Hill is a wonderful seer, a citizen of the world, and I believe that students, faculty, and staff at UW-Madison are blessed to have such a gifted scholar, teacher, activist, and artist reminding us quietly but persuasively of the complexities, richness, and beauty of a more nuanced and understanding view of the world….”
Her students concur enthusiastically, noting that “Professor Hill has worked with students across all cultures and has been able to make an impact on a personal level… “ Recently, the Native American campus community’s 40-year long wait ended with the designation of a house as the American Indian Student and Cultural Center (AISCC); Roberta has had an extremely prominent role in the social and cultural life of this house, having set up an office there to encourage student engagement, and having served every year on the AISCC board, which oversees the operation of the house.
An important contribution from Roberta Hill’s scholarship is rooted in her dream of hearing the oral traditions of indigenous languages spoken in the original languages. Working with her colleagues, Roberta also sought to honor the protocols associated with traditional North American storytelling, that stories are a voice of the land, grow out of the land, and must be told while honoring the mythic worldviews from which they come. From these considerations was born our Evening of Storytelling program, which celebrated its 16th year in February of this year. An important annual cultural event, Evening of Storytelling owes its vision and implementation to Roberta Hill.
A colleague calls Roberta the soul of American Indian Studies, noting that she provides a core that is at once wise and compassionate, and speaks in a strong indigenous voice. She is no less of a voice for indigenous communities in her teaching. She has created and taught many courses that use indigenous art and literature to teach students to see the world from more inclusive perspectives. For example her course taught through the Institute for Environmental Studies, Speaking for Nature: Literature of the Environment, examines the ways that different cultures see the environment, as expressed through their literary creativity.
Roberta Hill’s considerable accomplishments as a poet include the publication of several outstanding volumes of poetry, including Philadelphia Flowers and Star Quilt. In her foreword to Star Quilt, the eminent Native American author Joy Harjo writes: “This important collection reminds me of who we were and what we have become. It marks the heart of an age of native poetry when we were hungry for a poetry that could reconstruct our nations, a poetry with the eloquence and wisdom of the ancient stones who knew everything and could talk to humans. In these poems we can hear them.”
Roberta Hill we honor you.
Carmen R. Valdez, an Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology at UW-Madison, is a campus leader and mentor, consistently engaged in community action-based research with the Latina/o community, and providing greatly needed services and culturally-steeped interventions and programming through grant-funded projects.
Through her scholarship, Carmen has sought to understand how factors associated with high risks contexts influence children and youth adjustment and how to translate that basic research into clinical interventions.
Carmen’s research has unusual relevance, importance, and timeliness. She is receiving the 2013 School of Education Award for Community-Engaged Scholarship for her work in low-resource, high-risk communities in Wisconsin and Arizona. As further recognition of the importance of her research for public policy, Carmen was recently appointed to the Committee on Children, Youth and Families, which advises the American Psychological Association’s (APA) CEO, Board of Directors, and Council of Representatives on priorities for public policy lobbying efforts. Her election to this committee speaks to her growing national reputation as an expert in Latino child adaptation and the impact of her research beyond its academic merits.
Carmen is a scientist-practitioner: her research informs clinical practice and her applied work informs her research. It is important to note the methodological pluralism reflected in Carmen’s research. She has large sample, longitudinal research in which adjustment variables are surveyed across developmental periods and she also performs intensive analyses of a few participants in rich idiographic, qualitative research. She has command of a broad array of research scholarship.
Her scholarship spans multiple psychology specialties. The diverse range of journal outlets in which Carmen has published reflects the relevance of her research to a variety of professional specialties. These include flagship journals of multiple divisions of the American Psychological Association as well as journals relevant to medical and psychiatric professions.
Carmen’s involvement and trajectory of grant activities distinguishes her. Prof. Valdez started her involvement in grant work prior to her doctoral studies and has continued throughout her career.
To her students, many of whom came to UW-Madison specifically for her mentorship, Carmen is “an inspiration.” For those who want to work within the community, Carmen creates a sense of compassion for issues that are stigmatized, and builds understanding and inclusion for different beliefs.
For all this we honor you Carmen R. Valdez.
Sharon Adams championed community engaged service learning at UWM years ago and set the stage for this enthusiastic nomination to recognize her longstanding advocacy for women of color. When, after 30 years of working out-of-state, Ms. Adams returned to her ancestral home near the corner of 17th and North in Walnut Way to encounter unacceptable conditions – gunfire, drug trafficking, and prostitution – she asked for help for her family’s home and the neighborhood. From that point forward, Ms. Adams has led a grass roots resident driven movement to restore her neighborhood to the vibrant, friendly, and cohesive place it once was.
After leaving UWM, she became co-founding director of the Walnut Way Conservation Corp, a nonprofit neighborhood organization with a mission of sustaining an economically diverse and neighborly community through civic engagement, environmental stewardship and economic enterprise. Walnut Way’s neighborhood center serves 7,000 residents, most of whom are African-American women and their families.
Ms. Adams has remained a vital partner with UWM. Since 2004 she has shared her community-building experience with UWM students, regularly engaging UWM student service learners. In Ms. Adams’ words, she links students to “reciprocal” learning experiences, where students are able to build authentic relationships with the community members they are working with. Ms. Adams is well-respected by community members and change-makers alike. As Dr. Susan Lloyd, Executive Director of the Zilber Family Foundation, noted, “Sharon Adams is among the most effective community leaders in the country. She is able to envision and execute, typically by building the capacity of others to lead. She is quick to credit others, quick to accept accountability, always advancing a belief in abundance and faith in the goodwill of others.”
Sharon Adams we honor you for your outstanding community work.
Raazia Riffat has been the Internal Auditor at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh for almost three years, and has been serving on the University’s Risk Management team since 2011. While earning her BA degree Riffat served as an intern in the Internal Audit Office. She received her undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2010.
She also serves as a volunteer women’s outreach liaison for the local Ahmadiyya Muslim community chapter, especially working with the women’s auxiliary to promote interfaith dialogue and to refute stereotypes of Islam and women in Islam as portrayed by modern day media. Riffat has spoken in a variety of public forums to create awareness and understanding of a Muslim woman’s perspective.
Raazia Riffat has helped organize disaster relief fundraising activities to help with the Haiti earthquake disaster and the Pakistan flood of 2010. Other community services include participation in the annual Servapalooza sponsored by the Oshkosh First Congregational Church as well as volunteer work at the Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Center.
We honor Raazia Riffat for her service and her liaison work with the Muslim community.
Louise Loud has been a lecturer in the UW-Parkside Department of Criminal Justice since the major was implemented in 1997. In addition to teaching courses with a focus on Criminal Justice, Family Violence, Victimology, and Capital Punishment, Loud coordinates the department Criminal Justice Internship Program.
Louise Loud is an experienced criminal justice professional who has completed thirty years of service with the 19th Judicial Circuit in Lalce County, Illinois, where she has served as a Juvenile Probation Officer, Shift Supervisor, Therapist, Program Coordinator and Chief of Juvenile Court Services. She has also been active in a wide range of professional organizations including the Illinois Probation and Court Services Association, the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, as well as serving on the board of the Central Baptist Children's Home and as a volunteer.
Loud’s personal credibility in the community allows her to network and facilitate Criminal Justice Program internships in a growing geographic area that stretches from downtown Chicago to downtown Milwaukee and all counties in-between. She supervises internships thought out the year that offer students benefit real world opportunities for career development and enhancement.
