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U’s Equity and Diversity Awards Recognize Leadership and Commitment for 19th Year

University of Utah doctoral student Samantha Eldridge (left), the Asian American Student Association and professor Mary Burbank will be recognized for their leadership and commitment to enhancing diversity throughout campus with the 2014 Equity and Diversity Awards.

April 9, 2014 – Two individuals and one organization will be recognized by the University of Utah’s Office for Equity and Diversity for their leadership and continuing commitment to enhancing diversity throughout campus. The recipients will be honored at the 19th annual awards luncheon on Wednesday, April 16, at the Rice-Eccles Stadium Tower.

Mary D. Burbank
Sustained Contributions by University Staff

Clinical Professor Mary D. Burbank has been at the University of Utah for 20 years and has been a tireless, unwavering and effective advocate for enhancing the diversity and quality of the U’s teacher education program. Her leadership played a key role in the reconceptualization of teacher education into what is now the Urban Institute for Teacher Education. In her role as the director for UITE, Burbank has created measures to recruit and retain more diverse pools of teacher candidates. One of these measures includes the hire of the first student recruitment coordinator, who is charged with diversifying the pool of applicants into the program. Equally important, the program considers the rapidly changing Utah demographics and focuses on cultural sensitivity and understanding for all teacher candidates.

Samantha Eldridge
Contributions in the Past Year by a Student

Samantha Eldridge is a doctoral student in the Department of Political Science. Eldridge is also a leader in bringing awareness of issues of campus climate to the forefront, specifically through her work with the student organization Indigenous Students and Allies for Change. Eldridge is deeply committed to educating all students, faculty and staff regarding the use of native imagery. ISAC has organized campus film screenings and guest speakers who can inform the local debate, all while engaging in national conversations about indigenous imagery on university campuses.

Asian American Student Association
Sustained Contributions by a Student Group

The Asian American Student Association at the University of Utah was established in 1992, dedicated to the pursuit of equity and social justice. It has since grown from a small group to become one of the largest and most active student organizations on this campus. AASA currently serves students from very diverse Asian American heritage, acknowledging the uniqueness of each group, but ensuring that their voices in unison are a force to be reckoned with. Indeed, AASA can be best described as a powerhouse—from collaborating with other student organizations, serving on campus committees, to leading efforts for student advocacy and social justice. During the past few years, the group has steadily increased its high school recruitment efforts, bringing almost 300 high school students for its annual conference on the U’s campus. AASA has also established regular programming for current university students, who describe the group as a family and support system away from home.

Each Equity and Diversity Award recipient is nominated via letters of recommendation submitted by colleagues, students and community members. The final selection is made by the awards committee of the Office for Equity and Diversity at the University of Utah.

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