Published: April 28, 2017 By
2017 Equity and Excellence Award winners

Front row, left to right: Anja Lange, Ayla Sullivan, Toby Bollig, Beverly Louie | Second row, left to right: Barbara Marshall, Valerio Ferme, Steven Gordy (accepting award on behalf of Cecilia Valenzuela) | Not pictured: Cecilia Valenzuela and Urooj Raja | Photo by CU student Carmen Marxuach

On Thursday, April 27, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE) presented the 2017 Equity and Excellence Award to seven people at the 32nd Equity and Excellence Celebration held in the Koenig Alumni Center.

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The Equity and Excellence (E&E) Award recognizes undergraduate and graduate students, staff and faculty who have worked to promote the principles of diversity and inclusive excellence in teaching, learning, higher education program management, or leadership practices and execution. 

Awardees are nominated by fellow campus community members for the annual award. This year, two undergraduate students, two graduate students, one faculty member and two staff members were honored.

Undergraduate awards

Ayla Sullivan
Sullivan is the communications coordinator at the Gender and Sexuality Center and was nominated by Scarlet Bowen, Samuel Flaxman and Akirah Bradley.

Bowen noted in the nomination packet, "Ayla quickly took on a much wider role [at the Gender and Sexuality Center] in providing advocacy, education and support for underrepresented people on campus . . . Ayla has advised the chancellor about the experiences of queer and transgender people of color, and they gave powerful testimony at the forum for assessing campus climate."

Toby Bollig
Bollig is majoring in physics and philosophy while minoring in jewish studies and was nominated by Floyd Pierce, Mike Roseberry and Core Priebe, who all mentioned his commitment to providing more accessibility on campus.

"Since his freshman year, Toby has been a member of the Chancellor's Accessibility Committee," said Pierce in his nomination for Bollig. "Toby put together information about accessibility requirements under Title IX and the ADA as well as additional accessibility guidelines for CU student groups."

Graduate awards

Urooj Raja
Raja was nominated by Vanessa Roberts, Glenda Walden and Tiya Trent. A graduate student in the Sociology Department, Raja also mentors for TRiO Student Support Services, where she works with 185 undergraduate students to overcome class and social barriers in pursuing higher education.

Cecilia Valenzuela
Valenzuela is a graduate research assistant and PhD candidate in the School of Education's Literacy Studies program. All of her nominees mentioned her commitment to recruiting students of color, especially those interested in becoming teachers.

Bridget Dalton noted in Valenzuela’s nomination, "One course she teaches is emblematic of her passion for, and commitment to, developing critical pedagogies that are more likely to make schools more just and equitable for all students, and especially those from non-dominant communities."

Faculty award

Anja Lange
Lange is a senior instructor in the College of Engineering and Applied Science's Herbst Program of Humanities. She was nominated by Paige Johnson, Leland Giovannelli and Abdullah Almarri.

"Dr. Anja Lange lives and breathes multiculturalism. She embraces all races, religions, genders and cultures," Leland Giocannelli’s nomination form said. "She contributes to diversity enhancement and inclusive excellence on a daily basis."

Staff awards

Barbara Marshall
Marshall, the assistant director of scholarships in the Office of Financial Aid, was nominated by Susan Youtz, David Martinez and David Aragon, who said in the nomination that Marshall has helped foster a "departmental commitment to inclusive excellence."

Beverly Louie
Louie is the director of teaching and learning initiatives at the The BOLD Center in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Her nomination, submitted by Lauren Duff, Sarah Miller, Amanda Parker and David Aragon, described Louie as a "champion" for diversity and inclusion.

About the award

Professor Emeritus Albert Ramirez began the Equity and Excellence Celebration in 1985 as a way to recognize those who have made significant contributions to diversity and inclusion at the University of Colorado Boulder.

ODECE seeks nominations for the Equity and Excellence Award to recognize undergraduate and graduate students, staff and faculty each year. For more information, visit the ODECE website.