UW System Outstanding
Women of Color In Education Awards
Award Recipients for 2007
Andrea De Palma, UW-Colleges
Kimberly Barrett, UW-Eau Claire
Cheryl Horns, UW-Extension
Melissa Jackson, UW-Green Bay
Jacie Gamroth, UW-La Crosse
Alberta Marie Gloria, UW-Madison
Portia Cobb, UW-Milwaukee
Norlisha Francine Crawford, UW-Oshkosh
Farida Khan, UW-Parkside
Sheng Xiong, UW-Platteville
Lizeht De La Torre, UW-River Falls
Mazie Maichoua Moua, UW-Stevens Point
Mai Kao Xiong, UW-Stout
Nancy Kyle, UW-Superior
Oluwapelumi Adeleke, UW System
Pilar Melero, UW-Whitewater
Past Award Recipients by Campus or by Year
Andrea De Palma, UW Colleges
Andrea De Palma is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County. Professor De Palma has made many contributions toward improving the climate of women through her scholarship, teaching and service. As the recipient of two grants from the National Science Foundation, De Palma undertook research as part of the "National Girls Collaborative Project," to introduce and prepare girls and minority students in grades 5-12 for careers in Computer Science and Information Technology. Another grant entitled, "Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities," enabled De Palma to develop a learning cluster of thematically linked courses connected to a service learning project that involved the nearby Latino community.
Professor De Palma has a commitment to service as well. She co-chairs the UW Colleges and Extension Diversity and Equity Council and has been actively serving on the UW Colleges Faculty Senate, in addition to a variety of campus committees. De Palma demonstrates the application of her knowledge and Hispanic background through her active involvement in the UW System Women and Science Program. She has made several presentations at the UW System Women and Science Conference and at the local Marshfield Cultural Fair. Her passion continues to enrich the campus as well as the greater Marshfield community.
De Palma has taken an active interest in developing and making technology programs accessible for Latin Americans in her local community. She has taught summer computer literacy classes in Spanish and has collaborated with the Marshfield Public Library on a Library Services and Technology Act grant entitled "Welcome Home: Adult Literacy and ESL programs for Immigrants." As a part of that grant, she translated a number of library materials, and conducted two workshops for the Marshfield Spanish-speaking community. In addition, De Palma has served as President of Marshfield Sister Cities (M.S.C.), Inc., an organization that promotes intercultural cooperation and links the communities of Marshfield, Wisconsin, with Jáuregui and Luján, Argentina. Andrea De Palma's leadership, scholarship, and teaching have enriched the lives of many women of color on her campus and in the greater community.
Kimberly Barrett, UW-Eau Claire
Dr. Kimberly Barrett is Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Development and Diversity at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from Pfeiffer College, an M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Murray State University, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
Kimberly Barrett has taught at the undergraduate and graduate level and coordinated a graduate program in Student Affairs. Her professional interests include adult development, the relationship between moral reasoning and modern prejudice, prejudice reduction, and general issues related to diversity and social justice.
Dr. Barrett's leadership and service to her campus and community has been far-reaching. As the chief student affairs officer for the UW-Eau Claire campus, she supervises a wide range of student support services and provides leadership for campus diversity efforts. In addition, she has served on several system-wide initiatives, including the System Advisory Committees of the Liberal Arts/Liberal Education and Admissions as well as the Inclusivity Initiative Advisory Board which addresses issues related to ensuring that UW campuses are welcoming to faculty, staff and students of all sexual orientations and gender identities. She is also working with the WISCAMP and MentorNet programs which are designed to increase the number of individuals from underrepresented groups graduating in science, technology, math and engineering.
Dr. Barrett's commitment to human rights issues and to promoting diversity can be seen by her involvement outside the university as well. She has served on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity and Rape Victim's Services, and has been a member of the Eau Claire Human Rights Commission, the Options Fund, and Fair Wisconsin. She was recently nominated to become a member of the Board for the organization Wisconsin Women in Higher Education Leadership (WWHEL). Dr. Barrett educates the public about issues related to women and diversity by writing articles/essays for the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. Through her efforts, Kimberly Barrett continues to create positive change on her campus and in her community toward improving the lives of women of color.
