Utah State University Presents Diversity Awards
Tuesday, Mar. 21, 2017
The recipients of the 23rd annual Utah State University Diversity Awards have been named. The recipients for the 2016-17 school year are Jason Gilmore, Oscar Marquina, Emily Sadler, Alan Savitzky, Kathryn Weglarz and Randy Williams. The awards recognize individuals and/or organizations on campus and in communities served by USU who have made significant contributions to affirmative action, equal opportunity and diversity.
Alan Savitzky serves as department head of Biology in the USU College of Science, where he has promoted inclusiveness and acceptance of underrepresented minorities at USU.
Savitzky is a consistent supporter of and contributor to the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Sciences (SACNAS) and was the driving force of its USU re-establishment in 2013. He garnered institutional support and continues to engage USU faculty and students (undergraduate and graduate) from diverse backgrounds, and in different science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, to participate in the organization. While encouraging others, he also personally contributes by recruiting and mentoring students.
A compassionate leader, Savitzky’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness was demonstrated as he helped one student’s transition in coming out as a transgender in the department. Under his guidance, he carefully met the student’s needs, while empowering identity integration among peers, faculty and staff. He further nurtured the value of acceptance by encouraging the entirety of the USU Biology Department to attend the USU “Allies on Campus” seminars. His colleagues value his efforts spend in embracing and cultivating diversity.
An embodiment of diversity and inclusion in all facets of his professional contributions, Jason Gilmore’s work as an assistant professor in the Languages, Philosophy and Communications Department at USU clearly models behavior that nourishes acceptance of differences and strives to enhance relations among everyone.
Gilmore created a curriculum based on providing students the tools necessary to effectively and respectfully navigate issues of human difference, diversity and inclusion in their personal and professional lives. He created and leads USU students on a 10-day pilgrimage through the deep South of the United States to learn firsthand about the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s and the related issues still relevant today. Each pilgrimage is multiracial, multigenerational, multi-gendered, multi-sexual and multinational ensuring students receive a broad understanding of perspectives.
With the belief that issues of diversity and inclusion should not be confined to the USU campus, Gilmore has worked with USU students to produce three radio series with Utah Public Radio focused on the issues of civil rights and international and intercultural understanding. He also created the hashtag, #USUInclusion to be used by students engaged in activities that promote diversity and inclusion. For students interested in gaining more international and intercultural exposure and experience, Gilmore founded the USU Global Communication Club to promote ideas of cultural inclusion and diversity on campus with a number of different events and projects.
Randy Williams, the Fife Folklore curator in USU’s Special Collections and Archives, has collected and documented the voices of numerous and diverse communities throughout the Intermountain region, creating a significant impact on the university library, students, staff and Cache Valley citizens.
Williams approaches her work from of a place of listening and understanding to gain a better appreciation of the diverse, unheard and undocumented voices in the Cache Valley community and region. In the process, she teaches those around her to respect traditions, religious customs and heritages of varied communities.
As a professional folklorist and ethnographer, Williams dedicates herself to understanding the sensitivities and mores of diverse communities as she works to preserve a record of their experiences. She seeks to give voice to the stories of under-documented communities. She has worked on projects with several underserved groups including Latino/a immigrants, rural ranchers in Nevada, Utah and Idaho, Cache Valley community refugees from the Eritrean, Karen and Burmese communities and the Navajo nation. Williams is currently working on a project with participants and professionals affiliated with the Cache County Drug Court. Her work has redefined what it means to be a pioneer through her exploration and dissemination of the folk culture and has contributed to a better understanding of the area’s rich heritage.
Emily Sadler and Kathryn M. Weglarz
With an enthusiast embrace of the concept of providing science, technology, engineering and mathematics research experiences for students from diverse backgrounds, Department of Biology graduate students Emily Sadler and Kathryn M. Weglarz, have distinguished themselves as champions for providing educational opportunities to students from Utah State University Eastern in Blanding.
After showing interest in a small internship program that gave a Native American from USU Eastern’s Blanding Campus a chance to do research on the Logan campus in 2013, Sadler and Weglarz helped transition and grow the program to its current success that now hosts 25 Native American students. In summer 2014, the duo arranged for four students to attend and rotate in pairs, through several research labs while providing mentoring, social activities, enrichment experiences and advising about academic life at a larger university campus. In 2015, with the assistance of another two graduate students, Sadler and Weglarz arranged for 21 students to come to the Logan campus in what would become to be known as the Native American Summer Mentorship Program (NASMP).
In 2016, the program continued to grow in stature and complexity, with 25 students attending under the watchful eyes of Sadler and Weglarz, and an additional four graduate facilitators. Enthusiastic faculty mentors from the previous year vied to gain new student teams and additional faculty were added to mentor roles. The program’s success springs directly from the energy and vision of Sadler and Weglarz and has spurred continued educational goals for those attending the progam. More than 10 students from the 2015 and 2106 cohorts have transferred to the USU Logan campus to further their education.
Dedicated to supporting diversity in the corporate and education world, Oscar Marquina has worked to develop young leaders and further the principles of diversity in education and the workplace.
A USU alum who graduated with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering (2005) and an MBA (2010), Marquina works for Goldman Sachs in Salt Lake City. After recognizing an underrepresentation of minorities in the higher education system, as well as in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, he has worked to provide educational and professional development opportunities for minorities.
Marquina currently serves on the National Board of Directors of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and has been a supporter of diversity initiatives in the state of Utah. Over the past three years, he has built a coalition of corporate partners and educational institutions to provide opportunities for minorities in STEM fields. Some of the many projects Marquina has devoted himself to include working on the U.S. Task Force of Hispanic Affairs, the Day on Capitol Hill with the Society of Women Engineers, a STEM Conference at Utah State University, a Goldman Sachs Resume and Interview Skills Seminar and a Latinos in Action STEM track. His efforts to bring active collaboration and partnerships between major companies and educational institutions in Utah are not only impacting USU and the city of Logan, but are having an impact across Utah and beyond.
Contact: Stacy Sturgeon, 435-797-1266, firstname.lastname@example.org