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UW–Madison’s DDEEA celebrates 15th cohort of Outstanding Women of Color

March 8, 2023 By Kori Kefene
Six woman stand on a stage with a lit-up "Outstanding" sign next to them. A man stands behind them.

The 2023 winners of the Outstanding Women of Color award, left to right, are Ashley Scott, Dr. Maichou Lor, Patty Cisneros Prevo, Dr. Ruthanne Chun, Spring Sherrod and Dr. Terri L. Young. Behind them is Chief Diversity Officer Dr. LaVar J. Charleston. Photo by Andy Manis

One day after the start of Women’s History Month, the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement (DDEEA) hosted the 15th annual Outstanding Women of Color Awards Reception.

This year’s cohort of winners were Dr. Ruthanne Chun, Patty Cisneros Prevo, Dr. Maichou Lor, Ashley J. Scott, Spring Sherrod, and Dr. Terri L. Young, all of whom have a long list of achievements.

The award, which was created in 2007, honors the women of color on campus and in the community who have gone above and beyond in the pursuit of excellence, and who make important contributions to our community. The reception in Varsity Hall in Union South featured remarks from various faculty, staff, nominators, and awardees. In addition to the live audience, it was streamed online.

The awardees are chosen based on their engagement in social justice, activism, and advocacy on behalf of disadvantaged and marginalized populations. The nominating committee also considers the nominees’ community service, community building, scholarly research, writings and education that advance further discussions surrounding race, ethnicity and indigeneity.

The ceremony began with introductory remarks from Deputy Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Dr. LaVar J. Charleston and Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin, before awardees were presented with a bouquet and a plaque. During their acceptance speeches, the awardees recounted some of the influences on their work and expressed gratitude for the support they received from their families and the communities.

They also identified how their passion for others led them to enact change. These actions ranged from developing veterinary and social services for the homeless and low-income to developing word recognition software for the Hmong population and working to lessen the cardiovascular disease burden through scientific research, to name a few. These women are leaders in social and racial justice efforts across a broad range of educational and occupational areas and are, in many cases, locally, nationally and internationally known to facilitate significant impact on a broad range of constituents.

Throughout the evening, attendees celebrated the women and recognized them as change agents who use their voices to help countless constituents on campus and beyond.

“A wise person once said that legacy is not what you leave for people, it is what you leave in people,” said Dr. Charleston told the honorees. “Thank you for inspiring us all. We see you, we appreciate you, and we celebrate you today and every day.”

A man speaks at a podium, and gestures.

Chief Diversity Officer Dr. LaVar J. Charleston addresses the crowd at the Outstanding Women of Color awards reception. Photo by Andy Manis