Cheryl Horns, UW-Extension
Mrs. Cheryl L. Horns is a Nutrition Educator/Instructional Specialist for the Department of Cooperative Extension Family Living Education for the UW Extension-Milwaukee County. The program provides nutrition and food safety education programs to limited income families, children and seniors. Cheryl Horns has provided these services predominately to female women of color. Her work has taken her into areas of the city of Milwaukee where hope is a commodity. Cheryl provides that hope through her educational programs and her effervescent approach. She ignores the legacy of inequality and stereotypes by educating women of color and their children, in the Milwaukee Public Schools, about the necessities of health regardless of their low income status. Her approach is truly empowering as she meets the people she serves not only where they live but according to their own perceived needs.
Ms. Horns' commitment to improving the lives of persons of color has led her to become a certified multicultural awareness trainer for UW Colleges and UW-Extension. She is so powerful and masterful in taking on internalized oppression that she garners the trust of the participants, thus creating a safe environment for discussion and sharing of thoughts and fears. One of her colleagues stated, "Cheryl is an inspiration to other women. Her personal work with multicultural awareness training is impressive."
In her office - Milwaukee County - Cheryl volunteers to serve on many committees, one of which recently hired the first woman of color to serve as the Milwaukee County Director. Many of the committees she serves on result in opportunities to celebrate successful outcomes, which reinforces a strong work team for the county. Her co-workers stated unequivocally "everyone cares about the work Cheryl does in honor of the greater good."
Cheryl Horns brings her considerable energy to the world from a foundation reinforced by her home life. Her daughter Jimia (8), her son Cowie (10), her son Clifton (21) and his daughter Carla (1), are the blessings she shares with her wonderful husband Jimmy. Cheryl considers her happy family to be her greatest accomplishment.
Cheryl is vigilant and tenacious. Her ambition to create additional positive change has encouraged Cheryl to enroll in graduate school in the Cultural Foundations in Education Program. Her exuberance for life and willingness to help improve the lives of others is remarkable and much needed in today's world. We recognize that Mrs. Cheryl L. Horns is making a difference.
Melissa Jackson, UW-Green Bay
Melissa Jackson is a graduate of the UW-Madison Law School. She joined the UW-Green Bay campus community in 2001, serving as Campus Legal Counsel and University Ombudsperson. Her many campus duties include chairing the Chancellor's Advisory Council for Equality of Women. She is responsible for oversight of the recommendations of the taskforce. Her persistence in this matter has deepened the campus' understanding of issues confronting women, and has kept these issues before the campus leadership for action. As the University Ombudsperson for Gender Issues, Melissa Jackson has provided information, advice, and resources to women faculty, staff and students on gender equity issues. She has assisted women in redressing grievances, and has recommended changes in university policy, as appropriate, to encourage equal treatment and an improved workplace climate for women.
Jackson is committed to strengthening the diversity of UW-Green Bay. Despite her significant workload in the Chancellor's office, Melissa has made time to participate in such multicultural student recruitment programs as Messmer High School Interview Days, the Opportunity Knocks program, the mentoring program at East High School in Green Bay, and the Upward Bound program. She is also a frequent speaker at campus cultural events, luncheons and banquets.
Ms. Jackson's service has extended to her membership on both the campus and community diversity advisory councils. She was particularly instrumental in bringing together the leaders of Northeast Wisconsin's communities of color to form the Chancellor's Community Council on Diversity, and continues to play an important role in coordinating Council meetings, events and activities. Throughout her career, Melissa has volunteered her time and expertise to such community organizations as the Greater Milwaukee Non-Profit Institute, the March of Dimes, The Red Cross, The YMCA, the United Way, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and State Bar Committee to Encourage the Placement of Minority Attorneys.