Repeatedly nominated for campus teaching awards, Louise is dynamic, empathetic, enthusiastic, and elicits high performance from her students who regularly fill her courses to capacity. She consistently receives high rating from her students, many of which are first-generation, who know her to be knowledgeable, fair, good-humored, encouraging and inclusive. She has very high expectations from her students, who rate her knowledge base, teaching style, and organizational methods among the best in the department and the university. She helps develop students' academic skills base of knowledge and prepares them with skills that will serve them throughout their careers.
For her outstanding contributions to campus and community Louise Loud is acknowledged with this award. We honor her.
Dr. Yuanyuan Hu is an associate professor specializing in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in the Department of Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. She has been directing the undergraduate TESOL program since fall 2007 and coordinating the Master of Science in Education/English Education (China) program since January 2011. She has also been a steering committee member for English as a Second Language in the Platteville Area Literacy Council since fall 2010.
Growing up as a member of the Han majority in China speaking a unique Wu dialect in addition to Mandarin Chinese, Dr. Hu wound up specializing in TESOL in a country where English is the “power language,” and raising a bilingual and bicultural child in a predominantly monolingual English-speaking town. Her cross-cultural and cross-linguistic experiences and strong awareness of the intersection of language, power, social status, identity and education have motivated her to instill a strong sense of responsibility in her TESOL students, who are overwhelmingly female, for improving the lives of English language learners in K-12 schools and adult English learners in communities. Under her guidance, Dr. Hu’s TESOL students have been providing volunteer English services to speakers of other languages in UW-Platteville, school districts, and communities in the tri-state area of Southwest Wisconsin, North Illinois, and East Iowa. Through the three general education courses she teaches, Introduction to Linguistics, Language and Culture, and Sociolinguistics, Dr. Hu has raised awareness among her students of linguistic and cultural diversity, and more importantly, the significance of language and culture to individuals and society.
Dr. Hu has conducted research in a variety of areas such as language education policy, world Englishes, bilingual education, and second language writing from national and international perspectives. She has been committed to developing both the undergraduate TESOL program and the Master of Science in Education/English Education (China) program that she is in charge of through curriculum improvement and program evaluation projects. She is currently responsible for developing the curriculum for the English Language Program that aims to serve prospective international students at UW-Platteville.
Dr. Yuanyaun Hu we honor you for your work.
In her work as Chief Diversity Officer and Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Affirmative Action/EEO Compliance, a post she has held since 2010, Andriel M. Dees is one of the more formidable forces for inclusivity we have on our campus. She provides strong leadership in the area of Inclusive Excellence at UW-River Falls as well, working to foster greater diversity, equity, inclusion, and accountability on campus.
Andriel’s extensive work with and for people of color has taken place in a number of contexts. In her work at William Mitchell College of Law, where she was Associate Dean for Multicultural Affairs, Andriel provided programs and counseling to a diverse student population; she worked with faculty on incorporating diversity into curriculum, and she brought speakers from the NAACP, the African American Leadership Institute, and environmentalist and Indian activist, Winona LaDuke. Andriel has also taught courses on race and the law, as well as working on a class action discrimination suit by African-American farms against the United States Department of Agriculture.
The professional presentations Andriel has given over the years show a strong and steady personal and intellectual commitment to issues of diversity for all minority and oppressed groups, including women of color. Her membership in many professional organizations also demonstrates Andriel’s commitment to social justice for women and girls of color. She is a board member of the YWCA in Minneapolis; she was Co-Chair of the YWCA Minneapolis It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race”; she is a member of the Women’s and Gender Studies Committee at UWRF; and she is a member of the Minnesota Black Women Lawyers Network.
Our Chancellor, Dean Van Galen reports, “Andriel is a thoughtful, knowledgeable, and strong advocate for diversity and inclusivity on the UW-River Falls campus. Her background as an attorney, coupled with her commitment to bring research and best practices to discussions regarding diversity, has led to Andriel being highly respected by other members of the Chancellor’s Cabinet and the broader campus and community. Of special note is her leadership in the development of a partnership with Virginia State University, a land-grant HBCU located in Petersburg, Virginia. This unique partnership will provide wonderful exchange and research opportunities for our students, faculty and staff. Andriel’s wisdom, commitment and passion make her a highly-respected, transformational leader on the UW-River Falls campus.”
Andriel M. Dees we honor you.
Dr. Elia J. Armacanqui-Tipacti, a native of Peru, is a Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She has made significant contributions in advocating for women of color as a scholar, teacher, mentor, and an engaged citizen. She has produced multiple publications and conference presentations in the area of women’s studies, and she has further contributed to the field by organizing, chairing, and participating in numerous panels on Latina writers at national and international conferences. Closer to home, she has employed her professional connections to bring to UW-Stevens Point scholars, filmmakers and activists dedicated to the issue of women of color, and she continues to share her own work with her colleagues and students.
Elia brings the same passion to her teaching, which includes several courses cross-listed with the Women and Gender Studies at UW-Stevens Point: Latin American Women’s Writing, Contemporary Latin American Women Voices, and Food and Cooking in Latin American Women’s Literature. As an excellent teacher, she is a recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award by Sigma Alpha Pi: The National Society of Leadership and Success, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point 2013 Scholar Award for her outstanding research and publications, and the UW System Recognition Award for Outstanding Contributions to Women of Color in Education, as well as her department’s three-time nominee for the UW-Stevens Point Teaching Award. These acknowledgements are well deserved because Elia’s teaching does not stop at the classroom doors. She has been a faculty adviser for the Latino Students for Advancement (LSA), the Spanish Club adviser, and a mentor of many minority students, helping them establish their own careers.
Elia’s advocacy for women in color takes many other forms as well. She has served as a faculty member of the Equity and Affirmative Action Committee. She played a major role in bringing to campus in 2003 the film "Señorita Extraviada" (“Missing Women”), which documented the culture of violence against women in Juarez, Mexico and their struggle for justice. She was a member of the Steering Committee and the keynote speaker at the 2005 Wisconsin Women Care Conference organized by the Wisconsin Nicaragua Partners of the Americas, Inc. In 2006, she organized a collaborative Poetry and Art Exhibition titled "Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Women" aimed at raising awareness of the violence faced by women locally and globally. Dr. Armacanqui-Tipacti is currently organizing the North Central Council of Latin Americanists (NCCLA) interdisciplinary conference that will be held on campus September 27-28. She has won a previous UW-System Outstanding Women of Color Award in 2006. These are just some of the many events Dr. Elia J. Armacanqui-Tipacti has organized and participated in with the aim of promoting communities, cultures, and lives of women of color.
Dr. Elia J. Armacanqui-Tipacti we honor you.
Through thoughtful and consistent efforts, Dr. Maleka “Polly” Hashmi has implemented a wide array of high-impact diversity and advocacy-focused initiatives that focus specifically on women at UW-Stout and across the community. She recently obtained a $25,000 grant, Service Learning STEMS into Community Action, funded by the Learn and Serve America Program, to establish a student-run health clinic to serve uninsured and underinsured populations in Dunn County.
She has also established a Student-run Health Clinic at Stepping Stones Food Pantry. Dr. Hashmi’s clinic has been featured numerous times in both press and national radio. Diversity and multi-cultural awareness have now been incorporated into the training sessions for students before they embark on their service within the clinic.
Polly participated in a year-long (2011-2012) Diversity Across the Curriculum Institute and implemented student projects into a physiology class that investigated the attitudes of different racial cultures on health and disease and their approaches to dealing with disease processes. Students researched and presented on topics with a particular emphasis on the women of the culture.
She conducted a food security study within the community, and results of the study will empower women in the community to take charge of their diets and maximize nutritional benefit from the foods that they eat. She also investigated how universities can more effectively interact with underserved members of the community including women and minorities, with an emphasis on food security. This work is shared with the academic community in a recently published manuscript to the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development.
In addition, Dr. Hashmi facilitated the UW-Stout Mother and Academic Sharing Group (2011-2012). This Sharing Community allows mothers who are in academia to share their experiences and learn strategies to balance their demanding roles. She initiated a Maternity/Family leave resolution that offers families more equitable leave options when faced with issues surrounding adoption, birth, serious illness of children or parents and other immediate family. Her proposed changes are currently being considered at faculty senate.
She also established a Facebook website that invites fellow female colleagues to share their health and wellness fitness goals and strategies and create a supportive and encouraging environment for healthier living.
Dr. Hashmi’s passion for women’s concerns and welfare shine through in all her endeavors. For this we honor her.
Nathalie Crowley was involved in many leadership activities surrounding women and diversity activism in her college years. She served as President of the UW-Superior QASU group, Diversity Director for Student Government, and also served as a co-chair of the LGBT support group at St Cloud State University. Nathalie’s leadership in college was consistent, respectful, and created a depth of support for underrepresented students.
As an alumna, Nathalie has been a strong advocate for women of color. She spoke at the sexuality and race panel event at UW-Superior this past fall semester.
Nathalie’s advocacy for underrepresented populations has gone beyond the UW-Superior campus. Nathalie has worked hard in the community to improve the status and climate for women of color in the Twin Ports. She has worked with organizations and presented on numerous topics such as transgender health and equality, sexual assault, homelessness, access to education, discrimination, and basic human rights such as access to quality foods. Nathalie is a co-founder and facilitator of the Lake Superior Transgender Group. This group provides support, advocacy, and education to not only transgendered people, but their families as well. Nathalie also does numerous community speaking engagements with organizations such as the Duluth Women’s Center and the local LGBTQIA group, Together for Youth.
Nathalie Crowley, for your work on and off campus, we honor you.
Dr. Heather Kim joined the University of Wisconsin System in 2010 with 20 years of experience in higher education research and administration. As Associate Vice President for Policy Analysis and Research and a member of the President’s Cabinet, she provides leadership and analytic expertise on policy issues to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, UW System Administration, and UW System institutions.
Previously, Dr. Kim was Director of Institutional Research at Dartmouth College, where she coordinated the institution's reaccreditation efforts as Accreditation Liaison Officer to the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), served as Dartmouth's Assembly Representative to the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE), and was a member of the President's Executive Council.
Dr. Kim has served on committees for a number of professional organizations, including the Association for Institutional Research (AIR), Ivy League Institutional Research Group, North East Association for Institutional Research (NEAIR), and COFHE. She has authored a number of policy reports and research publications on significant issues in American higher education, including access, diversity, and educational attainment. She has served as an external evaluator for the decennial reaccreditation of higher education institutions and has received professional recognition and awards on a number of occasions. She serves on the National Student Clearninghouse (NSC) Board of Directors and the Advisory Committee on the National Association of System Heads (NASH) study of system roles in institutional research, funded by the Bill & Melina Gates Foundation.
Dr. Kim earned her Doctorate in Higher Education Administration and Policy, with a minor in Statistics from North Carolina State University and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in the Educational Policy Research Division at the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
Heather Kim we honor you.
Dr. Christina Outlay is an Assistant Professor of Information Technology at UW-Whitewater. Christina has been a leader in education, outreach, mentoring, and research and has made multiple contributions in the areas of diversity and women's studies.
Women have historically have been underrepresented in Christina’s field of Information Technology. Less than 12% of technology related degrees were awarded to women in 2010-2011. Christina has been deeply involved in CyberGirlz, which are workshops and summer camps that engage middle school aged girls in fun activities which introduce topics ranging from programming to web design.
Gender stereotyping in the Information Technology field is a significant issue for female students. Christina has taken the data and lessons learned from CyberGirlz and has published them in a peer-reviewed journal.
Christina started a chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery at UW-Whitewater focusing on Women in Computing. She put in tremendous effort to initiate, plan, recruit, schedule, and manage this student organization. Enrollment of women in UW-Whitewater’s Information Technology degrees has increased over 60% since she started the student organization.
Christina presently serves on the Board of a charter school in Chicago that emphasizes math, science, and technology. The charter school is unique as it is the only all-girls public school in Chicago. The Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago enrolls nearly 350 urban girls in grades 7-12 and prepares them with the tools to graduate high school, continue through post-secondary education, and go on to lead fulfilling and productive lives.
Christina is also a leader in education. She has been a champion of the LEAP (Liberal Education, America’s Promise) initiative for her department at UW-Whitewater, incorporating multiple High Impact Practices (HIPs) in her classroom. HIPs are teaching and learning practices that have been widely tested and have been shown to be beneficial for college students from many backgrounds. Christina has published her work on HIPs in peer-reviewed conference proceedings and has participated in multiple panel sessions tapping into her expertise on this topic.
We honor Dr. Christina Outlay for all her contributions to education.
Congratulations to the 2012 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award Recipients!
Click a recipient's name below to read their bio
Susana Hernandez and Sara Juarez-Koch, jointly receive the UW-Colleges recognition for their team efforts, working together to advocate for students of color and those with socio-economic barriers.
Susana Hernandez is the Coordinator of the Project AHEAD (Adult Higher Education and Development) Program. This is one of the most complex positions on campus. In addition to working with students who have barriers achieving educational success, she also introduces many first generation and multicultural students to the 'culture' of higher education. Susana also co-advises the Multicultural Student Union and is a member of the Rock County Latino Coalition.
Sara Juarez-Koch has been a Student Services Coordinator since 2005. Her duties have included academic advising for traditional aged students, as well as club co-advisor for the Multicultural Student Union and Student Government. Sara has also initiated and written grants for multicultural programming and developed a campus wide multicultural art project.
In 2011-2012 Sara and Susana have worked together to create the UW-Rock County Multicultural Student Center with the aim of providing a more inclusive environment for students and staff.
The UW-Rock County Multicultural Student Center opened in April 2012, and community organizations have been invited to use the Center to increase awareness. Susana and Sara plan to hold advising sessions there. In addition, an ELL tutor has been hired. Their vision has always held that it is the UW-Rock County students who will define how the space is ultimately used. The Multicultural Student Union has begun meeting in the Center and planning usage for fall 2012.
Susana and Sara are true advocates for all students. It is a part of their way of being in the world. They believe all students can be successful while being acutely aware that each student may need different resources to meet their educational aspirations. The ability to understand students, the need for differentiation, meeting students where they are in their learning, and creating an inclusive environment is not an easy or quick task. But both of them are willing to take the time to do it right because 'they get it.' Individually and together they inspire each and every one of their colleagues to ask the hard questions, persevere, and advocate on behalf of students.
Sara Juarez-Koch and Susan Hernandez, we honor you.
Kim Wellnitz is an Academic Adviser in Advising & New Student Initiatives at UW – Eau Claire. Kim Wellnitz has engaged in community service that directly impacts women and diversity initiatives on campus and in the community. On campus Kim uses her position as an Academic Adviser at the university to provide a strong support system for her advisees, students connected with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Blugold Beginnings program, the Commanding English program, and international students. Through formal and informal channels, Kim serves as a valuable mentor to a wide variety of students and colleagues across campus. She often connects with and assists new, female academic professional staff hired at the university become acclimated to UWEC. Kim is also actively engaged in many interdepartmental projects, including orientation for new students, creating workshops for students and serving on committees. Bridging her role as an AAUW advocate and student advisor, she presented a workshop on the importance of salary negotiation to women in particular, sharing with the students the latest research findings on newly hired college students. This effort was to highlight pay inequity for women as well as to prepare soon to be college graduates to negotiate competitive salaries. Her involvement across many aspects of campus helps her to bring people together and serve students better.
In the larger community Kim has served as board member on both the state and local branches of AAUW, an organization that breaks through barriers for women and girls. In advancing the goal of equity for women and girls, Kim has particularly championed the educational arm of AAUW. She has supported the local AAUW scholarship program by both chairing fundraising projects and facilitating the recipient selection process, while making sure that diversity and inclusivity are key considerations of the scholarship committee. At the state level, she is the VP of Fund Development, encouraging Wisconsin branches and coordinating state board convention activities to raise funds that go to both educational opportunities for women, as well as to research and legal support for women and girls facing discrimination or harassment. Kim has tried to represent younger and diverse professionals towards a more inclusive voice for AAUW.
Kim Wellinitz is influencing her community for the better on an off campus. We honor her.
Annie Jones is Special Assistant to the Dean for Strategic Directions in the Department of Community Resource Development for the University of Wisconsin-Extension. 'Inclusion' was Annie Jones' mantra long before higher education created Inclusive Excellence initiatives. Her holistic worldview coupled with her facilitation expertise and her respect for the contributions of personnel at all levels of the institution, define her organizational development leadership in Cooperative Extension.
Jones has provided leadership for the Cooperative Extension strategic planning and implementation effort since 2006, codified last year in the title Special Assistant to the Dean for Strategic Directions. Drawing on her own Wisconsin Menominee heritage and tribal affiliation she has suggested the medicine wheel as an appropriate graphic depiction for Cooperative Extension's strategic planning that communicates the concepts and the spirit of its four guiding directions: to teach, learn, lead and serve.
Formerly Annie served as community development educator in the Kenosha County Extension Office, a position she held for 12 years. Leadership Kenosha and the United Way of Kenosha County are two organizations that benefited from Annie's inclusive approach to community development.
Annie's friend and colleague, alderperson Katherine Marks, described how Annie's work helped to transform a distressed group of Kenosha neighborhood residents, consisting mostly of African American women, into a powerful force that are improved the quality of life for themselves and their neighbors. Annie's mentoring additionally contributed to two women from the neighborhood running for and being elected as county supervisors. Katherine explains, "With Annie's help, we were all part of the process that changed major human conditions in our neighborhood. We had a voice and Annie helped us develop that voice."
Annie Jones makes a difference to everyone she meets. She is known and respected for her authentic style, her high regard for the power of inclusion in her community and organizational endeavors, and her respect for everyone with whom she engages. Her colleagues celebrate Annie's ability to bring people into the processes of building organizations and communities, recognizing that part of her success is that she cares deeply about every relationship she builds. They know Annie Jones believes, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." Annie Jones, we honor you.
Heba Mohammad is a sophomore student at UWGB who has successfully balanced her academics (cumulative GPA of 3.92/4.0) with her committed to faith, family and advocacy work. She models student engagement and is known for her continuous mentorship of sister students. Heba is working hard to change the status and climate for women of color at UW-Green Bay. She is creating positive changes through her ability to rally diverse forces to advance cultural diversity.
Heba is described as "an excellent listener and responsible leader." Her leadership skills and contributions as a teaching assistant are evidenced in Assistant Professor of Public and Environmental Katia Levintova's testimonial: "When I think about a student who exemplifies being a positive role model for her peers (and I would say her professors too), Heba immediately comes to mind. She is currently serving as a teaching assistant in Global Politics and Society class where we, as a learning community, try to understand diversity of experiences and achieve cultural empathy... The fact that we have a very welcoming and open atmosphere in class, an atmosphere in which students are not afraid to discuss and debate complex global issues, is thanks, in large part, to Heba's presence and her encouragement of students. In short, our university community and political science program in particular are richer and better because of Heba!"
Heba was a key participant in the development of the LGBTQ Center, and has been one of the strongest student advocates of the implementation of childcare on the UWGB campus. She has led the way with gathering data from students, faculty and staff via surveys and open forums, also drawing on data in the Campus Climate Survey to argue for the proposal.
Heba's campus involvement extends to efforts in student government, residence life, the classroom, and student organizations. She is currently working with other students to establish a Muslim Student Association to promote the sisterhood and brotherhood of Muslim students. A member of the Student Government Executive Board working on Inclusive Excellence initiatives, she is also the Secretary for Equality and Diversity. In addition Heba served on a committee that is planning for a new "Outdoor Multipurpose Space on campus". This project is focused upon building community, student satisfaction and student engagement.
Heba Mohammad has done an outstanding job in bringing minority-based programming to the university. For this and much more, Heba Mohammad, we honor you.
Lalita Pandit Hogan is a Professor of English and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Dr. Hogan's research focuses on Indian literature and cinema, Shakespeare, cognitive theories of literature and cinema, and Lacanian theory. As she puts it, her research often focuses on women's issues "not by explicit design but by instinct and sympathy." Much of her research also focuses on the contributions of non-European cultures to theories of literature and narrative.
Lalita's is an internationally respected scholar, with her work published in the field's top presses and highly respected journals. She regularly presents at conferences around the globe. And, her research directly informs her teaching. In her early years at UW-L, Lalita taught the department's Women Authors course as well as a course on Global Women Authors, included in the Women's Studies (now WGSS) minor, as well as the course that is now titled Postcolonial Anglophone Literature. She still teaches courses every semester in Shakespeare, which are directly related to her research and which draw extensively from critical gender and multicultural perspectives, as well as courses on Critical Theory, College Writing, and International Literature.
Lalita is the only English Department member in recent memory to have been awarded Extraordinary Merit twice. The sheer number of her achievements is noteworthy, but their breadth is equally staggering; alongside her scholarly output, she publishes poetry and stories—in English and in Hindi. Her active research program also enhances her capacity as mentor to students pursuing undergraduate research projects. She has been particularly active in mentoring students, four out of five of whom are women, in undergraduate research projects and informally nurtures many students on their paths to graduate school.
Also unselfish in doing her part for faculty service, she serves regularly on promotion, post-tenure review, and search & screen committees as well as on the Literature Committee as well as many college, university, and interdisciplinary program committees, and including two years as Faculty Advisor to the South Asia Student Organization.
Lalita mentors women at all levels of academia—faculty, staff, and student. UW-L, the UW System, and indeed the international circle of scholars, teachers, and students with whom she regularly interacts have all benefited enormously from her expertise and mentoring. Her selection as a UW System Outstanding Woman of Color in Education Honoree is well earned. Lalita Pandit Hogan, we honor you.
Tonya Lynn Brito joined the UW-Madison Law School in 1997 as Assistant Professor, and upon her arrival quickly established herself as an active participant and engaged community builder on campus and around Wisconsin. Fully embodying the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea, Professor Brito's contributions extend beyond the borders of state through her outstanding contributions to social justice, community service, scholarly research and writing on issues of race and poverty in the United States. A senior Law School colleague describes Professor Brito's academic scholarship, community service and advocacy efforts as "synergistically joined in pursuit of social justice for disadvantaged communities." Even as a law student, Tonya's unwavering commitment to social justice was obvious in her work with the student-run non-profit Harvard Legal Aid Bureau; as a student attorney and under the supervision of practicing public interest lawyers, Tonya represented low-income clients in family law, benefits, and landlord-tenant cases.
Gaining experience and recognition through her legal scholarship, Professor Brito realized that "a successful social justice agenda necessitates a multi-faceted strategy to dismantle the broader socio-economic and structural barriers that impede the lives of poor families." Therefore, she sees her academic career in the law as a unique opportunity to advance social justice by utilizing a researcher's tools to investigate socially relevant legal issues and allow for generating and disseminating empirically-grounded proposals for change that will potentially influence policy development. Professor Brito's scholarship in the family law area has been informed by her considerable and tireless community service efforts on behalf of disadvantaged families and children. In a series of articles, Professor Brito has interrogated race, gender and class issues in family law: The Welfarization of Family Law; From Madonna to Proletariat: Constructing a New Ideology of Motherhood in Welfare Discourse,(her persuasive argument to abandon the charged rhetoric of the welfare debate where poor mothers of color are referred to as lazy, cheats, and "welfare queens" in favor of constructing a new ideology of motherhood in policy discourse to counter the negative race-based and gender-based assumptions underlying punitive welfare policymaking); Spousal Support Meets the Mommy Track: Why the ALI Proposal is Good for Working Wives; and Professor Brito's most recent article in this scholarly arc, Fathers Behind Bars: Rethinking Child Support Policy toward Low-Income Fathers and their Families.
Most recently, Professor Brito's work on behalf of poor families involved pro bono advocacy before the United States Supreme Court. In January 2011, Professor Brito drafted an amicus brief in the case of Turner v. Rogers. Petitioner Michael Turner, who is indigent, was incarcerated for 12 months after a South Carolina family court judge found him in civil contempt of an order to pay child support. Professor Brito's brief in the Turner litigation was a significant contribution to the case in that it, unlike the other amicus briefs, was centrally concerned with child support law's marginalization of low-income noncustodial parents, who are predominately poor fathers of color.
Within the Law School and the University, Professor Brito has been a critical institutional builder serving on several key committees, leading fundamental curricular reforms efforts, fostering an inclusive and supportive environment through mentoring junior faculty and Hastie Fellows, and pursuing a diverse faculty and student population. A quick glance at Professor Brito's CV reveals the depth and breadth of her service commitment to the Law School and the University. In just the past two years, she has served as a member of numerous committees, including: (1) Tenure and Promotions Committee, (2) Hastie Fellowship Committee, (3) Dean Review Committee, (4) UW's Law School Dean Search and Screen Committee, and (5) Executive Committee of the Institute for Research on Poverty. Recently, she was elected to serve on the Law School's Academic Planning Council, having earlier served on the APC from 2006-2010. In addition to taking on these formal committee assignments, Professor Brito also co-chaired the Law School's Task Force on Professional Skills Education, a major curricular initiative directed at improving the professional skills education that the Law School provides to its students.
Within the Law School, Professor Brito has worked hard to bring together the instructional faculty with expertise in family law to foster collaboration on curricular initiatives and related programming. This diverse group includes tenure track faculty, clinical faculty, faculty associates and lecturers. Presiding at the helm of this loosely formed group, Professor Brito took a leading role in designing a Family Law Concentration, to meet the needs of students eager for guidance in pursuing a coherent course of study to help make them more sophisticated and competitive in the market for new lawyers.
In the area of family law and policy, Professor Brito has been instrumental in building an inclusive community of scholars on the UW-Madison campus. Significantly, she was key in leading a multidisciplinary group of UW-Madison faculty to collaborate on and submit a proposal in the area of Family Policy and Law in the 5th round of the UW-Madison's Cluster Hire Initiative. The Family Policy and Law proposal was selected and funded in May 2002 and three faculty positions were awarded to the cluster; however, UW later postponed funding and implementation of the cluster due to budget constraints. Even though the funding was put on hold, the Family Law and Policy faculty collective decided to move forward with some of the programming that they had proposed as part of the cluster proposal.
Finally, Professor Brito has also embraced opportunities to foster an inclusive and supportive environment at the Law School. She has accomplished this goal through mentoring junior faculty and Hastie Fellows, and taking steps to pursue a diverse faculty and student population. From the very beginning, Professor Brito has informally mentored many of the Hastie Fellows, welcoming them into the law school community and providing advice and moral support throughout their fellowship period and beyond. This nomination package includes letters of support from two former Hastie Fellows, Professors Mario Barnes and Osamudia James (both now tenured members of their respective law faculties), who describe in rich detail and with sincere gratitude the mentoring they received from Professor Brito during their two years at UW. Professor James writes that upon arriving at UW,
Professor Brito... immediately reached out, welcoming me to the Law School and offering to help in any way she could. Over the next two years, Professor Brito provided me with support and mentoring on both a personal and professional level. She was a willing reader of my scholarship, provided feedback as I created a scholarly agenda and cultivated an academic identity, recommended me for media appearances relevant to my work, and helped groom me for success on the entry-level law teaching market Personally, she welcomed me into her home, treating me as an equal and colleague, and candidly addressing questions and concerns I had about academic life and the unique obstacles that women of color encounter as they manage their professional and personal obligations.
In his letter of support, Professor Barnes conveys the invaluable mentoring he received from Professor Brito, and relates how he learned of her mentoring of several Hastie Fellows that succeeded him in the program. He writes:
Any act of mentoring is a selfless gift. When it routinely results in such positive results for mentees, it can only be considered an unexpected treasure.... Her only expectation of those who consistently receive her help is that they help others. This pay-it-forward approach clearly works; the time and attention I give to junior scholars is extended, in part, to honor the kindness Professor Brito extended to me.
As co-chair of the Law School's Faculty Appointments Committee during the 2005-2006 academic year, Professor Brito demonstrated her unfailing commitment to community building and the promotion of faculty diversity. During this period, the Law School conducted a nationwide search for candidates. The work of the Appointments Committee that year culminated in the successful recruitment of four promising entry level hires, one to fill an area of critical curricular and scholarly need, two to fill vacancies in the Legal Studies Cluster, and the fourth a spousal hire [coupled with the retention of a highly valued member of the faculty who was being recruited by a competing law school). Significantly, all four new hires were women and each contributed to the racial and ethnic diversity of the faculty. Professor Brito continues to serve as an informal mentor to several of the faculty hired during that season. In their five years on the faculty, each of the women hired that year has developed into productive scholars and valuable members of the law school community.
Jacquelynn Dawn Arbuckle is a Clinical Associate Professor and MD in Surgery, in the School of Medicine & Public Health, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Dr. Jacquelynn Arbuckle, Ojibwe of the St. Croix Reservation, is one of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's great success stories. Now serving as Staff General Surgeon and Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery in the School of Medicine and Public Health, Jackie entered the university undergraduate program as both a Chancellor's Scholar and a Medical Scholar. The Medical Scholarship guaranteed her acceptance to the University of Wisconsin Medical School, to which she returned after completing her surgical residency at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts. Through her work at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, as well as Meriter Hospital in Madison Wisconsin, Dr. Arbuckle has made outstanding contributions by implementing diversity initiatives at the institutional level and by serving as a mentor and role model for minorities, women, and women of color.
Dr. Arbuckle serves on the Equity and Diversity Committee in the School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH), a position in which she is able proactively to implement diversity initiatives at the university. Serving on the SMPH Admissions Committee, her focus is to attract students of diversity to the school. Therefore, her work with Medical School Dean Robert Golden on developing the Native American Health Office as part of the Collaborative Center for Health Equity is designed to address health disparities in part by attracting Native American students and encouraging them to apply to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
Dr. Arbuckle continues to be substantially involved in the Native American community. She served as the keynote speaker for both the UW American Indian Health Sciences Day sponsored by the School of Medicine and Public Health and the Native American Research Center for Health at the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council. Sharing her story at this event, she introduced pre-college American Indian students from Wisconsin to the health professions. To further inform Native American students of the opportunity to attend the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Dr. Arbuckle plans to connect with high school students through their tribal registries, an inventory of Native American tribal membership. She envisions an internship or short-course to expose these students to opportunities at the UW.
As a former Chancellor's Scholar, Dr. Arbuckle remains committed and involved in this program to support talented undergraduate students from historically under-represented and/or disadvantaged backgrounds. Serving as a mentor and a role model, Dr. Arbuckle draws on her own experience to connect with the young scholars. It was the important thread of love, family and commitment that guided her decision to become a surgeon—as a young girl of 13 years, her resolve to pursue a career in surgery was cemented by her brother's struggle with cystic fibrosis and the constant discourse of his looming death. Now a surgeon, she has woven her personal story—as a young sister fighting for her brother's double lung transplant—into her professional approach. This empathy and advocacy is apparent in her treatment of patients and in her training of medical students and residents.
In her work with surgical residents and medical students in general surgery, Dr. Arbuckle is an instructor for the Patient, Doctor, Society course and a Year End Professional Skills Assessment instructor. She incorporates teaching into her practice by creating teachable moments in Grand Rounds, the skills lab, and the operating room. Dr. Arbuckle is active in the Department of Surgery's Women and Surgery Club as advisor, mentor, and supportive presence to current and future female surgeons. A former resident commended Dr. Arbuckle as "one of the best... a fantastic mentor for women surgeons." As a Native American woman in surgery, Dr. Arbuckle is an exceptional asset to the School of Medicine and Public Health, the University, and the wider Madison community.
Kimberly M. Blaeser is a Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her work as a Native American writer, teacher, activist, and mentor has earned her an international reputation. She is recognized on the UWM campus, in the Milwaukee community, and statewide as a key player in advocating on the behalf of and establishing venues for the Native Literary arts. Her community service also includes writer or artist residencies which allow her to mentor young writers, teachers, or Indigenous scholars.
Nationally, her service extends to literary boards including the IndianLives series at the University of Nebraska Press and the Michigan State University Press Native American series, and includes work for organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts and service as officer or board member for organizations like the Sequoyah Research Center and Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers.
Blaeser's international accomplishments include travel on behalf of the U.S. State Department to provide arts programming and network building in countries such as Norway, Indonesia, and the Kingdom of Bahrain. She has participated in readings, conferences, and lecture tours in more than 150 venues throughout Europe, Asia, Canada, and the United States. Among her popular presentations and publications are several focusing specifically on Native Women. For example, "Ogichidaakwe: Literary Models of Indigenous Feminism," is a lecture invited for delivery at various institutions in Taiwan and Canada. Blaeser's publications include three books of poetry: Trailing You, winner of the first book award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas, Absentee Indians, and Apprenticed to Justice. Her scholarly study, Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition, was the first native-authored book-length study of an Indigenous author.
Anishinaabe and enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe who grew up on the White Earth Reservation, Blaeser is also the editor of Stories Migrating Home: A Collection of Anishinaabe Prose and Traces in Blood, Bone, and Stone: Contemporary Ojibwe Poetry. Her own poetry, short fiction, and personal essays have been widely anthologized. In both creative and critical work, Blaeser is attentive to family and community stories, to historical truth, and to justice issues and empowerment. Joy Harjo has called her poems, "small sure lights in the darkness— poems to lead us home." Among her popular poems,"Fantasies of Women" works to undercut stereotypes and stresses the power of women in working for justice and the survival of the underprivileged. It has been selected for reprint various times including in the recent Fire and Ink: An Anthology of Social Action Writing. Blaeser's work has also been translated into various languages including Spanish, French, Norwegian, and Indonesian. This particular poem was not only translated into Indonesian, but became the inspiration for a work of art by Indonesian artist Laksmi Shitaresmi which was later included in the exhibit Force Majeure.
At UW-Milwaukee, Blaeser's contributions involve an array of activities from foundational work in establishing Native Literary Studies to the initiation and faculty mentoring of a multi-cultural writers' group, The Word Warriors. Blaeser is the faculty member who established the first graduate and undergraduate courses in Native American Literature in the College of Letters and Science, including "Native Literature: The Women's Voice," which enrolls students from English, Indian Studies, and Women's Studies. Members of the writing group for which she served as faculty advisor have subsequently gone on to earn advance degrees, publish creative and scholarly work, and institute their own mentoring initiatives. Her campus work also includes the planning and implementation of conferences and other events, including one focused on "Writing from Native Communities."
She has been the recipient of many grants and awards, among these a Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowship in Poetry and a Writer of the Year Award from Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers. Her poem "Living History" was selected for installation in the Midwest Express Building in Milwaukee, one of her talks was chosen by Writers' Conferences and Festivals for inclusion in the organization's anthology of best lectures.
Kimberly M. Blaeser, we honor you.
Angela Lang is Student Association President at the University of Wisconsin –Milwaukee. Since 2008 Angela has worked tirelessly to make the UWM campus and student body more aware of the issues facing women and students of color on campus. Angela has evolved from a student passionate about equality, multicultural awareness, and campus climate into a skilled activist (still passionate) who has made a real difference in the lives of others on these issues.
Angela was a founding member of the UWM American Civil Liberties Student Alliance in 2008. Through this organization Angela taught student leaders how to be grassroots organizers and she educated many from disenfranchised populations about voter rights. Angela is the sort of activist who you can depend on to deliver a great keynote speech, like she did at a national ACLU student conference, and still be willing to volunteer to be a poll monitor on election day. At UWM Angela also led a group of students in an organization called Students Equalizing Rights Forever, which worked on issues of racial, gender, and sexual orientation equality.
On a national level Angela serves as the Vice Chair of the Women's Issues Caucus for the United States Student Association, our country's largest and oldest national student rights organization. Angela supports women's programming on campus; she is a part of the Vagina Monologues, performing during the March 2011 and this coming March 2012 performances. This past summer Angela was hired by the Office of Student Life at UW-Milwaukee to help lay the foundation for the opening of a new Inclusive Excellence Center at UWM. The center will advance creating a better campus climate for non-majority populations through advocacy, programming, and mentorship. Angela's played a key role in securing the funding for the new center, and she has effectively worked to build a coalition of supporters.
Angela is best known on campus as a Student Association leader. She has worked tirelessly on registering people to vote in a voter registration campaign, doing door-knocking through the residence halls, tabling in the student union, and being a point of contact for information distribution. Her work in the Student Association has also resulted in the establishment of the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion at UWM, and she has played a leading role in organizing the Building Unity Conference for students from across the UW System. Angela is serving as the Student Association President, after serving as the Vice-President during the 2010-11 school year. We are confident Angela will continue making a difference in the lives of others throughout her life. Angela Lang, we honor you.
Rocío Cortés is an Associate Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures at UW-Oshkosh. Dr. Rocío Cortés is an Associate Professor in Spanish American Literature. She earned her B.A and M.A in Spanish Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as her PH.D in Colonial Spanish Literature and minor in History. Her research and theoretical methodology approaches narratives by ethnically diverse intellectuals during colonial times as cultural texts. She inquires into the processes of meaning making and representation in those textual productions, informed by colonial policies throughout the colonial period.
Dr. Cortés' important mission as a scholar is to give students the best quality of higher education, from language acquisition to critical thinking, Rocío Cortés focuses on issues of race, ethnicity, diversity and gender. She has published a book edition on a native writer of sixteenth-century New Spain and several articles on Indigenous writers in prestigious journals such as the Colonial Latin American Review and MLN. She received the Minority Faculty Research Award by the Institute on Race and Ethnicity at UW-Milwaukee and she has lead UWO students to study abroad in Cuernavaca and Guanajuato, Mexico.
In addition, Rocío Cortés is a mentor to students. In spring 2008, Dr. Cortés organized a volunteer program for five weeks with six UWO students with Education and Spanish majors. The students and Rocío Cortés worked together in designing course syllabus, lesson plans, and activities to teach Spanish to one hundred and twenty K-5 graders at Carl Traeger Elementary School. While the students did all the teaching, Dr. Cortés supervised each of the six classes from the beginning of the program to the end.
