Due to COVID-19 closures, in lieu of a ceremony, Chancellor Guskiewicz generously supplied his speech (below). Click on “Learn More” about the winners to view their speeches, as well.
2020 Diversity Award Recipients
Andrea Prego (’21)
Business Administration major, Public Policy Minor
Andrea Stephania Prego is a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Public Policy. Originally from Managua, Nicaragua, Andrea is devoted to empowering the Latino community both in the U.S. and back home. Uprooted from her homeland at a young age, she’s constantly battled trying to find a balance between growing up in the U.S. and remembering the traditions, language, and memories of her birthplace. After returning to Nicaragua for the first time in 13 years, she learned that by allowing her upbringing to be a part of her everywhere she goes, she would never forget where she came from. Through this newfound dedication to embrace her culture, she wanted to inspire her community to reach for similar aspirations. In the past five years, she has promoted the advancement of her local Latinx community through various leadership roles in her community and volunteer work. She has been recognized as a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar, Latin Americans Working for Achievement Scholar, and as one of North Carolina’s Latinx 20 Under 20. When she arrived at UNC three years ago, she was excited to continue her work. In the fall of 2018, after a civil rights protest in Nicaragua resulted in the imprisonment of her cousin, she hosted a panel with distinguished professors and experts on the Nicaraguan crisis to help spread awareness of the situation to the UNC community.
Since 2018, she has been a member, and now serves as President, of Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/Lambda Pi Chi Sorority Inc., an organization dedicated to empowering the local Latinx community. She is also a board member of the Community, Equity, and Inclusion Board at Kenan-Flagler Business School, where she works with peers and faculty members to create programs that empower all of the silenced voices within a stereotypically homogenous environment. As she continues to dedicate her time and energy to these various leadership roles, she continues to fight alongside her family in Nicaragua by educating her peers on the political crisis through different social media platforms. Andrea plans to continue representing her community wherever her career path takes her. For now, she is undertaking independent research, where she will investigate the effects of responsibly traded coffee on Nicaraguan farmers and their local communities. Through this, she hopes to find solutions to the cycles of poverty that exist in rural agricultural towns in Nicaragua. She’s beyond grateful for all the opportunities that UNC has brought her and is honored to continue her work alongside the friends, peers, family, and professors that continuously motivate and inspire her every day.
Graeme Strickland (’20)
Business Administration and Peace, War & Defense
Following graduation, Graeme will be working for Ernst & Young’s Government Advisory Practice in Washington, D.C. and joining the US reserves. Graeme continues to see social justice, equity, and inclusion as the pillars of his future work and aspirations.
Graduate/Professional Student Award
Graduate Teaching Fellow
English and Comparative Literature, Women’s and Gender Studies
Geovani Ramírez completed his PhD in the English and Comparative Literature Dept, where he specializes in Multiethnic and Latinx literatures. His dissertation explores the ways Mexican-heritage women writer-activists use the topic of labor in their works to interrogate and re-shape notions of class, race, gender, culture, (trans)national identities and citizenship.
Geovani joined the UNC Latina/o Studies Program as a Graduate Assistant in the spring of 2019 and he was a Graduate Student Fellow at the Center for Faculty Excellence during the 2018-2019 academic year. Geovani has enjoyed working with students in various capacities, including as sole instructor for numerous English and Women’s and Gender Studies courses, and was a graduate research consultant for WMST 465 Gender, Immigration, and Labor and ENGL 364 Introduction to Latinx Studies. He also served as an ENGL 105 instructor in the UNC Summer Bridge program and an assistant writing coordinator for the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice program, both of which he will be rejoining in the summer of 2020. From fall 2014 to spring 2018, Geovani was a writing coach at the UNC Writing Center, where he coached undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines on a wide range of writing genres and projects.
Geovani loves sharing literature and cultural productions with the general public. He has enjoyed giving talks for the Ackland Art Museum and Carolina Performing Arts Center, and he has been an invited panelist for the Playmakers Repertory Company and the Department of Art and Art History. He was also a guest speaker on the Aaron Keck Show during an “Oh, the Humanities” segment with Max Owre (WCHL 97.9 The Hill)
Effua E. Soso
Clinical Psychology Program
Effua has also actively challenged herself, peers and faculty to engage in discussion regarding privilege and oppression through organizing diversity movie nights and co-leading a multicultural seminar. With regard to research, her award-winning dissertation examined how vicarious discrimination (i.e., viewing images depicting the assault and shooting of unarmed Black individuals) influences body and mood responses among a sample of Black emerging adults. Effua has a deep passion for providing evidence-based psychotherapies to marginalized communities, particularly racial and ethnic minorities. She has taught Black and Latinx elementary school students social and emotional skills, provided capacity restoration services to psychiatric patients and conducted individual and group therapy with incarcerated men and veterans.