Melissa Jackson has achieved all of these professional accomplishments while still making time for her highest priority--raising her son, Jackson Gibbs, and doing it as a single parent. Melissa Jackson is most deserving of this UW System recognition for her work as an ally for women, as a force for institutional change on behalf on women, and as a passionate advocate for multicultural students on our campus.
Jacie LaVaughn Gamroth, UW-La Crosse
Jacie LaVaughn Gamroth is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She has already made impressive contributions to the campus and the community. As a freshman, Ms. Gamroth became an active member of ALANA Women, a student organization that serves Asian, Latina, African, and Native American women. She has since been elected and is currently serving as co-president. Ms. Gamroth took a leadership role in ALANA's major event of the year entitled, "Celebration of Women," organizing vendors, coordinating the decoration committee, and entertaining children that came to the event. Jacie's commitment to engaged citizenship can be seen in her participation on campus committees including the College Democrats, the Hate Response Team, the Student Election Commission, and the Alcohol Alternative Program, among others. She is also working to help organize the first ever White Privilege Conference to be held in the fall of 07. Jacie Gamroth knows that education is an important part of the equation to realize her goals. While tirelessly giving her time to improve the campus climate, she has also made the Dean's List.
Jacie has a passion for service to the community, and it led her to run and get elected to the La Crosse County Board as the youngest member ever to serve. She is also an active member of the La Crosse City Council and is the only person of color to serve in either governing body. More recently, she has been asked to serve on the Alcohol Oversight Committee by her fellow city council members. Ms. Gamroth has worked to improve her community in other ways as well. She has interned for Human Resources, City Assessors, and the Safety Coordinator at La Crosse City Hall, in addition to an internship with Congressman Ron Kind. In her extra time, she has volunteered for the Salvation Army. We acknowledge Jacie LaVaughn Gamroth for her leadership and service to her campus and to the La Crosse community.
Alberta Marie Gloria, UW-Madison
Alberta Marie Gloria received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Arizona State University in 1993, and in 1996, she joined the Department of Counseling Psychology at UW-Madison. Since then, she has been tenured, promoted and is now a Full Professor and Director of Training for the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology, as well as Director of the Chicano and Latino Studies Program.
Professor Gloria's extensive scholarship has focused on psychosociocultural factors for Chicanas and Chicanos and other racial and ethnic minority students in higher education. Her numerous articles have appeared in top-rate journals in the field of Counseling Psychology and examine issues of cultural congruency and the factors influencing the academic and cultural environment for students. Her research interests into the well-being of students translate into excellence as a classroom teacher as well. Having taught both masters and doctoral courses, Dr. Gloria has been described by one of her graduate students as "my shining example of a professor who inspires, nurtures and encourages the best in her students."
Having served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, a member of the editorial board for The Counseling Psychologist, and Chair of the Section on Ethnic and Racial Diversity for Divison 17, Dr. Gloria continues to demonstrate an impressive record of service. She has been nationally recognized for her leadership and service on several occasions.
She was awarded the Women of Color Psychologies Award in 1999 from Division 35 (Psychology of Women) of the American Psychological Association for her work entitled, The cultural construction of Latinas: Practice implications of multiple realities and identities. In 2002, she received the Emerging Professional Award from Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues) of the APA for outstanding early career contributions in promoting ethnic minority issues in the field of psychology. In 2003, Dr. Gloria was awarded the Kenneth and Mamie Clark Award from the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students for her contributions to the professional development of ethnic minority graduate students.
A model for scholarly excellence and commitment to the success of women and minorities in higher education, Alberta Marie Gloria brings great honor to the University of Wisconsin.
Portia Cobb, UW-Milwaukee
Portia Cobb is an artist, a documentary filmmaker and a youth activist. She is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Film, Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She received her undergraduate degree from Mills College and her graduate degree from San Francisco State University and joined the faculty at the UW-Milwaukee in 1992. She was named director of the Community Media Project the next year.
