Chancellor’s Creating Community Awards: 2017 Winners Announced

Chancellor's Creating Community Awards 2017

Each spring, the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity presents the Chancellor’s Creating Community Awards to individuals and groups from across the university whose projects and practices best reflect the implementation of NC State’s equity and diversity goals during the current academic year. The honors include monetary awards of $500 to $1,000.

This year’s program, held on Monday, April 17, 2017 in the Piedmont-Mountains Ballroom of Talley Student Union, brought diversity practitioners on campus together for the 11th consecutive year. Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity Linda McCabe Smith and Senior Vice Provost for Academic Strategy and Resource Management and Chief of Staff Duane Larick (Chancellor Woodson’s designee) gave opening remarks.

Outstanding Faculty Award

Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity Marcia Gumpertz and Associate Professor Rajade Berry-James from the School of Public and International Affairs presented the Outstanding Faculty Award. This year’s nominees were:

  • Craig C. Brookins, Africana Studies/Interdisciplinary Studies and Psychology
  • Lance Fusarelli, Policy and Human Development
  • Maria Gallardo-Williams, Chemistry
  • Ann Harrington, College of Education
  • Rupert Nacoste, Psychology
  • Lori Petrovich, Chemistry
  • Shweta Trivedi, Animal Science

Dr. Shweta Trivedi in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences was selected for the 2017 Outstanding Faculty Award. Dr. Trivedi was nominated by multiple students and described as an outstanding professor for not only pre-veterinary students, but for all students interested in animal fields. One student described her as “God-sent.” for the many ways that she goes out of her way to advise, assist, encourage and connect students with research and developmental opportunities while taking into account their diverse backgrounds.

Dr. Trivedi is the director of Vetpac, an on-campus organization that strives to place students on the correct track for veterinary schools, and serves as NC State’s USDA multicultural scholars chair, a position in which she fosters an enriching environment for minorities in animal science. Dr. Trivedi was instrumental in securing a major USDA-NIFA grant for recruiting, retaining and mentoring multicultural scholars within the pre-veterinary track to address the lack of diversity in veterinary medicine.

Her work also includes service on the USDA Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program, which helps veterinarians obtain debt forgiveness; service on the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Admissions Committee; high school summer veterinary camps, the creation of numerous avenues for minority students to gain experiences preparing them for careers in veterinary medicine and service as a mentor to numerous students through Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANNRS), the PreVet Club, and TRIO programs.

Outstanding Staff Award

Nick Drake, Director of the Military and Veterans Resource Center and Renee Wells, Director of the GLBT Center, presented the Outstanding Staff Award. This year’s nominees were:

  • Aimee Call, Study Abroad Office
  • Leah Campbell, University Housing
  • Nikki Cofield, Human Resources
  • Kimberly Holley, Poole College of Management, MBA Program
  • Lori Kazura, Graduate Programs, Engineering
  • Mary Njaramba, Counseling Center, Division of Academic and Student Affairs
  • Courtney Simpson, Student Support Services/TRIO, Division of Academic & Student Affairs
  • Nathan Stevens, College of Education
  • Joy Tongsri, Park Scholarship Programs
  • Darren White, The Graduate School

Mary Njaramba was selected for the 2017 Outstanding Staff Award. Njaramba is a clinician at the Counseling Center whose nominator stated that she “has spearheaded efforts to ensure that our international student body feels included and connected. She is an asset to the NC State Counseling Center, the university, and the diverse student population we serve.”

In the Counseling Center, she runs the International Student Support Group and developed an NC State community initiative entitled “International Tea Time,” where students can drop in and find community with their peers, learn about other cultures and obtain social and mental health support.

Njaramba also serves as a counseling center liaison, providing drop-in services with Multicultural Student Affairs. Mary has created long-standing weekly “safe spaces,” has made herself available after hours for international students impacted by recent campus deaths, and has served as a resource for many other campus departments experiencing traumatic events.

Joy Tongsri of Park Scholarships was selected as an Honorable Mention in the Outstanding Staff category.

Outstanding College or Division

Robinette Kelley, Associate Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity and Lisa LaBarbera-Mascote, Director of the Women’s Center, presented the Outstanding College or Division Award. This year’s nominees were:

  • Center for Student Leadership, Ethics and Public Service
  • College of Education
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Department of Naval Science
  • NC State LIVE
  • Plant and Microbial Biology
  • Poole College of Management, Office of Undergraduate Programs
  • TRIO Student Support Services

The College of Education was selected for the 2017 Outstanding College or Division Award. The nomination stated, “The College of Education has made great efforts to create everyday environments that are grounded in strategies, dialogue and opportunities that aim to promote and support equity and social justice.”

Initiatives under Dean Mary Ann Danowitz include Racial Climate Town Halls for undergraduate and graduate students, which led the formation of the Black Graduate Student Association at NC State; a commitment to rural education awareness and engagement; and an Education Action Summit for campus and community partners related to disrupting poverty through education.

