At the presentation of the Diversity Initiative Office awards are (from left) Margaret Andersen, Brian Chad Starks, Angela Seguin, Alina Ehsan, Christina Baez, Brett Tielman-Fenelus, Abigail Samuels, Jeremy Mathis, Karla Bell, Natalie Cook and Domenico Grasso.

Making a difference

Awards honor individuals, groups for commitment to diversity


8:46 a.m., May 28, 2014--The University of Delaware Diversity Initiative Office recently recognized several individuals and groups for their commitment and effort toward the work of diversity on campus at its annual awards ceremony. 

“Enhancing diversity on our campus is a collective effort and one that is multi-faceted and will need to be sustained if we are to continue moving forward on this core value of the University,” said Margaret Andersen, interim vice provost for faculty affairs and diversity

Honors Stories

National Medal of Science

President Barack Obama recently presented the National Medal of Science to University of Delaware alumnus Rakesh Jain.

Warren Award

Rosalind Johnson, assistant dean for student success in the NUCLEUS Program in UD's College of Arts and Sciences, was presented the John Warren Excellence in Leadership and Service Award during a May 26 ceremony.

This year’s recipients include Angela Seguin, Karla Bell, Brian Chad Starks, Jeremy Mathis, The Diversity Enrichment Leaders, Natalie Cook and Abigail Samuels. 

“Through your work, you are helping us to embrace all the elements of a diverse university from race and ethnicity, to gender, age, sexual orientation, economic background and more,” said Provost Domenico Grasso. 

The E. Arthur Trabant Award for Women's Equity, awarded to an individual, department, administrative unit or committee who has contributed to equity for women at the University, was presented to Angela Seguin, program coordinator for Student Wellness and Health Promotion. She was cited for her tireless and passionate work to ensure that UD’s campus is safe and equitable, particularly for survivors of gender-based violence. 

The Louis L. Redding Diversity Award, created to recognize individuals or units at UD whose efforts have promoted, enhanced and implemented diversity programs or activities that have resulted in a significant change in the campus climate and composition within the University community, was given to Karla Bell and Brian Chad Starks for their outstanding service and commitment. 

Bell is the director of Clinical Education and co-chair of the LGBT Faculty/Staff Caucus. She was cited for creating a place for the LGBTQ community to have a resource for support, social and professional networking; and for providing a voice to LGBT specific concerns. 

Starks is the associate director for the Delaware Space Grant, which is run by NASA and supports STEM training and research infrastructure in order to ensure a well –prepared workforce for NASA’s future activities. Starks was honored for his fresh, honest and direct conversations about race, recruitment and retention as it relates to his agenda for programmatic diversity improvement. 

The Student Ambassador for Diversity Award, given to an undergraduate and graduate student organization whose efforts foster diversity and inclusion on campus, went to Jeremy Mathis and the Diversity Enrichment Leaders

Mathis was cited for his professional and sophisticated touch to the work he performs with HAVEN and collaborative projects with the LGBT Faculty/Staff Caucus. 

Diversity Enrichment Leaders was cited for reaching out to hundreds of students and implementing Destination Delaware, an overnight open house event that provides admitted multicultural students with an opportunity to stay on campus in a residence hall, attend academic sessions and meet current students and faculty throughout campus. 

The Bessie Collins Award was given to Natalie Cook, a second-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. The award, established to honor the former dean of women, Bessie B. Collins, an early advocate and supporter of continuing education for women, serves to continue that support and encouragement of women students and to recognize the variety of perspectives, diversity, and richness adult students bring to the University community. Cook was honored for her impeccable preparation to level the playing field for low-income children and families. She has also contributed to the re-envisioning of the ASPIRE Program, working closely with students who are struggling personally or academically. 

The Mae Carter Award, awarded to an undergraduate woman student at the University who carries the values that Mae Carter has represented to the University community of women, was presented to Abigail Samuels, who has already established herself as a valuable advocate for both regional and national domestic violence and sexual assault service organization.  She also serves as a peer mentor, teaching assistant, student representative to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Committee and an executive committee member for Student Acting for Gender Equality. 

For more information and to see a list of past winners, visit

Article by Dana Brittingham

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