University honors excellence in commitment to equity and diversity

OED award winners

The University of Minnesota has honored students, staff and faculty across the system for their commitment to issues of equity, diversity and social justice inside and outside the classroom and the workplace.

“These outstanding award recipients exemplify the brightest lights in the effort to create a University community that champions equity, diversity and inclusion,” said Michael Goh, vice president for Equity and Diversity at the University of Minnesota. “I am humbled by their achievements and their dedication to this work, and I thank them for their important contributions to the University community.”

The following is a complete list of 2018 award winners:

Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award, recognizing those who exemplify the spirit of University Regent emeritus Josie R. Johnson, a lifelong advocate of human rights and social justice. Award winners are:

  • Heidi Lasley Barajas, an associate professor and Chair of the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities whose research, teaching and public service focuses on issues related to access, equity and leadership in higher education;
  • Katie Lucchini Butcher, a Master’s student in the Heritage Studies and Public History program at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities focused on institutional museum reform that questions privilege and power; and
  • Denise Pike, a public historian and heritage preservationist graduating this spring from the Heritage Studies and Public History program at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities dedicated to linking inequities in present day to evidence of historical injustice.

Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity (SEED) Awards, recognizing diverse students from across the University of Minnesota system for excellence within and outside the classroom. SEED Award recipients are supported by funding from 3M and Target. Award winners are:

  • Atosha Rypa, a junior in the College of Liberal Arts on the Twin Cities campus studying the sociology of law crime and deviance working toward becoming a social studies teacher that champions the importance of history;
  • Hana Saifullah, a senior in the College of Design on the Twin Cities campus working toward a degree in architecture committed to creating equitable spaces within and beyond the University;
  • Sarah Gong, a junior in the Carlson School of Management, majoring in non-profit management, human resources, and industrial relations and a mentor for local students from underrepresented populations;
  • Dani Grutkoski, a senior at the University of Minnesota Duluth studying integrated elementary and special education in the College of Education and Human Service Professions committed to becoming an education who highlights social justice issues;
  • Emmanuel Okematti, a senior in the College of Biological Sciences on the Twin Cities campus pursuing a degree in neuroscience working toward his goal of becoming a physician and using his knowledge and skills to encourage people of color to enter into the medical field;
  • Maia Peterson, a senior majoring in architecture in the College of Design on the Twin Cities campus passionate about understanding how diverse populations experience products and services;
  • Tsion Woldeyes, a junior in the College of Education and Human Service Professions on the Duluth campus majoring in public health education and promotion focusing on creating spaces where students can feel a sense of belonging on campus;
  • Jill Fish, a Ph.D. candidate in counseling psychology in the College of Liberal Arts on the Twin Cities campus focusing on how systems of oppression that impact Native American peoples can be challenged and transformed;
  • Tyeastia Green, a Master of Public Affairs student in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs on the Twin Cities campus with the goal of gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to create deep and lasting social change; and
  • José Manuel Santillana, a Ph.D. student in feminist studies in the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies in the College of Liberal Arts on the Twin Cities campus dedicated to supporting underrepresented students on campus and striving to nurture future generations who struggle in the face of persistent racial, economic and environmental injustices.

Equity and Diversity Outstanding Unit Award, recognizing a University of Minnesota campus, college, department or unit demonstrating outstanding leadership in equity and diversity that is collaborative, sustainable and linked to the mission and vision of the group.

  • The Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation (ISRDI) is an interdisciplinary research institute that advances knowledge of human populations and institutions with a focus on health, well-being, economic and demographic behavior and human-environment interactions. ISRDI has undertaken several targeted efforts to increase and promote equity and diversity, recognizing the important contributions that diversity brings to their work. ISRDI is working to create spaces that encourage and embrace inclusiveness, equal opportunity and respect, with the overall goal of establishing an environment that is welcoming and nurturing for all.







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