Since 2000, the Women Who Make a Difference award has recognized women who have impacted our community by serving as teachers, mentors, mothers and advocates. Originally given by the Women's Resource Center, this tradition is now continued by the Center for Inclusion and Social Change.
WGST is proud to introduce two special recipients of the Women Who Make a Difference award for 2019: Sophia Surage and Olivia Gardner.
Sophia is a program coordinator at the CU Volunteer Resource Center (VRC), where she specializes in events and community partnerships. She is also a CU Boulder alumna, graduating in 2014 with degrees in ethnic studies and women and gender studies. During her time as a student at CU, Sophia was the recipient of the Jean Dubofsky Scholarship in Women and Gender Studies, a very active member of the Gender Justice League, and was chosen by her peers to give a student commencement speech during our departmental graduation ceremony.
Sophia was nominated for the Women Who Make a Difference Award alongside her coworkers at the VRC, who were commended for being "a bedrock of the Volunteer Resource Center". The nominator went on to say that "watching them support students, take on challenges, and build a great atmosphere in the center has been incredible. They are setting such a positive example for our students to follow.” The VRC began at CU Boulder in 1965, to help connect students with volunteer programs, and to develop socially responsible student leaders who understand, advocate for, and provide services to meet campus and community needs.
"I’m grateful for my supervisor and CISC for the opportunity to be recognized through Women Who Make a Difference 2020," writes Sophia. "I nominated womxn professors for this award when I was a student at CU Boulder and it is very special to be recognized now as a CU Boulder Staff member. Thank you to this program for celebrating womxn whose work and impact might otherwise go unrecognized."
Olivia is a senior at CU Boulder, double-majoring in ethnic studies and women and gender studies, and also a student in the INVST program. Olivia has been active across campus, including working in the Center for Inclusion and Social Change and the CU DIalogues program, and is the current CUSG Director of Diversity and Inclusion. In her current role, she has played a large part in working with campus administration to improve campus anti-racism policies, resources and training for the campus community.
Olivia's nominator shared their praise in their nomination letter: “As an INVST student, a co-founder of Transformative Teach, an organization dedicated to creating more racial justice and economic justice in public schools, as a Black Student Alliance member and a CUSG officer who leads on diversity and inclusion campaigns on and off-campus, Olivia is MY role model. (And I am about 20 years her senior).”