Seven honored as UW–Madison Outstanding Women of Color

Sept. 19, 2013

by Valeria Davis

Seven winners of the 2012-13 University of Wisconsin-Madison Outstanding Women of Color awards, who are deeply rooted in both the campus and the Madison community in their work toward social justice, service, research and community building, will be honored at a reception on Wednesday, Sept. 25, from 5-7 p.m. in the Lowell Center Dining Room.

This year’s honorees include:

Desiree Alva, assistant director, Diversity Affairs Office (DAO), College of Engineering

Karma Chávez, assistant professor of communication arts & Chican@ and Latin@ studies;

Wilma Callaway, assistant director and Mentor Program director, Center for Educational Opportunity (CEO);

Roberta Hill, professor of English & American Indian studies, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies;

Saemyi Park, doctoral candidate in political science;

Li Chiao-Ping, chair and professor, Dance Department; and

CarmenValdez, associate professor of counseling psychology.

The Outstanding Women of Color Awards were created in 2007 to recognize students, faculty and staff for their service to the community in one or more of the following areas: social justice; advocacy for disadvantaged and/or marginalized populations; scholarly research, writing, speaking and/or teaching about race, ethnicity and indigeneity in American society; and community building to create an inclusive and respectful environment on- or off-campus.

The selection committee has also nominated Valdez and Hill to receive the UW System 18th Annual Outstanding Women of Color in Education Awards.

This year’s seven honorees are the largest cohort to be selected to date, says Ruby Paredes, interim associate vice provost and assistant vice chancellor for diversity and climate. The growing campuswide awareness of the annual honor is gratifying, she adds.

“People are beginning to recognize how important the awards are and actively looking for women who deserve to be recognized for their outstanding work, tremendous leadership and personal contributions to our society. That’s the purpose of the award,” Paredes says. "But they are not being honored simply for being women of color. Every candidate selected for the title 'Outstanding Woman of Color in Education’ truly merits the designation among all women in education."

As is the celebration’s tradition, a 2012 honoree will serve as mistress of ceremonies for this year’s event. Tonya Brito, a Law School professor who joined the faculty in 1997 and was honored last year by both the Madison campus and UW System, will lead this year’s event.