Effua is ecstatic to continue to contribute to the healing of marginalized communities as a leader and clinician. She ultimately hopes to reduce rates of recidivism by providing compassionate psychological services within prisons and serving as a chief psychologist or warden.
Alumni Student Award
Angel Collie (’10)
Assistant Director, Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity,
Angel (he/him/his) grew up in rural North Carolina and, before joining the team as the Assistant Director of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity at Duke University, he spent his days working as the Assistant Director of the LGBTQ Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. He returned to UNC (where he received his BA in Religious Studies with minors in both Women’s Studies and Sexuality Studies) for the AD position after obtaining a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School.
Angel is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program at Duke Divinity School, where he is focusing on providing spiritual and pastoral care to queer and trans communities. In addition to his professional and academic work, Angel serves on the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies Transgender Roundtable, as the secretary for The Freedom Center for Social Justice board, on the Church Council at United Church of Chapel Hill and is co-faculty for the Transgender Seminarian Leadership Cohort.
Angel is passionate about travel and he has done so extensively, often through his work as the intersection of spirituality, sexuality and gender identity and expression. He lives in Chapel Hill with his partner, his cat Pepe, and two Australian shepherds named Scooter and Scout.
Eugene Y. Lao (’91)
Eugene Y. Lao earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, Global Studies, and East Asian Studies from Carolina, and a Juris Doctor and Master of Laws degree in International and Comparative Legal Studies from Duke University School of Law. He began his legal career as an associate with the Hong Kong office of Hunton & Williams, where he worked in the Project Development and Finance team. He then went on to in-house roles as Asia-Pacific Regional General Counsel at Yahoo! and subsequently Deputy General Counsel at Zynga, Ten-X (fka Auction.com) and DocuSign, respectively. Eugene currently serves as the General Counsel for Reltio, Inc..
While at Carolina, Eugene was one of the founders of the Asian Students Association and was the recipient of the Chancellor’s International Leadership Award. He was also a member of the UNC Honor Court and the Order of the Grail-Valkyries.
Eugene is a Life Member of the General Alumni Association, and previously served on the UNC Global Advisory Board. He lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Music Cataloging Librarian and Interim Librarian for Inclusive Excellence, University Libraries
Monica Figueroa is the Interim Librarian for Inclusive Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University Libraries. In this capacity, she serves as a strategic advisor to the Library Leadership Team and Department Heads on various library priorities related to transforming the Libraries’ services, programs and scholarship. She is passionate about social justice issues related to race, gender and economic inequity, and her professional goals include exploring new ways of leveraging the infrastructure of the libraries to serve under-served communities of patrons. Drawing on her library technical services expertise, she collaborates with other UNC-CH libraries on strategies for decolonizing the presentation of information and data in research.
Monica participates in other forms of advocacy, serving as Co-Director of the Carolina Academic Library Associates Program (a partnership between the University Libraries and the UNC School of Information and Library Science), Chair of the Libraries’ Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) Council, and Chair of the University’s Honorary Degrees and Special Awards Faculty Committee.
A native of Ann Arbor, MI, Monica earned her MS in Library and Information Science from Syracuse University in 2014, after having earned an MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of Chicago in 2011 and a Bachelor of Music in Horn Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006. She worked previously at the University of Chicago Library and the State Library of North Carolina before joining UNC-CH as Music Cataloging Librarian, a position she has held since 2016.
Director of Recruitment, School of Education
Vice Chair, Carolina Black Caucus
Patricia serves as the Director of Recruitment in the School of Education at UNC-Chapel Hill. In this position, she provides oversight for student recruitment initiatives and establishes collaborative strategies and programs designed to expand the pipeline of diverse candidates. In a short period of time, Patricia has proven to be a key player in advancing and propelling the School of Education forward. She serves as the School of Education’s Diversity Liaison and the Vice Chair of the Carolina Black Caucus. Additional, Patricia is a board member for the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources as the Senior Vice President-Collegiate Network. She is also a proud member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Patricia earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Savannah State University and obtained a Master’s degree in Counseling from Argosy University. She recently completed the Women in Education program at Harvard University and is currently pursing a doctorate degree in Higher Education management from the University of Georgia.
