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Six UW-Madison women to be honored as 2016 Outstanding Women of Color  

March 2, 2017

The six winners of the 2016 University of Wisconsin–Madison Outstanding Women of Color awards will be honored at the annual celebratory reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, at the Edgewater Hotel, 1001 Wisconsin Place.  The event is free to the campus and community, but registration is requested.

These six women exemplify being deeply rooted in both the campus and the Madison community through their work toward social justice, service, research and community building.

This year’s honorees are:

Fabu Phillis Carter, poet, scholar, teaching artist, and outreach specialist, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center of the School of Medicine & Public Health;

Joan Fujimura, professor in the Department of Sociology and Holtz Center for Research on Science and Technology;

Binnu Palta Hill, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Wisconsin School of Business;

Sagashus Levingston, Tutor/mentor with the Odyssey Project, Co-teacher in the Odyssey Junior Program, and Founder of the “Infamous Mothers” Project;

Denise Thomas, coordinator of Title VII American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), Madison Metropolitan School District; and

Julissa Ventura, Ph.D. Candidate in Educational Policy Studies, and Fellow of the Morgridge Center for Public Service Community-University Exchange-South Madison.

Please register at

In 2007, UW–Madison launched an annual program of awards to women of color for outstanding service in higher education, said Ruby Paredes, associate vice provost in the Office of the Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer. The university has a multitude of accomplished women of color, Paredes said, and the celebration recognizes their exemplary work as well as how these individuals embody the university’s commitment to community outreach, especially in diversity.

“The growing campus-wide awareness of the annual honor focusing on women and their achievements continues to be very gratifying,” Paredes added. “As I’ve stated in the past, we are not honoring these women simply for being women of color.  These are women in higher education and the community, who deserve to be recognized for their outstanding work, tremendous leadership, and personal contributions to our society. That’s the purpose of the award.”

As is the celebration’s tradition, a 2015 honoree will serve as Mistress of Ceremony for this year’s event. Earlise Ward, associate professor in the School of Nursing, faculty at the Health Equity Leadership Institute (HELI), Institute for Clinical and Transitional Research, School of Medicine & Public Health, who was honored last year by both the Madison campus and UW-System, will lead this year’s event.

The 2016 Selection Committee members are:  

  • Jessica Behling, law student; senior intern, Office of the Vice Provost & Chief Diversity Officer, Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement
  • Aaron Bird Bear, assistant dean, School of Education
  • Nancy Blake, precollege coordinator, Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement
  • Jacqueline DeWalt, director of external relations, Partnerships & Development, Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement
  • Carl Grant, professor of Curriculum & Instruction, School of Education
  • Sharon Long, professor of Soil Science, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
  • Luis Piñero, director of the Office for Equity & Diversity, Assistant Vice Provost
  • Spring Sherrod, department manager, English Department
  • Lindsey Stoddard Cameron, faculty services, Office of the Secretary of the Faculty
  • Ilsa Valdez, Program Associate, MBA Program, Wisconsin School of Business
  • Ruby Paredes, assistant vice chancellor, Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement