MADISON, Wis.—The Universities of Wisconsin have announced the 13 recipients of the 2023 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award, an annual honor given to faculty, staff, students, or community members to recognize their achievements in advancing equity and inclusion for people of color within the Universities of Wisconsin as well as communities across the state.

This year is the 28th anniversary of the award through which more than 400 women of color have been recognized for their transformational work.

“The Universities of Wisconsin have a longstanding commitment to inclusion at our universities,” said Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman. “We are proud to honor these women of color whose achievements in advocacy and scholarship are transforming our campuses and communities to be more equitable and inclusive.”

Recipients will be formally recognized on November 9, 2023, in Madison at an awards ceremony and reception hosted by the UW System. The ceremony and reception will be held in conjunction with the Universities of Wisconsin presentation of the Dr. P.B. Poorman Awards for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ+ People.

The 2023 Outstanding Women of Color in Education honorees are:

  • Nga-Wing Anjela Wong, Professor, Department of Education for Equity and Justice, UW-Eau Claire
  • Crystal Lepscier (Wāqsepāēhketūkiw), Associate Lecturer and former First Nations Student Success Coordinator, UW-Green Bay
  • Michelle Satram Sylvester, Senior Equity Advisor and Recruiter, School of Education, UW-La Crosse
  • Maichou Lor, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, UW-Madison
  • Crystal D. Carter, Clinical Associate Professor/Field Liaison, Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, UW‑Milwaukee
  • Reneé Simpson, Academic Advisor, Undergraduate Advising Resource Center, UW Oshkosh
  • Madhumita (Mita) Banerjee, Associate Professor, Sociology Department, UW-Parkside
  • Carla Lee-Wages, Multicultural Student Advisor, Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, UW-Platteville
  • Youngmi Kim, Associate Professor, Agricultural Engineering and Engineering Technology, UW-River Falls
  • Pratima Gandhi, Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs and Chief Business Officer, UW-Stevens Point
  • Mai Khou Xiong, Executive Director of Student Inclusion and Belonging, Multicultural Student Services, UW‑Stout
  • Heaven Waasiikwe Fleming, Teacher education major, UW-Superior
  • Prajukti (juk) Bhattacharyya, Professor, Department of Geography, Geology, and Environmental Science, UW‑Whitewater

Each UW university was invited to select one woman to receive the award, which highlights each recipient’s contributions to improving the status and climate for women and people of color and to advancing the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

For more information about the award and past recipients, see

2023 Recipients

The Universities of Wisconsin serve more than 162,500 students. Awarding nearly 37,000 degrees annually, the universities are Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, putting graduates in position to increase their earning power, contribute to their communities, and make Wisconsin a better place to live. Nearly 90 percent of in-state Universities of Wisconsin graduates stay in the state five years after earning a degree. The universities provide a 23:1 return on state investment. The Universities of Wisconsin also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with groundbreaking research, new companies and patents, and boundless creative intellectual energy.

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Mark Pitsch Universities of Wisconsin (608) 265-3419