Beginning her professional career in higher education in 2002, Patricia formed an interest in college admissions and recruitment, and has since translated this interest into a successful career as a higher education professional. Realizing her passion, she has operated in various leadership roles at highly selective public and private institutions in new York, Georgia and North Carolina. Throughout her career, she has been committed to equity, college access, and improving outcomes for students of color. She has a track record of effectively closing achievement and attainment gaps for minority students both nationally and globally. Patricia is a two-time “Forty Under 40” honoree. She received this recognition in 2010, through the Greater Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce in New York, and again in 2019 by the Triangle Business Journal for her commitment to civic engagement and embodying the spirit of progressiveness in her profession. In 2018, she was selected as one of the Triangle business Journal’s Leaders in Diversity and in 2019, the Carolina Center for Public Service honored her with the Robert E. Bryan Service Award. Patricia is regarded as an expert in diversity recruitment and has been featured in several media outlets for her work in teacher recruitment in North Carolina.
Professor, Psychiatry and Pediatrics Departments Consultation Liaison Programs
Founder and Co-Director, Gender Wellness and Equality Clinic (GWE)
Chief of Psychology, School of Medicine
Echo Meyer, PhD, is a Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics with the Consultation Liaisons Programs and she is the Founder and Co-Director of the Gender Wellness and Equality Clinic (GWE). She developed the clinic and curriculum to provide educated and informed evaluation on gender identification and expression in transgender and gender non-binary individuals ages 3-28. Her goal was to serve as a resource locally for high quality gender informed psychiatric and psychological consultation to individuals and their families exploring or undergoing gender-affirming treatments and to provide psychological consultation to other partners providing care for individuals seeking gender-affirming interventions. At the large state hospital level, this is the first and hard-fought clinic of its kind. An overarching plan has always been to collaborate with transgender care providers to improve quality of care and to follow the most recent standards of care published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and educate coordinating providers on relevant recommendations.
Dr. Meyer is also the Child and Adolescent Psychologist with the UNC Healthcare BEACON program and a member of the UNC Healthcare board on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI). She is the Chief of Psychology at the School of Medicine. Echo has been committed to finding ways to care for gender non-binary, trans fluid, transgender and bi-gender children and younger adults since she moved to NC in 2001. She is grateful for the people she has known and for the integration of care for people are are non-cisgender. The UNC model of care for emotional well-being support is unique, integrative and welcoming to people of all financial levels. Dr. Meyer is involved in planning for models of care throughout the state of North Carolina.
Artist in Residence
Teaching Professor in Performance Studies
Director, UNC’s Process Series
Joseph Megel is Artist in Residence and Teaching Professor in Performance Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill where, for the past 12 years, he has run the Process Series: New Works in Development. He is currently Artistic Director of StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance. His directorial work in the theatre and his teaching at UNC primarily focus on new performance as a vehicle for social justice.
His recent credits include: Orange Light by Howard L. Craft at BullDog Theater, Durham (the dramatized story of the chicken plant fire in Hamlet, NC); Temples of Lung and Air, written and performed by Kane Smego at PlayMakers Repertory Company and Detroit Public Theatre (examining identity, hip-hop, and whiteness), The Talk, written and performed by Sonny Kelly at Bulldog Theater Ensemble in Durham and at Historic Playmakers in Chapel Hill (about the talks a black father must have with his child to keep them safe).
Additional recent credits include Dean Gray’s The Pattern at Pendarvis for New Dog Theatre Company/StreetSigns at HERE Arts Center in NYC; Mike Wiley’s adaptation of Tim Tyson’s book, Blood Done Sign My Name, at Raleigh Little Theatre; Christine Evans’s Closer Than They Appear for StreetSigns; Howard Craft’s The Miraculous and The Mundane or Manbites Dog Theater, and Howard Craft’s Freight: The Five Incarnations of Abel Green for StreetSigns. Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway credits include: Craft’s Freight The Five Incarnations of Abel Green for the New Federal Theater at The Castillo Theater (Off-Broadway) and also for StreetSigns (NY Times Critics Pick); The Working Project for Working Theater (Off-Broadway); and Guillermo Reyes’s Men on the Verge of a His-panic Breakdown (Off-Broadway | Outer Circle Critics Award). He directed the same play in Los Angeles (Ovation Award) and elsewhere.
Joseph was a distinguished Visiting Artist at ASU’s Piper Center for Creative Writing and has taught at Emory, UNLV and Fairleigh Dickinson University. At UNC, Megel serves as the Chair on the Provost’s Committee for LGBTQ Life, is an artistic associate for Teatro Latina/o Series and a member of the Department of Communication’s Diversity Committee.