Rocío is currently implementing what she has learned in the Winnebago Sustainability Project and the Gateway Initiative workshops into courses that she is teaching this semester. She has revamped Spanish 301 (Advanced Composition and Conversation I) to include compositions and topics of conversation that are about diversity. For the Winnebago Sustainability Project, she designed a brand new course entitled "Sustainable Development Discourses in Colonial Latin America" which also includes indigenous texts from Latin America and an interview with a Native American from Winnebago County among many other subjects.
Dr. Rocío Cortés is currently a member of the Program Review Committee, Technological Committee, Council for Equity and Affirmative Action, chair of the Study Abroad Committee, and Social Committee at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. For this and so much more, Rocío Cortés, we honor you.
Mary Xiong is the Coordinator of Retention Programs and an Advisor for the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Mary has championed diversity, inclusion, and women's issues while assisting first-generation, low-income, and students of color to succeed in college since her arrival at UW-Parkside in 2004. Her colleagues and students attest to her comprehensive understanding of social justice issues, and to her passion for serving others. Mary Xiong has particularly distinguished herself in her advocacy to improve the campus status and climate for women, especially women of color. She is known for bringing excellence to everything she does.
At the UW-Parkside May has been involved in a number of activities and she has held key leadership roles in most of them. Whether co-hosting a recognition ceremony for students earning the Professional Career Development Certificate, assisting with Summer Enrichment Programs, promoting Women's Heritage Month or Asian Heritage Month, or the Dr. Martine Luther King Jr. Celebration, or the Taking Care of Business Banquet, Mary's leadership as assured success. In addition to her Office of Multicultural Student Affairs duties, Mary has filled in when needed with staffing the Upward Bound and New Student Orientation. Her work with the Equity Scorecard Committee, the Advisory Board for PEACE Academy, and the Ranger Link Planning Committee have been equally appreciated. Ranger-Link is an externship-job shadowing program aimed at cultivating relationships between UW-Parkside first-generation and students of color and large companies, local small businesses, and non-profit organizations.
Beyond the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs Mary works with other University offices to provide such services as translating documents or interpreting UW-P informational videos into Hmong language for campus recruiting efforts. For this and so much more, Mary Xiong, we honor you.
Rosalyn Broussard is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Rosalyn has been an outstanding advocate for women of color on campus since she joined the faculty in1997. Her advocacy takes place both inside the classroom and out. Dr. Broussard received this award once before, more than ten years ago, soon after she arrived at UW-Platteville, and she has been nominated many times since because of her consistent and dedicated work for positive change on campus.
In 2011 as part of the UW-Platteville Criminal Justice in Education Task Force, Dr. Broussard was part of the planning committee for the UW-Platteville Midwest Culturally Inclusive Conference and presented her research "Hurricane Katrina: Building Communities and Reducing Poverty" both at that conference and in New Orleans. As a New Orleans native whose family property was among the many homes devastated by Katrina, Dr. Broussard has talked often to her classes and presented to student groups on this subject.
As a political science professor who teaches about the political economy of race, gender and class, Dr. Broussard has lent her expertise to many of the charged discussions over this last year about the impact of the Budget Repair Bill on the State of Wisconsin. As we know, discussing such subjects in an informed way—by providing scholarly evidence rather than political rhetoric—can be difficult when many of those involved in the discussion have heated opinions and emotions running high. Rosalyn Broussard is an expert at facilitating such discussion and making them productive. Her colleagues "marveled for years at her ability to navigate emotionally explosive situations and find in them powerful teaching moments. " Where others resort to anger or denial, Dr. Broussard shares evidence clearly, and accurately corrects misuse of social welfare policy and reminds participants of the real people effected by policy and change.
Perhaps because of this, the Students for Peace and Justice asked Dr. Broussard to give a presentation on "The Budget Repair Bill: What it Means for Wisconsin?" She was also part of the "Speak Out Against Racism" panel sponsored by Black Student Union after several graffiti incidents occurred on campus, and spoke at the related Anti-Lynching Forum sponsored by Students for Peace and Justice and as part of the "Islamophobia?" panel organized by the department of social sciences. To observers the greatest teaching moment at the anti-lynching forum was when Rosalyn Broussard told first-hand stories of what her family had experienced in segregated Louisiana. At her descriptions the room went silent as Platteville students connected this "history" they consider part of the distant past to a person they know and respect in the present. Rosalyn Boussard remains a change agent for UW-Platteville and Wisconsin. For this and more, we honor her.
Grace is a fourth-year Psychology major with a minor in Biology at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, a McNair Scholar, former President of the Black Student Union for two years, a member of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, SURSCA (Society for Undergraduate Research Scholarly and Creative Activity, SURSCA( Grant Review Committee), Psychology Club, and the Diversity Organizations Coalition, and a student representative on the Faculty Senate Diversity and Inclusivity Committee.
Grace expressed an early interest in research and intensive study, and during her sophomore year she began to learn research techniques in biology under the supervision of Dr. Karen Klyczek. In the Spring Semester of 2010, Grace completed a small laboratory research project examining bacteria and viruses. As a McNair Scholar, involvement in undergraduate research is essential to the preparation for doctoral study. She spent the summer at the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University, studying gender inequities in higher education in Ghana. As part of her research experience, she and was a delegate at the Economic Youth Forum in Ghana, West Africa this summer. She is currently working with Dr. Cyndi Kernahan on a survey examining UWRF student attitudes and experiences concerning race. Grace plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Community and Ecological Psychology. Her research interests are intimate partner violence, women and sexual abuse, impacts of physical, sexual and psychological abuse on children and adolescents, and the effects of HIV-AIDS on women and children. Currently, Adofoli, is conducting research with Dr. Ullman at the University of Illinois- Chicago, in the Criminology, Law, & Justice department through the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP). Her research is an exploratory study of African American women sexual assault survivors: religious beliefs, religious coping, interpersonal trauma, contextual trauma, and life satisfaction in relation to alcohol use. This project is also been worked on for publication.
In addition to her academic pursuits, Grace is well known throughout the UW-River Falls campus by students, faculty, and staff. She has been a consistent, steadfast and visible leader to her peers. Grace has been a volunteer at St. John's Hospital (Cancer Floor), a participant in the annual Relay for Life, Feed My Starving Children, a youth leader at Redeeming Love Church, and Falcon Fellows Service Leadership Program(AmeriCorps) through Student Support Services. She has represented students through multiple meetings with visiting regents and senators, and the White house Youth Roundtable representative on campus. Grace has been instrumental in collaborating with Student Life on events such as the Relay for Life concert, Origami fundraiser for Japan Relief, Black History Month, and the UW-River Falls Destination–Spring Break Service.
Recently, Grace was just awarded the Chancellor award, the highest institutional awards offered by the university for students.
Grace also spends a lot of time mentoring and talking to fellow students on campus. Her passion to see retention and success, particularly in people of color, has led to advocate for these student in different ways. She also strongly involved in her church work and has helped create a Black Student Bible study. Her passion for equity, equality and change has led Grace on a continuous journey of discovery throughout her college career.
Maysee Yang-Herr is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, Maysee supervises elementary student teachers and co-advises the UWSP chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society. She completed her dissertation on the topic of how young children understand and discuss social issues in the classroom. Prior to teaching at UWSP, Maysee was an elementary teacher in the Indianapolis Public School District.
Since joining the UW-Stevens Point faculty in 2008, Maysee has worked with others on campus to create diversity opportunities to campus. She is known by her colleagues to be a strong student advocate and effective collaborator with faculty and staff. She "walks the talk" in her diversity engagement by fearlessly including social justice and white privilege in her courses, while serving on various diversity committees on campus (e.g., Inclusive Excellence Leadership Team, the School of Education Responsive Pedagogy Committee, and Diversity Dialogue group.)
