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14th Annual Diversity Awards

Undergraduate Award

Grace Stevens (’22)

Business Administration major/Environmental Science and Studies minor

Grace has demonstrated a commitment to DEI at UNC, on both a personal and organizational level. Grace has personally experienced a lack of DEI at UNC, prompting her to advocate for herself and other students. Through entering spaces that allowed for advocacy like the Community, Equity and Inclusion Board at Kenan Flagler, she was able to advocate for her peers and most recently begin an equity proposal with other board members that looked into equitable classroom policies to create a resource of common standards that could aid in making Kenan Flagler’s classrooms more inclusive.

In addition, Grace holds several leadership positions which focus on improving DEI, on campus and in our surrounding community. For example, Grace has served as a Racial Equity Coordinator for a local non-profit Grow Your World, where she was able to help address economic inequities through education. Here, she helped restructure the organization and expand its mission of incorporating lessons on resiliency and interest-based learning into youth tutoring. She created intentional programming that incorporated students’ personal interests and critical race theory into their everyday subjects that facilitated learning and personal development in a way the children enrolled were able to enjoy.

In addition, Grace is the Head of Professional Development for the Minority Business Student Alliance at Kenan-Flagler in which she helps provide resources and professional development events that can expand members’ industry knowledge as well as comfortability interacting in spaces that historically have not been representative of them. Creating spaces within the business school and in business fosters a sense of community and support, which is often lacking in an environment where outreach is difficult.

Additionally, as Grace was applying to the business school, she recognized the barriers that made it more difficult for her to apply and that this was an experience many other students of color had. There were opportunity and knowledge gaps that made candidates less

involved. These factors–along with the intimidating business school environment–have led to lower admission rates for students of color. To combat these barriers, Grace personally mentored students through the Allison Mentorship Program (AMP) and the Minority Advising Program (MAP). The AMP offers application readiness support and professional development for low-income and minority students who are interested in applying to the Kenan-Flagler business school. This program historically has a 100% acceptance rate for all mentees, which largely contributes to diversity within the student body at Kenan-Flagler.

In the future, Grace hopes to continue her impact through education by pursuing a JD/MBA and then going into impact investment. She hopes to continue to develop more sustainable communities by working with community members in multiple capacities to not only incorporate DEI but also foster a sense of authentic belonging for everyone.

Graduate/Professional/Post Doc Student Award

Tayliz Rodriguez

Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry, College of Arts & Sciences

My name is Tayliz Rodriguez and I am a 5th-year graduate student in the Department of Chemistry at UNC. I obtained my undergraduate degree in chemistry at Florida International University. Throughout my time as an undergrad at FIU and grad school at UNC, I’ve been fortunate to have incredible mentors, who have encouraged me to develop my own skills as a mentor and serve as a mentor to others. During my time at UNC, I’ve served as the co-president of AM_WISE (Allies for Minorities and Women in Science), which is an advocacy organization housed in the chemistry and physics departments. Through AM_WISE, I worked with a team of graduate students and postdocs to develop and launch a peer mentoring program for first-year graduate students (Graduate Achievement through Mentorship), distribute and analyze a recurring departmental climate survey, and work continuously to empower minoritized graduate students and postdocs in our departments. Within AM_WISE, I’ve worked closely with faculty-led committees to develop new departmental initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in the chemistry department and the broader community. In addition, I’ve led the Chemistry Graduate Committee for Professional Development, which aims to provide all students and postdocs with the resources to forge their careers by increasing awareness of the exciting and diverse careers available to chemistry PhDs and facilitating networking with professionals.

Staff Award

Kim Allen, PhD

Director, Kenan Scholars

Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

Kenan-Flagler Business School

At UNC, Kim heads up the Kenan Scholars program, the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise’s signature student program, which provides a world-class, transformative experience for undergraduate students of Kenan-Flagler Business School. With a focus on cross-sector collaboration, leadership, and research, scholars are committed to using their business skills and knowledge to advance the public good.

Kim has more than 25 years of leadership experience in education, community engagement, and nonprofit management in organizations such as UNC-Chapel Hill, the NAACP, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. History & Public Policy Center, where she served as executive director.

A strategic growth-minded self-starter, Kim is also an expert at leading organizations on their DEI journeys to increase organizational performance. She is highly successful in increasing diversity, workplace satisfaction, and stakeholder engagement with a deep commitment to the understanding group and organizational cultures and advancing positive change. Kim is goal-oriented, has exceptional interpersonal skills, and has a talent for overcoming challenges, generating solutions, producing impactful results, and exceeding performance expectations.

Kim holds a doctorate in cultural anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she focused on environmental justice activism in rural North Carolina, and a Bachelor of Science in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University.

Kim lives in Durham, close to the apples of her eye, and her 3 grandchildren in neighboring Chapel Hill. She is most proud of her son Allen Buansi, a civil rights attorney and committed public servant.