Portia Cobb is being particularly lauded for her outstanding contributions to scholarship and activism through her creative work, teaching, and community outreach. Through the UW-Milwaukee's Community Media Project, Professor Cobb has been instrumental in directing and facilitating community-based advocacy centered upon urban Milwaukee. This project uses the creative arts to provide at risk youth with the tools of empowerment and social engagement. She has encouraged young women and men of color who have taken production workshops with her, to become further interested in art or film as a means to further social inquiry.
Cobb has been making nationally recognized documentary films herself since 1989. They include Homecomings, Exhausted, Drive-by Shoot, and No Justice, No Peace. Her project, Yonges Island, has garnered the support of the very competitive national arts initiative, Creative Capital.
Throughout her tenure at the UW-Milwaukee, in addition to her ongoing commitment to all students, Professor Cobb has been particularly supportive (beyond normal classroom advice and interaction) of the women of color who have participated in the program and in the department, all of whom continue to keep in touch with her. She has mentored and inspired students to overcome odds and strive for success in the arts. Her mentees have gone on to complete fine arts degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels and work with filmmakers and foundations of the arts community. She has helped catapult them into careers in college teaching, and one former student became a producer for the BBC in Jordan.
Last October, the University of South Carolina invited Professor Cobb to participate in an annual Women's Studies forum that honors women of color who have made contributions to their communities. Professor Cobb was asked to consult with young women who were developing an arts outreach program with a local urban school. She shared her expert knowledge of community activism, and has remained in contact with them as they set up their own version of the Community Media Project. Professor Portia Cobb has tirelessly used her talents to improve the status and climate for women of color on her campus and in the wider community and is deserving of recognition and honor.
Norlisha Francine Crawford, UW-Oshkosh
Norlisha Francine Crawford is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and
Director of the African American Studies Minor at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Since arriving on campus in 2005 Professor Crawford has led a campus effort aimed at enhancing student understanding of issues, ideas and experiences related to the history, culture, socio-economic and political lives of African-Americans.
In her short time on campus Professor Crawford has already made outstanding contributions to diversity and women's studies scholarship and activism, and has helped to create positive changes at the institutional level. She has revived the African American Studies minor program that originated at UW-Oshkosh in 1969. As Director of the minor, she has built the curriculum and strengthened the program by working with faculty and advisors, and by recruiting students. To enhance teaching options for the minor, she designed a new interdisciplinary African American Studies survey course that can be taught across disciplines. In addition, she launched an Annual African American Spring Lecture Series as a signature event for announcing the program's on-going scholarly presence on campus. The first speaker, Eleanor Taylor Bland, is a well known author of the longest running African-American detective fiction series. This spring the guest lecturer will be Tiffany Ruby Patterson, a nationally recognized African-American historian and Zora Neale Hurston biographer. Dr. Crawford has facilitated three reading group series across campus, including a year-long one that met monthly over acy 2005-2006 with UW-Oshkosh’s AmeriCorps youth volunteers, regarding diversity in thinking about the people of color that the volunteers often serve; the second reading group was for the discipline-diverse members of the African Americans Studies advising board, to familiarize those who will support the AAS program with several key texts in African American intellectual traditions; and most recently, a series that is facilitating discussions among students, faculty and staff about women of color and sexual politics. The current reading group is a joint project with the campus Women’s Center. Dr. Crawford also is chair of the advising board for the Center for Academic Support and Diversity.
Dr. Crawford's accomplishments in the area of building diversity and improving the climate for women and African Americans are not limited to the campus. She has published articles in top-rated journals in her field and made scholarly presentations that focus on the interplay of family, community and culture in the lives of women, especially
poor and working-class women of color. Of note is her most recent article published by the National Women's Studies Association Journal and entitled, "Good, Bad, and Beautiful: Chester Himes's Femmes in Harlem." Dr. Crawford also was invited to give the keynote address at the Annual Chester Himes Black Mystery Writers' Conference and Awards Program. The national recognition of Norlisha Francine Crawford brings honor to the University of Wisconsin, and her enduring work and effort continue to bring forth
positive change on the campus, in the community, and beyond.
