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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Nine recognized for key contributions to diversity

Nine people or groups received 2013 University Diversity Awards recognizing their significant contributions to the enhancement, support and furtherance of diversity on the Carolina campus and in the community.

The awards, sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, were to be presented during an April 16 reception at the Pleasants Family Assembly Room in Wilson Library.

Lisa Freeman, assistant director in the Department of Housing and Residential Education, co-founded the department’s Multicultural Competence Committee and created the Multicultural Advisor Program, which has now expanded to all 17 residential communities. Freeman received the staff award for her leadership in expanding the committee to include staff from the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and the LGBTQ Center. She has worked with the Tunnel of Oppression program, which now includes 250 resident advisors and Vice Chancellor Winston Crisp.

Paul Cuadros, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has taught APPLES courses that focus on issues of educational access, diversity and inclusion. He is on the Advisory Board and the Operational Board for the Scholar’s Latino Initiative (SLI), a three-year program for students from under-resourced North Carolina high schools that helps them develop an enthusiasm for higher education and prepare for college success. Cuadros initiated “SLI Academies” to broaden SLI’s impact and started a new virtual mentoring initiative for students.

Katie Savage, a junior psychology major, received the undergraduate student award for her work in founding Advocates for Carolina, an organization for students with disabilities. She spearheaded a campaign for disability awareness in a matter of months, despite challenges she encountered along the way. Her nominator cited the persistence, passion and love that allowed Savage to “move the University toward becoming more accessible for all students.”

Arianna Timko, a graduate student in rehabilitation counseling and psychology, was honored for her work in developing the “Beyond Bullying: How Bystanders Can Prevent Identity-Based and Sexual Harassment” training, which she presented in February to UNC students. She translated material typically aimed at elementary, middle school and high school students into a workshop for college students. Timko will present her work at the biannual N.C. Coalition Against Sexual Assault conference in May.

The Black Student Caucus, which represents students of color in the School of Social Work, has hosted school events to promote education about racial and social injustices. This year, members of the student-run organization helped raise money and awareness about breast cancer in African-American women, participated in a breast cancer walk in Durham, hosted an open house for prospective students and a screening of the documentary “Brown Eyes/Blue Eyes,” and invited UNC’s first African-American professor, Hortense McClinton, to speak.

The Carolina College Advising Corps received the departmental award for its efforts to provide trained, enthusiastic advisers who help low-income, first-generation and under-represented students at partner high schools across North Carolina find colleges that will serve them well. Corps advisers provide parents with the information they need to encourage and support their children’s pursuit of a post-secondary education. The corps does not recruit exclusively for Carolina but helps students find their “best fit” institution, wherever that may be.

Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy, the Borderlands Professor of Indigenous Education and Justice in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University, received the alumni award. A 1990 Carolina alumnus and member of the Lumbee tribe, Brayboy is director of the Center for Indian Education and co-editor of the Journal of American Indian Education. His research focuses on the experiences of Indigenous students, staff and faculty in institutions of higher education, indigenous knowledge systems and indigenous research methodologies.

The community organization Blue Ribbon Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) conducts programs to eliminate racial achievement gaps in Chapel Hill area high schools. YLI provides leadership opportunities, service-learning projects and college exposure to high school students, focusing on improving access to these opportunities for minority students. YLI also provides opportunities for service and personal connections by pairing 50 college students with 25 high school students to learn from and inspire each other throughout the semester.

Community member Florence Simán moved with her family from El Salvador to Chapel Hill in 1980. A Carolina alumna, she has worked on several health-related projects throughout North Carolina. After developing a program to serve area Latino families through Child Care Networks, she directed a lay health adviser program at El Pueblo, Inc., where she is now the director of health programs.

"These advocates for diversity and inclusion are shining examples of how we begin to transform our local, University and professional communities into places that embrace and appreciate differences," said Taffye Clayton, vice provost for diversity and multicultural affairs. "We acknowledge and applaud their dedication, commitment and efforts that shape our experience at Carolina."