2022 Inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Impact Award

Congratulations to two of our very own: Reyes Quezada, ’83 (MEd), EdD – SOLES and Sarina Molina, ’10 (EdD) – SOLES!

On a rare, rainy afternoon, inside the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, the 2022 Inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Impact Award ceremony kicked off on Tuesday in a room of people filled with hope and gratitude and an eye on the horizon.

The event was hosted by the University of San Diego’s Center for Inclusion and Diversity. The award was created to recognize outstanding faculty members and staff from the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences and the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, for their work with helping communities of color, as well as those who are underserved and marginalized.

Surrounded by family and colleagues, the six recipients — Reyes Quezada, ’83 (MEd), EdD – SOLES; Sarina Molina, ’10 (EdD) – SOLES; Odesma Dalrymple, PhD – SMSE; Rhonda Harley, MS – SMSE; Jesse Mills, ’04 (MA); ’08 (PhD) – CAS; and Pauline Berryman Powell, MA – CAS; received the award at the hands of President James T. Harris III, Provost Gail Baker and Vice Provost Regina Dixon-Reeves.

Rhonda Harley, who works as interim senior director of career development at the school of engineering, expressed gratitude for feeling “seen and heard” for her work supporting and mentoring students in the STEM disciplines.

“The university campus is an ecosystem that is comprised of a lot of people, all of whom are important and some of our staff are just as important if not more for creating that sense of inclusivity that we need to foster here,” said Farrah Karapetian, a member of the award committee. “So the committee really felt strongly that each school should have two awards, one for faculty and one for staff.”

Aside from a certificate and a plaque, the awardees also will receive a stipend of $1,000 for their work. Nominees who were not selected will also be recognized with a certificate.

The award was created in 2021 to honor and recognize Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) experiences on campus. The award was established in response to an open letter written in 2020 by Black faculty members. It highlights the often under-recognized work by those who mentor members of the BIPOC community and contribute to cultural changes on campus and in the community.

The inaugural award ceremony is also part of the Horizon Project — a five-year plan led by President James T. Harris III in collaboration with partners across campus. The Horizon Project will help build a more inclusive campus community by setting specific strategic goals that touch on strengthening diversity, inclusion and social justice in a more diverse, multicultural and global world.

Whether through their research, their work with students at the University of San Diego or through their community partnerships, these dedicated award recipients have made it their mission to level the playing field in higher education.

While they differ in their area of study and work, the awardees were united by their passion for making positive changes at USD, recognizing the accomplishments made thus far and outlining the incredible work that lies ahead.

As Dr. Dalrymple put it, “this is difficult work, be kind to yourself, it’s not an easy process and we’re going to make mistakes.”  Perhaps Berryman Powell’s closing remarks, describe it best when she said that the work of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will require all of us to harambee, which in Swahili means to pull together.

And if this award ceremony made something clear, it is that, here at USD, we must all harambee and push forward into a more inclusive and united horizon.

— Lissette Martinez

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