Farida Khan, UW-Parkside
Farida Khan is Professor of Economics at UW-Parkside. She joined the UW-Parkside faculty in 1990. Her scholarship has made vital contributions to Women's Studies and the discipline of Economics. Professor Khan's research focuses on women's economic issues, particularly in Bangladesh and developing countries of the world. She is internationally recognized for her work on international trade as well as women in South Asia.
Beyond campus Khan has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Bangladesh Studies, the Journal of Peace and Democracy in South Asia, worked extensively with the World Bank, and is professionally active in various professional scholarly organizations. In addition to being a member of various other academic organizations in economics, she is an active member of the International Association for Feminist Economists, is on the executive committee of Association for Economic Development Studies on Bangladesh, Bangladesh Development Initiative, and she is a Fellow of Economic Research Group, Bangladesh. She is currently on sabbatical as a Senior Research Fellow of the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies conducting a research project on NGOs and is editing a book on the Role of NGOs in the Bangladesh Economy. She has recently completed co-editing a book called Economic Analyses of Contemporary Issues in Bangladesh.
On campus she chaired the Economics Department for six years, was Director of Ethnic Studies, and is currently Co-Director of International Studies. Professor Khan has been a member of the Women's Studies Steering Committee since 1992. She has brought global perspectives and knowledge to the consideration of gender equity and women's issues in general. In these capacities Professor Khan has had enormous impact on students, colleagues, and community members. She is also an Associate Director of the Center for Economic Education and held a workshop to train local high school teachers about international trade issues. Through her research, her teaching, and her service she has advanced the knowledge and awareness of women, people of color, and international studies throughout the southeastern Wisconsin region. In her scholarship, her teaching and her community service, global perspectives on gender, culture, race and ethnicity are intrinsically linked.
Professor Khan was among the first at UW-Parkside who infused the Introduction to Women's Studies course and an Economics of Gender course with substantial content on women of color, sexuality, ageing, women and work, globalization, and feminist economic theory. Outside the college classroom, she is a well-received speaker on a number of political and socio-cultural issues. She speaks at community presentations and workshops as well as other educational institutions and the media on a regular basis. She has, for instance, delivered presentations at the UW on subjects as diverse as financial crisis, gender and development, globalization and women, and Muslim women in the post-9/11 world. She has also facilitated book discussions for the Gender, Race, and Class study group, an offshoot of the UW-Parkside Women's Studies Program. Professor Farida Khan exemplifies the model of thinking globally and acting locally. We recognize her for her work to help us understand and change the world.
Sheng Xiong, UW-Platteville
Sheng Xiong has been a member of the UW-Platteville campus community since January of 2002. She came to UWP as a new freshman and a newlywed, relocating from Spokane, Washington. Sheng is recognized as an active, outgoing, and approachable person by her peers and by faculty and staff. Through her five years on this campus, she has developed and refined her leadership skills with her memberships in the Hmong Club, the Student Organization of Latinos, and the Platteville International Women's Network. She has further demonstrated that leadership as an elected student senator, as coordinator of the Asian Female Students Group, and as president of the Asia Club.
Sheng Xiong has been a pivotal member of the team that organizes the annual Hmong Thanksgiving. She is instrumental in securing Hmong talent for the entertainment portion of the event. She also organizes a monthly Asian female students night-out, providing an opportunity for building community and mentoring. As president of the ASIA Club, Sheng has successfully increased the organization's budget by 36%, and used the money to bring additional Asian entertainment to the Center for the Arts for the benefit of the entire campus community.
Sheng has also been an employee of the Multicultural Educational Resource Center (MERC), the Patricia A. Doyle Women's Center, and UWP's Career Center. She assisted MERC with the very successful Paths to Platteville program (bringing prospective minority students to UWP for focused visits); a Jim Crow simulation; and the Building Bridges: Hmong Education Fair. At the Women's Center, Xiong has worked with speakers such as Jane Elliott, Sarah Weddington, and Team iThemba, serving as host and arranging for these dynamic speakers to meet with numerous student organizations and classes.