Trinnette Cooper, MPH

Manager, Inclusive Excellence & Outreach

Gillings School of Global Public Health

Trinnette Cooper is originally from Tarboro, North Carolina, and currently resides in Durham. Committed to living inclusively, Trinnette is known for employing a holistic approach to student support, student advocacy, and student success! She shows up to students, as well as peers, as a mentor, coach, confidant, cheerleader, accountability partner, and friend. Currently, she is intentionally working to promote student wellbeing – including normalizing therapy and advocating for other transformative self-care practices in academia.

Trinnette has been at UNC Gillings for over nine years and during that time she has implemented several programs dedicated to the budling community while promoting academic success, professional development, and degree completion. Throughout her career, her professional and personal work has centered on the success of students, specifically students of historically underrepresented and underserved groups, and the analysis, evaluation, and assessment of programs throughout and across the academic pipeline. For over seven years, Trinnette has served as the staff advisor to the Minority Student Caucus, and working with students in this capacity is a major highlight of her career in higher education. She is 100% invested in getting students to be whole, healthy, and happy individuals. Trinnette is the Manager of Inclusive Excellence and Outreach in the Gillings Office of Inclusive Excellence and prior to this role, she served as the Coordinator for Diversity Programs and Recruitment in the Gillings Office of Student Affairs.

In addition to proudly representing her hometown, Trinnette always radiates with pride as an HBCU alumna and as an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®.

Faculty Award

Trenette Goings, PhD, MSW

Sandra Reeves Spears & John B. Turner Distinguished Professor

School of Social Work

Trenette Clark Goings, Ph.D. is the Sandra Reeves Spears and John B. Turner Distinguished Professor of Social Work and founding director of the INSPIRED Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work.Her research focuses on racial and ethnic health disparities with a primary emphasis on the epidemiology, etiology, and prevention of substance use and other risky behaviors among adolescents and young adults of color. Her work has been consistently funded over the past decade– mostly by the National Institutes of Health – and has yielded over 80 publications including a book on African American families and nearly 70 peer-reviewed articles in leading peer-reviewed journals including Drug & Alcohol Dependence, Addiction, Development & Psychopathology, Addictive Behaviors, and Health Psychology. She is currently the principal investigator of two major grants funded by the NIH/NIDA and SAMHSA totaling approximately $3.3 million dollars. She has been featured in global media such as MD India, WCHL radio station, and The Dinner Club on WRSV FM radio station. 

Dr. Goings is associate editor of Ethnicity & Health and serves on several national committees including the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Committee on Publications and as a standing member of the NIH Community Influences on Health Behavior Study Section (CIHB), Healthcare Delivery and Methodologies Integrated Review Group (HDM), Center for Scientific Review (CSR). She is the recipient of the Society for Social Work and Research Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Achievement Award, Making a Difference PhD Alumni Award from the School of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Excellence in Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award in the UNC School of Social Work. 

In her spare time, Dr. Goings enjoys traveling to blue spaces with her family, reading, interior decorating, and spending time with her friends. 

Michal Osterweil, PhD, MA

Teaching Associate Professor, Global Studies

Michal is a Teaching Professor in the Curriculum in Global Studies (CGS) where she has been teaching since 2010 after earning her Ph.D. in Anthropology, with a certificate in Cultural Studies from UNC the same year. Michal’s teaching seeks to equip students with ways of understanding and denaturalizing many of the core institutions and histories that are presumed to be inevitable and natural– including the centrality of white supremacy, patriarchy, and colonialism to our current visions and practices of “the global”. Her advanced seminars focus on social movements as important sources for liberatory theories and practices. She serves as the CGS Internships Director, overseeing internship opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students and offering seminars and workshops focused on how to do global service and research in ways that avoid reproducing histories and practices of white supremacy. She serves as Diversity Liaison and chair of DEI for CGS, and she has designed and led two related campus-wide initiatives, Globally Oriented Interdisciplinary Pedagogy (GOIP) and Transformative Pedagogy in Times of Crisis that seek to create communities of practice for bringing anti-racist, anti-oppression practices into our pedagogy in ways that address and honor the full selves of faculty and students alike. These are based on her recent training and research in mindfulness, trauma-informed leadership, and other somatic modalities. She has also curated and led the Carolina Seminar on the Theory and Politics of relationality with Arturo Escobar, since 2011, and the Social Movement Working Group, beginning in 2003.

She continues to publish on her research on and with various social movements, and currently is co-authoring a book titled “Designing Relationality: Remaking and Restor(y)ing Life”, with Arturo Escobar and Kriti Sharma (for Bloomsbury Press), featuring her more recent research on Transformative and Healing Justice, Sacred Activism as well as other relational approaches to social change. In addition to her scholarly research, she is committed to cultivating new knowledge production practices beyond the university and is an active community member in Carrboro where she lives and hosts various public education events.

Alumni Award

 

Christopher Riddick, EdD (’00, BA; ’07, MPA)

Head of Client Experience, ReadySet

While Washington, DC is the city where he resides, Dr. Christopher Riddick is a proud son of North Carolina and hails from the rural county of Gates. His upbringing was significant in shaping his identity and fuels many of his passions today. Dr. Riddick has nearly fifteen years of experience in the management consulting industry, currently serving as Head of Client Experience and Principal at ReadySet, a diversity, equity, and inclusion boutique consulting firm. Prior to joining ReadySet, Dr. Riddick served in various consulting capacities at Deloitte Consulting, Accenture Federal Services, and Booz Allen Hamilton. He is intent on helping organizations truly exhibit what they frequently say but are often challenged to demonstrate: that people are their most valued assets.

Dr. Riddick received both his Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy Analysis and Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While an undergraduate at Carolina, Dr. Riddick was a member of the Mu Zeta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. He was also active in several student activities including serving as a counselor for Summer Bridge, a counselor for Project Uplift, a resident advisor in Ehringhaus Residence Hall, and the Local Student Government liaison for Carolina Student Government. Dr. Riddick was a saxophonist in UNC’s concert band, jazz lab band, and marching band. He was a drum major in the marching band during his senior year. As a graduate student, Dr. Riddick served as the Assistant Director of Summer Bridge.

Dr. Riddick also holds a Master of Science in Education from Indiana University. He completed his Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education in 2017, where his dissertation focused on barriers to racial and ethnic staff diversity in nonprofit organizations. He has actively remained connected to Rossier over the years, whether serving as an ambassador of the Organizational Change and Leadership doctoral program, serving as a mentor for Rossier’s Learning Design and Technology master’s program, appearing as a guest lecturer in several doctoral courses, or, most recently, serving as an adjunct faculty member in the Organizational Change and Leadership doctoral program.

Outside of his professional responsibilities, Dr. Riddick serves as vice-chair of a charter school board in Washington, DC. In addition, he serves as a member of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Visitors as well as Carolina’s Alumni Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity. In addition, he was recently appointed to the University of North Carolina School of Government Foundation Advisory Board as well as UNC’s School of Education’s Board of Visitors. In all these capacities Dr. Riddick is charged with promoting and advancing the university through engaging with diverse alumni.

But, most importantly, Dr. Riddick is a devoted husband and father of three. He is a lover of music, bacon, and bourbon and enjoys quality time with friends when any or all three are present.

Intergroup Collaboration Award

 

PhD-Chancellor’s Science Scholars Program

The Chancellor’s Science Scholars’ mission is to develop exceptional scientists by bringing together talented students from every background and supporting them as they pursue academic excellence, engage in cutting-edge research, build a collaborative community, and promote inclusion and equity for all. To do this, the program offers merit-based scholarships, research opportunities, professional development, leadership training, intensive mentorship, and other programming designed to pave the way for academic success and future achievement. Along the way, students join a community of Scholars committed not only to individual excellence, but also to challenging preconceptions of the scientist archetype and creating a more inclusive culture within the STEM academy.

UNC began the CSS program in 2013 as one of the first programs in the nation to successfully adapt the Meyerhoff model from the University of Maryland – Baltimore County to a preeminent research university, thereby demonstrating the value of building community, mentoring, and setting high expectations of Scholars. Together, these practices ensure that our Scholars are prepared to move into Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. programs after graduation and become part of the next generation of leaders in science and technology.

Life as a Scholar begins before students set foot on campus for their first year. A six-week immersion program called the Summer EXCELerator introduces them to the collaborative approach that is a hallmark of the CSS program and provides them with a head start to the STEM degree experience. At the conclusion of Summer EXCELerator, Scholars have earned seven credit hours towards their degree, familiarized themselves with campus buildings and resources, and built strong connections with their fellow cohort members, forming the basis of a valuable support network that will follow them through their undergraduate years.

To date, the CSS program has graduated six cohorts of Scholars, with more than 80% of alumni in STEM graduate programs, professional (i.e., medical, dental, or pharmacy) schools, or the STEM workforce. It boasts an impressive retention rate in STEM B.S. degree programs of 90%, higher than both the national average and the average at UNC. The program’s tenth cohort will enter UNC this fall.

We do not do this work alone. The success of the CSS program is only possible because of a network of offices across campus that are as committed to our mission and students as we are. From Academic Advising and Housing to the Summer School and M.D./Ph.D. Program at the UNC School of Medicine, this program has enjoyed the benefits of robust institutional support and collaboration.

Outside of its program mission, Scholars work to promote diversity and inclusion efforts in the Carolina community through the creation of new student organizations like Black in Tech and queer_hack, as well as establishing collegiate chapters of national organizations such as NOBCChE and the Association of Computing Machinery. CSS Scholars serve as peer mentors and teaching assistants in UNC’s STEM departments, visible mentors and leaders in the Carolina residential life community, and valued contributors to campus-wide leadership committees.

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