Four receive first UMSI diversity awards
Four individuals, two students and two members of the staff and faculty in the University of Michigan School of Information, have been honored with the first-ever UMSI Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards.
Recipients of the UMSI Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award were Mariama Weaver, Allison Sweet, and Sarita Yardi Schoenebeck. Vidhya Aravind received the Award for Gender Diversity in Information and Technology.
Mariama Weaver, a UMSI graduate student, was noted for doing a wonderful job improving the experience at UMSI for students from under-represented populations. They quickly grew as a leader at UMSI and have helped create a space for students who might not have felt heard or welcomed otherwise.
Allison Sweet, UMSI graduate programs manager, was part of a group that piloted the UMSI Leadership Series in 2015. The series encompasses identity development and training, multicultural training, conflict resolution and inclusive leadership. She has also been a leader in the school's commencement activities to ensure accessibility needs, for visually and hearing impairments, limited mobility and dietary restrictions.
Sarita Schoenebeck, assistant professor of information, was noted for her scholarship on LGBT families and online communities, “a nuanced, respectful and strong example to diversity in this field,” according to one nomination. Her attention to diversity and issues of social justice was particularly evident in her work teaching SI 529, Online Communities, which theory and practice surrounding online interaction environments.
Vidhya Aravind, a UMSI graduate student and a trans woman of color, was recognized for her efforts to create relationships between people within the queer community as well as doing social justice work to bring awareness and fight for trans rights. Aravind, a volunteer student coordinator for CommonGround, “embodies the very essence of these awards. Her strides toward a more inclusive campus and involvement with Students 4 Justice are only a portion of a testament to how she is passionate about social justice,” according to one of her nominations.
This year marks the first time UMSI has bestowed the awards, which were first outlined by the 2015-2016 Diversity Committee. Nominations came from students, staff and faculty. The recipients will receive a cash award, recognition on the UMSI flat screens and their names on a plaque to be displayed in the UMSI hallways.