UW System Outstanding
Women of Color In Education Awards
Award Recipients for 2012
Congratulations to the 2012 UW System Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award recipients!
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.
Susana Hernandez and Sara Juarez Koch, UW-Colleges
Kim Wellnitz, UW-Eau Claire
Annie Jones, UW-Extension
Heba Mohammad, UW-Green Bay
Lalita Pandit Hogan, UW-La Crosse
Tonya Lynn Brito, UW-Madison
Jacquelynn Dawn Arbuckle, UW-Madison
Kimberly M. Blaeser, UW-Milwaukee
Angela Lang, UW-Milwaukee
Rocio Cortes, UW-Oshkosh
Mary Xiong, UW-Parkside
Rosalyn Broussard, UW-Platteville
Grace Adofoli, UW-River Falls
Maysee Yang-Herr, UW-Stevens Point
Houa Lee, UW-Stout
Gail Trombley, UW-Superior
Marijuana Sawyer-Clardy, UW-Whitewater
Past Award Recipients by Campus or by Year
Susana Hernandez and Sara Juarez-Koch,
Susan 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 programing 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, UW-Eau Claire
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, UW-Extension
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, UW-Green Bay
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, UW-La Crosse
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, UW-Madison
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, UW-Madison
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, UW-Milwaukee
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, UW-Milwaukee
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, UW-Oshkosh
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, UW-Parkside
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, UW-Platteville
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 Portia Adofoli, UW-River Falls
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, UW-Superior
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.