Intergroup Collaboration Award
Targeting Equity in Access to Mentoring (TEAM) ADVANCE is honored to receive a 2020 Diversity Award. The Team Advance mission is to catalyze a culture of accessible, equitable and effective mentoring across the University. We are a multi-disciplinary team of faculty, staff, and graduate students working toward lasting change to support women of color, white women, and underrepresented faculty at Carolina. TEAM ADVANCE is supported by a National Science Foundation grant (NSF Award No. 1760187). In partnership with the Center for Faculty Excellence and the Carolina Women’s Center, TEAM ADVANCE provides intersectionality-informed programs to improve mentor and mentee experiences, foster institutional change, support faculty retention, and promote faculty career development and professional achievements.
This year, TEAM ADVANCE launched several programs to support faculty at all levels:
- The TEAM ADVANCE Peer Mentoring Circles program supports over 55 early career faculty who meet monthly in eight groups of 4-8 faculty, each led by two senior faculty who volunteer their time.
- The Women ADVANCE Leadership cohort program for mid-career women faculty features the leadership narratives of successful women in STEM across campus. This connection provides authenticity as its 25 participants navigate their career and leadership paths at Carolina.
- The TEAM ADVANCE Mentoring Training program, a racial and gender equity, intersectionality-informed adaptation of the Center for Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research training model developed by our TEAM, has provided mentoring training to two cohorts, reaching over 35 faculty mentors.
The TEAM has also met with Chairs from the College of Arts and Sciences and Schools of Medicine, Public Health, and Information and Library Sciences—reaching over 50 departments—in an engagement initiative to help chairs understand inequities across campus, intersectionality, and ways to best support faculty through mentoring programs.
TEAM ADVANCE funds a Special Assistant to the Provost to work at the senior leadership level to effect change by advocacy, connecting with Chairs and sharing resources that TEAM ADVANCE has developed to improve equitable faculty mentoring and support.
TEAM ADVANCE is truly a team effort that depends on partners across campus. We value the contributions of its TEAM, and of the many contributing their time and energy to our programs. Our aim is to grow this support in a sustainable way—this award signals the importance of this work and we are eager to continue to engage Carolina in Targeting Equity in Access to Mentoring.
Erin Malloy, M.D. (Lead PI)
Robert Blouin, Pharm.D.
Jaye Cable, Ph.D.
Shauna Cooper, Ph.D.
Kelly Ryoo, Ph.D.
Kevin Guskiewicz, Ph.D.
Patricia Parker, Ph.D.
Joanna Helene Foland, M.A.
Susan Girdler, Ph.D.
Maleka Walker, M.S.P.H.
External Evaluation (NCSU)
Jamie Gillespie, M.Ed.
Shaun Kellogg, Ph.D.
Emily Boehm, Ph.D.
Keita Christophe, Ph.D.
Sheila Kannappan, Ph.D.
Cloe Liparini, M.A.
Tanya Shields, Ph.D.
Internal Steering Committee
Rumay Alexander, Ed.D.
Amelia Drake, M.D.
Kevin Jeffay, Ph.D.
Ron Strauss, D.M.D., Ph.D.
External Advisory Board
Yvette Huet, Ph.D. (UNC-C)
Jennifer Linderman, Ph.D. (U-Mich)
Melissa McDaniels, Ph.D. (MSU)
Asian American Center Campaign
The UNC-Chapel Hill Asian American Center Campaign Team was formed in May of 2019, when a team of UNC-CH Asian American students and alumni came together with the vision of creating an Asian American Center on campus. Our team has raised over $500,000, welcomed 19 team members, obtained endorsements from student organizations across campus, and received authorization to establish an Asian American Center from UNC-CH’s Board of Trustees.
The AACC Team’s purpose is to advocate for a physical space and permanent resources that will promote Asian American culture an enrich the broader Chapel Hill community. We believe that the voices of Asian Americans deserve to be not only heard, but also promoted at UNC-CH and beyond. Through establishing permanent, University-supported resources, the AACC seeks to build community among a diverse network of Asian American Tar Heels.
We strive to (1) promote unity among diverse Asian American identities; (2) empower Asian American students to organize for institutional change; and (3) secure the necessary funds to open and sustain the AACC. Our campaign is only possible because of decades of student activism and efforts from communities of color that have worked to make Carolina a more inclusive space for all students, faculty and alumni.