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Utah State University Names Diversity Award Recipients

Thursday, Feb. 07, 2013

illustration of Old Main and diversity award recipient Christine Hailey

2013 USU Diversity Award recipient Christine Hailey.

USU 2013 diversity award recipients Eric D. Packenham and Shelly Hernandez

Diversity Award recipients Eric D. Packenham (left) and Shelly Hernandez (right).

USU 2013 diversity award recipients Kristin Y. Ladd and Carlos B. Roundy

Diversity Award recipients Kristin Y. Ladd (left) and Carlos B. Roundy (right).

Recipients of Utah State University’s 2012-13 Diversity Awards have been selected, according to David Ottley, director of USU’ Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity office. The recipients of the 19th annual awards included Christine Hailey, Eric D. Packenham, Shelly Hernandez, Kristin Y. Ladd and Carlos B. Roundy.

The awards recognize individuals on campus and in communities served by USU who have made significant contributions to affirmative action, equal opportunity and diversity.

Christine Hailey, senior associate dean and professor in the College of Engineering, is recognized in the category of administrator. She has been extremely active in leading various efforts to increase faculty diversity not only within the College of Engineering but also USU as a whole. She has worked with faculty at all levels to assist them with personal issues and career development. She has been proactive in finding ways to remove individual differences and biases from the annual performance reviews and in the promotion and tenure processes. As mentioned by her nominator, she “has been a champion in transforming the college into an environment that is not based on connections, friendships and personal biases but on real measured performance.”

In 2003, USU was awarded a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation with a five-year goal of improving the recruitment, advancement and retention of women faculty in the sciences and engineering. Hailey played a prominent role as one of the PIs (primary investigators) for the grant. She has been active in finding ways to encourage and integrate women into the male-dominated culture of engineering. Hailey created a “Women in Engineering Seminar” as a way to increase the number of female students in the college and has taught the seminar for the past five years. She has also been a force in the leadership and growth of the student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers which has more than doubled in size under Hailey’s leadership. For this work she was awarded the Society of Women Engineers Distinguished Engineering Educator Award in 2011. Under the leadership of Hailey as the associate dean, the College of Engineering has tripled the number of international faculty and seen a 50 percent increase in the number of female faculty members. Additionally, Hailey’s efforts can also account for a growth in female undergraduate students from 10 percent in 2005 to 12 percent in 2012. She recently received a $500K grant to explore the role of MESA (Math, Engineering, Science Achievement) in underrepresented students’ achievement in engineering and math education.

Eric D. Packenham is a senior lecturer in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership, Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services and is recognized in the area of faculty. He has served as the USU director of STEP — Science Technology Engineering Program — which was established to encourage and recruit female and underrepresented students to pursue careers in STEM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). He has worked with numerous professionals and students to advocate for students who are underrepresented in STEM fields, including female minorities, students with disabilities and first generation students. Packenham has worked with various organizations to provide opportunities to underrepresented groups to further their education and experiences in the STEM areas. As an example, he worked with the USU Physics Department to organize the MESA/STEP Wind Energy Challenge. MESA/STEP students from middle and high schools across Utah began by participating in local competitions before attending the statewide Wind Energy Challenge competition. He has also taught in a program funded by the U.S. Department of State that brings outstanding secondary school science teachers to USU to increase their knowledge of science education and learn about global science issues that impact their own country.

Packenham is the principal investigator for a 16 million dollar, seven-year U.S. Department of Education GEAR UP Partnership grant for USU. Seven rural school districts, three Charter Schools, the Ute Indian Tribe, USU and four community/business organizations created a partnership to address the needs of low-income and at-risk students in small rural communities in northern Utah. The STARS! GEAR UP Partnership is intended to increase the number of students graduating from high school, prepared for success in postsecondary education. The program at USU will serve 2,793 students from middle school graduation into their first year in college.

Shelly Hernandez, program coordinator for the international scholarship and short term programs in the Office of Global Engagement, is recognized in the staff category. Hernandez has worked closely and tirelessly with a number of international students coming to USU but her impact is best seen through her service with the groups of sponsored Dominican and Armenian students. She encourages them to become involved in campus life and extracurricular activities by participating in festivals and performing numbers and activities from their native cultures.

Hernandez’s work with the Global Academy, a summer program that evolved from several short-term English immersion programs with Dominican and Mongolian students, has been impressive and very successful. Over the past two summers, the academy has grown to more than 100 students from 12 or more countries. She has organized the logistics and worked to involve domestic students as instructional and cultural assistants and language buddies. Between the summer program and the degree-seeking students, Hernandez has been engaged in working closely with 200 or more international students every year, roughly 20-25 percent of USU’s international student body. Many of the students have received Hernandez’s support after graduating from USU.

Kristin Y. Ladd, a second-year graduate student working toward her master of arts in American studies in the English department with an emphasis in sustainability and education, is recognized in the student category. She instrumental in a recent “Take Back the Night” event at USU, a national event that encourages victims of rape, abuse and domestic violence to share their stories in a safe space on campus. She also became the campus outreach intern in the Student Sustainability Office because of her deep belief in caring for the Earth. She reached out to all clubs and organizations to encourage their participation and started the “Get Out” program to involve more bilingual and immigrant youth in the community with the USU campus through a common love for the Earth.

Ladd is very successful in working with Latino/Latina groups in part because she is bilingual and biracial and has studied at both the Universidad de Costa Rica and Universidad de Alcala de Henares in Madrid, Spain.

Ladd has developed the curriculum for a special English 2010 course that focuses on LGBTQA authors and literature to develop writing skills and to diversify undergraduate coursework options. She has also included in her course topics of race, religion, gender and civil rights. The course has fostered new conversations on campus and will produce research papers in LGBTQA interests. Her nominators said she is inclusive rather than confrontational, she listens much more than she lectures and it is always clear that her goal is to empower individuals and help them see that they have nothing to fear from others who are different from themselves.

Carlos B. Roundy is recognized in the community category. Roundy has provided tremendous support to Sky View High School, particularly in areas related to the Latino population. He has also worked closely with the Latinos in Action (LIA) groups at Sky View, Logan and Mountain Crest High schools. Through his work with LIA, he makes funds available to provide busing and teachers to support the LIA programs at Logan and Sky View. The LIA students travel to various elementary schools to provide one-on-one instruction and support to students identified by their teachers as struggling with academic issues.

Through committee meetings, evenings with parent groups and discussions, Roundy involves area agencies to help increase the knowledge base of the Latino population. BATC, USU and Bear River Health are a few of the organizations he involves to help educate the Cache County Community Council and Latino parents and students about preparation for the future.

He has organized a nondenominational Boy Scout troop that includes Latino students. Many of the scouts have achieved their Eagle Scout rank.

Roundy has been most helpful to the Sky View Community Council in understanding the diverse needs of all students regardless of their ethnic background.

The 2012-13 Diversity Awards will be presented later in spring 2013 at USU by President Albrecht in a private ceremony.

Source: USU Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity, (435) 797-1266

Contact: David Ottley, (435) 797-1266,

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