Published: June 2, 2022

CU president’s office recognizes Donna Mejia, Paige Massey and Angel Sanchez for their work making the university a more diverse, equitable and inclusive place

Three members of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder are among those being recognized for their leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion across the university’s four-campus system.

The annual President’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards honor individuals and units demonstrating outstanding commitment and making significant contributions to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within the University of Colorado community. This year, there are seven recipients of the award, with three being from arts and sciences.

Donna Mejia, associate professor of dance, and Paige Massey, PhD student in philosophy, have won 2021-22 CU President’s DEI Awards. Additionally, Angel Sanchez, first-year academic advising supervisor, was recognized with an honorable mention.

Mejia’s contributions in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion are far reaching and deeply impactful, the president’s office stated. Mejia’s nomination noted that her work spans “four primary domains: student-centered work; leadership that supports the recruitment, retention and development of faculty, staff and students from historically underrepresented groups; research that centers DEI; community outreach that inspires collaborative learning across race, culture, language, history and more.”

Donna Mejia

Donna Mejia

Mejia invites, supports and inspires individuals and groups through her warmth, approachability, honesty and humor while encouraging them to “fumble forward” as they navigate nuanced and sensitive topics in their DEI learning and practices, the president’s office stated.

She was also credited with successfully launching countless initiatives and programs, including a six-session series, Conversations About Race; digital course Health, Society and Wellness in COVID-19 Times; Grounded Knowledge Panels and others.

Mejia’s contributions to DEI extend across the Boulder campus through her numerous official and unofficial roles, including as a faculty fellow and member of the Executive Committee of the Renée Crown Wellness Institute; the Inaugural Chancellor’s Scholar of Health and Wellness; affiliation with the Center for Teaching and Learning; a 2021-22 member of the Excellence in Leadership program; engagement with the Infrastructure and Sustainability team; and her partnerships and collaboration with 20 units at CU Boulder.

Massey joined CU Boulder as a philosophy PhD student in August 2019 and has devoted her time, talents and skills to advancing DEI. Her work centers on supporting students from historically minoritized groups and increasing access to higher education and the field of philosophy.

Paige Massey

Paige Massey

She serves as the chapter president of CU Boulder’s Minorities and Philosophy. In this role, she founded and continues to coordinate a mentorship program that pairs undergraduate mentees with graduate students and faculty mentors.

It serves about 60 students, 80% of whom identify as belonging to groups that are underrepresented in philosophy. She designs and facilitates student success workshops to address the barriers and unique needs of students, demystify the graduate program application process, and build community.

Massey helped establish an interdisciplinary team of graduate students and faculty in philosophy, sociology and economics to host the “Giving Games,” educational activities designed to inspire students to learn more about nonprofits and their work, charitable giving and bias.

She promotes access to philosophy through her involvement in the department’s outreach program, assisting with the creation of two free public reading groups in partnership with local public libraries.

Sanchez, who earned a BA in English literature from CU Boulder in 2017 and minored in ethnic studies, characterizes education as a “journey of self-discovery and reflection” that helps people become the best they can be. 

“My greatest goal in life is to ensure that anyone with a will and desire to learn and grow is provided that opportunity,” he says. 

Angel Sanchez

Angel Sanchez

Lily Board, the college’s assistant dean of academic advising and student success, said Sanchez has worked tirelessly to improve diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Nearly every single significant DEI initiative that has moved forward within our unit over the past three years has been informed and influenced by Angel’s wisdom, insights, and unwavering commitment to inclusive excellence,” Board said in her letter of nomination.

She added that the extensive list of initiatives on which Sanchez has worked “simply cannot fully capture the depth of care, compassion, and resourcefulness that Angel brings daily—to every single interaction—with students and colleagues alike. To truly experience inclusive excellence is to know—and be with—Angel Sanchez.”

Awardees were honored at a reception in April.

At the top of the page: From left to right, Dance Associate Professor Donna Mejia, First-Year Academic Advising Supervisor Angel Sanchez and Philosophy PhD candidate Paige Massey.