Three women and gender studies students received this year's Jacob Van Ek scholarship, one of the College of Arts and Sciences' highest honors: Madie Boreman, Olivia Gardner, and Mariana Galvez Seminario. This award is given to exceptional undergraduates for their academic work and their community and campus involvement. Students are nominated by faculty mentors and chosen by committee, with one committee member noting “this year's selection committee was profoundly impressed by the number of applicants, by the academic accomplishments of all of the nominees, and by their shared commitment to and passion for service in innumerable venues.”

MBMadie Boreman is a senior double-majoring in psychology and women and gender studies, and was nominated for this award by Dr. Deepti Misri. Dr. Misri detailed Madie's "impressive academic performance as well as the valuable service she has been doing at CU to build an inclusive climate, all alongside a challenging schedule as a dedicated student athlete with CU’s women’s cross country and track & field teams." Misri writes that Madie is a "deeply engaged and committed student," citing her high level of preparation, in-class participation, and the quality of her academic writing.

Madie was the 2019 recipient of WGST's Lucile Berkeley Buchanan scholarship for her activism and bravery in taking action against racial injustice by taking a knee during the national anthem at an NCAA championship race. Misri acknowledged her courageous gesture, explaining that "this act was not a one-off nod to racial and gender justice and equity on Madie’s part, but part of a larger and ongoing commitment to an inclusive environment at CU Boulder as well as the surrounding community."

Despite her intense athletic and academic schedule, Madie has shown consistent commitment to building an inclusive climate at CU, and we are incredibly proud she has been recognized as a 2020 Van Ek Scholar.

OGOlivia Gardner graduated this May with degrees in Ethnic Studies and women and gender studies with a minor in leadership studies. She was nominated for this award by Dr. Joanne Belknap of Ethnic Studies, with support from the faculty in the School of Education's CU Engage program. Olivia has been active on and off campus in a number of roles, including working for the Center for Inclusion and Social Change, the Women's Resource Center, CU Dialogues,The Marigold Project, helped organize the March for our Lives, and was the director of diversity and inclusion for CU Student Government. "Liv has been one of those students who 'does it all,'" notes Dr. Belknap, "she is most certainly already a leader at her young age."

"In the School of Education and CU Engage, Olivia’s name is synonymous with intersectional social justice leadership," adds Dr. Krishna Pattispau. "She is a visionary who puts in the hard work to bring social justice efforts to life." Olivia's strong work ethic and dedication to improving her community was repeatedly mentioned by her nominators, as was her passion for gender and ethnic studies and her bravery at challenging injustices and encouraging organizations around her to do better. "I am in constant awe of the scope of social justice work she not only undertakes, but executes seamlessly and with a spirit of critical self-reflection," writes Dr. Pattispau. "She truly is an exemplary undergraduate student who is destined for a career in education that will continue to inspire me."  We congratulate Olivia on being named a 2020 Van Ek scholar!

MGSMariana Galvez Seminario is a senior double-majoring in sociology and women and gender studies, and an active student in the Miramontes' Arts & Sciences Program (MASP). They were nominated for the Van Ek award by Dr. Lorraine Bayard de Volo, professor and chair of WGST.

"Mariana is one of the hardest working students that I have come to know," writes Dr. Bayard de Volo. "They have a deep-seated passion for political and critical theory, an excellent facility for analytical thinking, and a strong understanding of specific socio-political contexts."

Dr. Celeste Montoya also reports that Mariana is “one of the most impressive students I’ve have ever had the opportunity to work with. Mariana is an extremely intelligent, motivated, hardworking, and capable student. They have persevered through some substantial challenges in life and have come through with the utmost integrity.” Mariana has served as a learninig assistant and research assistant for Dr. Montoya, assisting with data collection and coding, analysis, and helping to co-author two papers this past year, one on contemporary Latina activism and the other on Latinx identity as a political orientation.

Dr. Kristie Soares has enjoyed having Mariana in class, and they have worked together in the Gender Justice League. As Dr. Soares explains, “Mariana has the ability to understand complicated theoretical concepts quickly and profoundly, and then apply these lenses to their own independent research project. In each class, they have conducted independent research that, if expanded, could easily be graduate work.” Dr. Soares also commended Mariana for their maturity and drive, citing their voraciousness for community work, social justice and reproductive justice. Mariana frequently presents at Colorado Legislative hearings as a Policy Fellow with COLOR, presents invited talks on reproductive justice, and attends national conferences. "Turning to community engagement, it is no exaggeration to say that I find Mariana to have the most impressive list of accomplishments of any student with whom I have had the pleasure to work," writes Dr. Bayard de Volo. We congratulate Mariana in being recognized as a 2020 Van Ek Scholar!

Read more about all of this year's Van Ek scholars in the A&S Magazine.