Sheng also volunteers time with many Platteville community projects including Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Family Advocates. Working with women and women of color is a priority for her. Sheng Xiong has used her energy and leadership abilities to make outstanding and lasting contributions to the UW-Platteville community.
Lizeht de la Torre, UW-River Falls
Lizeht de la Torre is a senior, majoring in International Studies and Political Science at University of Wisconsin-River Falls. A Mexican-American, she is originally from Southern California, but moved with her family to St. Paul, Minnesota in 2001. There her family operates a Latino wrestling business, and has just opened a wrestling school. She is being recognized for her scholarship and the activism that demonstrates her deep-rooted involvement in the advancement of women of color.
Lizeht's commitment to her community is particularly visible in her past service as president of the Latino/a Student Organization at UW-River Falls. As the organization's president, she promoted a positive image of Latinos and Latinas through workshops and social activities that celebrated heritage. She affirmed and mentored her fellow students by connecting them to the Latino/a community in St. Paul. A performer as well, as a member of the Community Action Theater Troupe at UW-River Falls Lizeht developed and presented cultural programming within the K-12 public school system. Her community involvement focused on infusing a positive image of Latino/a people, culture and heritage and helped set the stage for her audiences to develop a deeper appreciation of diversity.
In 2005, Lizeht de la Torre organized the largest delegation from a four year campus in attendance at the state Women's Leadership Conference. In her roles as Vice President of the Student Senate in 2005 and member of the Student Senate Women's Initiative Committee, she lobbied the Wisconsin State Legislature regarding birth control legislation and tuition increases. Ms. de la Torre's most challenging yet gratifying effort thus far has been her major role in the creation of the Multicultural Student Programming Center at UW-River Falls. She lent her efforts to organizing multicultural students in signing petitions, writing letters and meeting with administrators to acknowledge student need for campus affirmation of diversity through an accessible and visible space.
Social justice and activism is a part of Lizeht de la Torre's every breath. Lizeht has made a commitment to advocate for women, to bring diverse parties to the table to work out contentious issues, to love family and to celebrate culture. This is the foundation from which she will pursue her future plan to work in international relations and politics.
Mazie Maichoua Moua, UW-Stevens Point
Mazie Maichoua Moua is a recent graduate of UWSP where she is pursued a major in English Education and minors in Political Science, Women's Studies, and English as a Second Language. Currently, she is a student teacher in the Wausau community schools. During the summer of 2004, Ms. Moua spent several weeks in Thailand on a study abroad program that was a life changing experience. Since returning to UWSP, she has raised funds to send back to schools in Thailand to help the Thai-Hmong students to continue their education.
Proudly serving her community and acting as a cultural liaison, Ms. Moua has served on a conference panel for future educators, conducted numerous campus tours for diversity students interested in finding out more about UWSP, has served as an anchor for Hmong TV in Wausau as well as a radio host for Hmong language programming, and has completed a documentary film, "Hmong Women in Higher Education: Searching for a Future."
Ms. Moua's campus leadership has included active participation in the Hmong and Southeast Asian Club (HaSEAAC) for which she has served as club secretary, president, and chief fund raiser. In those capacities, she organized numerous luncheons to introduce the campus to Hmong students and the broader Hmong community. Known well as a student leader on equity and affirmative action issues, she served for several years on the Plan 2008 Committee and in the student senate.
Besides numerous leadership roles, Ms. Moua also excels artistically. She has been a dancer and singer in performing with HaSEAAC's Entertainment and Dinner events for the past few years. She is a member of the Tapestry Theater Educators that has performed Hmong plays in more than fifteen schools or public forums in Central Wisconsin. These plays center around racism stereotypes, and Hmong folklore and culture and proved an excellent vehicle for educating the public about the Hmong culture and history.