Dean Danowitz has required all faculty and staff to attend inclusivity and anti-oppression trainings to encourage and prepare the college to foster a more inclusive environment. The college also hosted a Social Justice Symposium where a panel of community members spoke to students about how they can advocate to interrupt injustices and inequalities occurring in our committees as they relate to public education, poverty and community mental health, law and activism.

The college coordinated faculty/staff-led small group discussions, where students explored the impact of institutional and structural racism and how they can work to create classrooms and communities that promote diversity and foster equality and hosted its second annual BUILD (Brothers United Leadership Development) Summit where over 100 local high school male students of color came to campus to discuss the diverse role of leaders in a growing global society.

Students, staff and faculty have also demonstrated a commitment to diversity education, hosting many professional development sessions, such as “Empowering and Advocating for Hispanic/Latino Families in K-12 Education,” “The Scarlet Number: Perceptions and Labels of Students of Color in K-12 Math Classrooms,” “K-12 Educators Understanding Native American Culture,” “Seeing the Student Behind the Stereotype,” Addressing Bias as Future Educators, “Educators As Youth Advocates For Young Women and Girls of Color,” and “Supporting and Advocating for Children Who Have Parents Who Are Incarcerated.”

The college formed COMID (Council on Multicultural Initiatives and Diversity) in 2007 to support, build and maintain a diverse faculty, staff and student community and prepare educations as citizens of the world. The group is comprised of faculty, administrators, deans and student representatives and serves as a sounding board for diversity issues and concerns within the college. Last year, COMID created a class evaluation question for all CED courses to assess if diversity and equity were woven into the curriculum. COMID created an equity checklist for faculty hires and developed a scholarship for a student that has involvement in the African American community.

Outstanding Student Award

Senior Director for Campus Community Centers Reggie Barnes and Assistant Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity Ursula Hairston presented the Outstanding Student Award. This year’s nominees were:

  • Jessica Carter, Poole College of Management
  • Nicole Ditillo, Education/Educational Leadership/Higher Education Ph.D. candidate
  • Victor Eduardo, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • Jessica Gallo, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Social Work and Spanish
  • Kalpit Mehta, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Jeremy Nortey, Biomedical Engineering
  • Noah Riley, College of Sciences, Department of Biological Sciences, Genetics
  • Stephanie Tate, College of Humanities and Social Sciences/School of Public and International Affairs and Political Science
  • Hannah Taylor, International Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Jeremy Nortey was selected for the 2017 Outstanding Student Award. Nortey’s nomination stated, “Jeremy has a long track record of mentoring minority youth, dating back to high school at the NC School of Science and Math. He has used his energy and enthusiasm in leadership roles both on- and off-campus.”

Nortey is a founding member and current president of the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS), starting MAPS after surveying peers and finding that they experienced a lack of support as underrepresented students pursuing health careers. Nortey modeled MAPS on the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). MAPS now serves thirty students and has helped create a path for underrepresented students to gain admittance into competitive medical schools and successfully pursue health careers. Nortey is also active in NSBE, in which he serves as an executive board member.

As part of his role in NSBE, Nortey helped plan and coordinate campus shadowing days for middle and high school students, which included communicating with high school guidance counselors and recruiting NC State students to serve as student hosts for the participants.

Off-campus, Nortey participates in tutoring and mentoring activities in his home and local communities, tutoring students with several organizations, including the Daniel Center for Math and Science Tutoring, Homework Haven and the Math/Science Education Network Pre-College Program, where he works as a teaching assistant.

Stephanie Tate was selected as an Honorable Mention in the Outstanding Student category.

Outstanding Student Organization

Brittany Hunt, assistant director for Native American Student Affairs in Multicultural Student Affairs, and John-Taylor Wills, 2017-18 Student Body Treasurer and member of the University Diversity Advisory Committee, presented the Outstanding Student Organization Award. This year’s nominees were:

  • Multicultural Young Educators Network (MYEN)
  • The Nubian Message
  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
  • Union Activities Board

The Nubian Message was selected for the 2017 Outstanding Student Organization Award. Known and referred to as NC State’s African-American newspaper, the paper strives to be not only the sentinel of the African American community, but for all underrepresented groups on campus. The nomination stated, “The Nubian has covered and endorsed events for nearly every community that adds to the overall culture of NC State, including the Native American Students Association, Asian Students in Alliance, African American Student Affairs, the Women’s Center. and the GLBT Center.”

The staff includes writers representing a spectrum of race, economic diversity, gender and academic disciplines, seeking to report on events at NC State while also serving as a source of information and a voice of equity. The organization works to point out institutional inequality, intentional or otherwise. Recent articles have covered prison labor, voting and bias incident reporting on campus.

The Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity congratulates all the 2017 nominees and winners.