In 2010 and 2011, Maysee led student groups to attend the White Privilege Conference (WPC). Each time, she arranged for her students to share with both her own department and the campus the impact that attending a WPC conference had on the students' understanding and engagement with diversity. Maysee's ability to cultivate deeper understanding of an issue through discussion and reflection is one of her greatest strengths.
Maysee Yang-Herr's diversity experience lies in practice as well as research. She is often sought after for counsel, including on such topics as, how to structure a Freshman Year Seminar course on the intersection of diversity and leadership. In October 2011, Maysee was appointed by the Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs to serve on the Inclusive Excellence Leadership Team.
Maysee Yang-Herr is proud of her Hmong heritage. She has a commitment to contribute to the Asian community, and to bring her voice to the larger mainstream community in and beyond the University.
Houa Lee is an undergraduate student in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Houa has made outstanding contributions to her campus and community. A McNair Scholar, Houa has been an advocate for women on campus, demonstrating how to collaborate with the larger community to advance proactive change.
In the larger Menomonee community Houa Lee serves as an advocate for women at The Bridge to Hope Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Agency, particularly in the service of Hmong women. It was important to her that Hmong women who accessed the services at the agency were able to read documents and utilize prevention and awareness tools in their own language. She worked for several weeks translating the Power & Control Wheel from the Duluth Project into Hmong. Houa is disseminating this tool, and others she is translating, to other domestic violence and sexual assault agencies so that Hmong women feel empowered in their own language to use tools that can influence them interrupting cycles of violence in their relationships and also increase the probability of breaking the intergenerational cycles of violence as well.
At the 5th Annual UW-Stout Hmong New Year in 2011, Houa designed a booth featuring The Bridge to Hope. Houa Lee understands how important it is to do outreach to women in the Hmong community and show that it is "okay to ask for help". At the booth, she provided both English and Hmong versions of domestic violence and sexual assault awareness and prevention documents. Houa was not afraid to approach and talk to anyone who approached the booth, ranging from high school students to parents. Her overall message was consistently "it is okay to ask for help." She holds up the vision that all people deserve to live without violence in their lives.
Houa Lee has been involved in HSSO for the past 4 years and also has worked with Shades of Yellow (SOY), the first organized Hmong LGBTQ nonprofit that works to promote awareness and education of the Hmong LGBTQ community. Being President of HSSO last year, Houa collaborated with SOY for the 25th Annual Educational Hmong Conference that focused on taboos within the Hmong community. At the conference a Hmong transgendered individual was invited to share her story and identify cultural struggles. Houa Lee recognizes the need to talk about "the unspeakable" in order to be inclusive to all people and facilitate a safe and inclusive campus and community climate, and she works to create forums where those dialogs can take place.
Houa Lee is making the world a safer place for women. For this and more, we honor her.
Gail Trombley is an Anishinaabe woman and a student of Interdisciplinary Studies/Communicating Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. She lives in South Range and is a very active community member in Superior. She will graduate with honors as an undergraduate in the Spring 2012 and has applied to the graduate program in Communicating Arts, also at the University of Wisconsin Superior. Gail Trombley is a woman of uncommon integrity, strength of spirit, and possessed of a world-class sense of humor. She has overcome barriers both in her education and in her health, with grace and determination. Her personal experiences have informed and helped her in her community work.
Gail works in Superior, Wisconsin as a housing counselor and advocate helping clients in crises. She assisted in opening up the first homeless shelter in our area, Harbor House (http://www.harborhousecs.org/history). She often works with homeless women of color, or with those who are on the verge of homelessness. Over half of her clients are female. She works with tenants and landlords with fair housing rights and/or housing laws. Gail knows all of the various assistance programs in the community and helps her clients register for services, or serves as a referral as needed. She assists persons in crises any way she can-with their shelter, food, utilities, or even in tax preparation (she often helps clients to file their taxes for free). She advises clients in budget counseling and is a HUD certified foreclosure intervention counselor/specialist. In fact she is the only HUD certified counselor for the surrounding 16 counties in Wisconsin.
Gail Trombley strives to empower Native women, all women who are descendants of Native Tribes. She encourages them to stand up for themselves; to be counted; to empower them; to claim their birthrights; and, if they choose, to help teach them to walk in the Traditional ways, in the ways of their Ancestors. Gail states, "having a plastic card issued to us by the US Government does not define who we are; rather it is our spirits which define us. It IS our spirits that ultimately define who we are, who we will become."
Gail Trombley, we honor you.
Marijuana Sawyer-Clardy is Director, Future Teacher Program; Coordinator, Recruitment and Retention for the College of Education and Professional Studies for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. An alumnus of the university, having graduated with a bachelor's of science degree in education, she also holds a master's degree in higher education administration, and is currently working on a PhD in higher education leadership. A former school teacher, Mrs. Sawyer-Clardy has also served as an academic advisor in the University's Academic Advising and Exploration Center prior to accepting her current position. Marijuana Sawyer-Clardy's research, presentations, and campus involvement center on diversity and motivating students to achieve excellence. Recent presentation titles include such subject matter as: 'Perspectives on Pathways: Vehicle for Closing the Achievement Gap,' and, 'Make No Assumptions: Incorporating Cross Cultural Sensitivity Into Advising Diverse Student Populations'
Marijuana advised students and currently serves on the committee for the Pathway for Success Program, the 2011 Ann Lydecker Educational Diversity Award Recipient from the Wisconsin State Council on Affirmative Action (WSCAA) and Office of State Employment Relations (OSER). Although it is not a program for underrepresented students, Pathways for Success consists of diverse students, many of whom are females. The students work with her before they come to campus for their Plan It Purple Orientations. Since the program is relatively new, Ms. Sawyer-Clardy has had to deal with all of the normal complications of implementing a new program. Her ability to be focused, direct and work tireless on meaningful projects was shown to its best advantage when her student participants presented a very impressive program at the Campus Diversity Forum this year.
Marijuana Sawyer-Clardy also serves as the campus advisor to her sorority, Zeta Sigma Chi, whose members are from a multiple nationalities. She is also a mentor to high school students and to the students she serves in the Future Teacher Program. In addition Marijuana is a member of the Sexual Assault Survivors Assistance Team (SASA) and she is an ally to the LGBTQ campus community.
Sawyer-Clardy collaborates with colleagues across campus, and focuses on the overall success of the students at UW-Whitewater. Residence Life had the privilege of working with her throughout Boxes and Walls 2011. This is a highly interactive experience where participants experience a taste of what it is like to feel oppression throughout their daily life. In speaking with participants, as well as the other actors, the experience seemed to make the deepest difference when she was involved.
Marijuana Sawyer-Clardy is a strong individual who constantly seeks knowledge and understanding of complex concerns. She shares that passion with all of her students. She is truly an outstanding educator in all she does. For these things and more, we honor her.
Congratulations to the 2011 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award Recipients!
- Pa Vang, UW-Colleges
- Kazoua Moua, UW-Extension
- Maura Vazquez, UW-Green Bay
- Nikki Miller, UW-La Crosse
- Leslie Bow, UW-Madison
- Ana Martinez-Donate, UW-Madison
- M. Estrella Sotomayor, UW-Milwaukee
- Pamela Lassiter, UW-Oshkosh
- April Puryear, UW-Parkside
- Shenita Ray, UW-Platteville
- Nikki (Temi-Tayo) Shonoiki, UW-River Falls
- Lopamudra Basu, UW-Stout
- Kym Young, UW-Superior
- Aneneosa Okocha, UW-Whitewater
- Chris Navia, UW System Administration
- Debra K. S. Barker, UW-Eau Claire