Mai Kao Xiong, UW-Stout
Mai Kao Xiong is a Graduate Assistant and Associate Advisor in the Office of Multicultural Student Services at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She received her Associate's degree from UW-Marathon County, her B.S. with Magna Cum Laude Honors from the Upper Iowa University, and is now working toward a graduate degree in School Psychology at the UW-Stout.
A single mother and graduate student deeply committed to diversity education, Mai Kao Xiong is a working member and leader in the HSSO student group on campus which presents workshops, leadership seminars, panels, and diversity training sessions for college students. In her capacity as advisor in the Multicultural Student Services, Ms. Xiong maintains a high level of professionalism and commitment to improving the lives of students of color. She has a genuine interest in seeing students succeed, doing her best to assist them and challenge them to achieve their goals. Mai Kao Xiong not only demonstrates her excellent organizational skills, but displays a multi-talent and awareness of bringing diverse groups of students together, particularly reaching out to other multicultural student organizations and networking throughout the system.
Ms. Xiong has contributed to her campus by encouraging Hmong women to major in elementary education so they can become skilled educators who serve a greater good. Through Project Teach, a collaborative grant-funded program between UW-Stout and UW-La Crosse, Mai Kao Xiong has played a leadership role coordinating meetings and supporting every student participant's efforts to succeed. As an outstanding representative of her culture who has reached out to improve the lives of others on her campus and in her community, Mai Kao Xiong brings honor to the University of Wisconsin.
Nancy Kyle, UW-Superior
Nancy Kyle has been working as a custodian for Old Main Hall at UW-Superior since 2004. She joined the ranks of a predominantly male group of employees, and was (and still is) the only female Facilities employee of color. Early in her career at UW-Superior Ms. Kyle experienced inappropriate conduct directed at her from other employees. Nancy earned the respect of co-workers and superiors when she courageously used the experience to help make the volatile situations a launch pad for dialogues leading to improved the campus climate for all people, especially for women and people of color.
Nancy Kyle's demonstrated understanding of the importance of engaged citizenship in making real social change happen has led the University to ask her to become involved in activities beyond her regular job responsibilities. As a result of her diversity-related efforts, and recognition of her integrity, she was invited to represent the classified employees on a national search committee for a new Provost even though she had been a UWS employee for less than a year. During the search process, Nancy provided much needed insights throughout the selection process. She later was asked and agreed to serve on the Women's Issues Committee, and helped create a new Campus Diversity Committee.
As a custodian, Nancy is well-liked and respected by the people in Main Hall. In addition to her other responsibilities, she is particularly aware of the need to keep the building physically accessible, especially for those with disabilities. She enjoys interacting with the employees and students, and is proud of her ability to direct lost wanderers to appropriate areas in a welcoming manner. Ms. Kyle is a frequent participant and supporter of multicultural potlucks and other campus cultural events. Most recently, she added mentor to her list of achievements, having encouraged a young woman of color to become involved with the Campus Diversity Committee. Nancy Kyle brings strength of character and a willingness to work for positive change to the UW-Superior campus community, and we honor her for it.
Oluwapelumi (Pelumi) Adeleke, UW System Administration
Oluwapelumi (Pelumi) Adeleke came to the UW-Madison as a freshman in 2001. Originally from Nigeria, she came to UW-Madison with the intent of pursuing a Business Degree and has since specialized in Accounting. Ms Adeleke is currently a graduate student in the very competitive five-year professional accounting program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the spring of 2006 Pelumi earned the opportunity to intern with PricewaterhouseCoopers New York (PWC). In the fall of the academic year she began teaching an introductory course in accounting for students who are just beginning to gain interest in the business field. She is scheduled to obtain her Master's Degree in Accountancy in May 2007.
Pelumi believes that success means humbly giving back to the community through positive experiences. Throughout her studies she has tutored minority students in Mathematics and Accounting through the Academic Advancement Program (AAP) and served as an academic coach and mentor for students in the challenging business curriculum. She was also involved with the College Access Program, a summer program for minority high school students, to help transition into higher education. She has actively participated in the African Students Association by serving food, sharing and educating other students about the rich diversity of Africa, and helping kids at the Madison East Community Center learn about African history and culture. She also served as treasurer of the International Business Student Association, where she organized fundraisers for the Mashambanzo Care Trust, a home for AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe and Hurricane Katrina victims in Madison.
Pelumi Adeleke was nominated for this award by UW System Administration, in part, for her three years of work with the Office of Academic Diversity and Development (OADD). There she has worked to further higher education diversity policies through helping with projects like the Equity Scorecard, Plan 2008 and the American Multicultural Student Leadership Conference (AMSLC). Of particular note is an AMSLC investigative survey which she coordinated in October 2004. The survey entailed questions instrumental in understanding some of the factors which affect the experience and satisfaction of students of color with their college experience. She collected, analyzed and presented the results of the survey to UW System Multicultural/Disadvantaged coordinators and Precollege directors. That data was cited in a Committee on Baccalaureate Expansion report presented to the Board of Regents. Additionally, she helped coordinate efforts to implement the Alliant Energy/Erroll B. Davis Award, an award to encourage minority students' leadership and achievement in UW-Madison and UW-Platteville. Ms. Adeleke also helped to develop the foundation for NSF project collaboration between UW System, Spelman College and several African universities. The project encourages education collaboration with African communities and promotes math and science education for minority students.
In typical fashion, Pelumi credits the example of the strength of her mother in Nigeria, Nike Adeleke, and the support of her guardian in the states, Mrs. Amoo, as well as her academic advisor and colleagues from OADD, with contributing to her ongoing success. We recognize Oluwapelumi Adeleke for what she has accomplished and what we are sure she will achieve in the future.
Pilar Melero, UW-Whitewater
Pilar Melero is a scholar, an author, and an assistant professor in the Languages and Literatures Department at UW-Whitewater. Her scholarly work brings to light the writings of women of color, especially those too often ignored by other researchers. Dr. Melero has focused her research on the voices of Mexican and Mexican-American women who wrote on behalf of the rights of the poor, before, during, and after the Mexican Revolution in conferences in Cuba, Peru, and the United States. She has presented her scholarship widely. The Houston-based Arte Público Press recently published Dr. Melero's article, "Sara Estela Ramírez and Andrea Villarreal González: Revolutionary Voices?" as part of its Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project. Earlier this year, the University of Texas A & M Press also published her article on the novel Rain of Scorpions by Chicana writer Estela Portillo Trambley. The importance of Professor Melero's work was recently recognized by a grant from the Center for Latin American Studies to support her archival research at the San Antonio Public Library.
Professor Melero's contributions move beyond the pen to the mentorship of other women. It is clearly a priority for this accomplished teacher and scholar. In addition to her classroom work with students, Professor Melero has been working with Gamma Alpha Omega, a Latina community service organization. She is also mentoring three McNair scholars and colleagues at UW-Madison. Professor Melero is a much called on motivational speaker for pre-college programs in UW-Whitewater. She was asked to speak at a recent CIC/SROP conference in Madison, Wisconsin, where she again inspired many students and peers.
Pilar Melero is committed to expanding her audience beyond the ivy covered walls. In addition to her scholarly writing, since the mid-1990s, Dr. Melero has been a reporter, first for The Waukesha Freeman, and currently, as a community columnist for The Milwaukee Journal. Through this work she addresses issues of immediate concern to the community. While she works to uncover voices from the past as a scholar and lends her analytical voice to the present as a reporter, Pilar Melero also brings her creative voice to the culture as a writer. She has been involved in a project devoted to recovering women's voices that has led her to create her own fiction. In March, she is presenting (in Mexico) three short stories that highlight the lack of access women have had, historically, to basic rights such as freedom of expression, particularly concerning their sexuality. Pilar Melero is showing us how to bring our own and others' voices to the world.