CU community members recognized with President's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards

Honorees from across system to be celebrated at April 24 event
By Staff

CU President Todd Saliman is pleased to announce the President's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award recipients. This annual recognition honors individuals and units who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and significant contributions to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion across CU.

President Saliman and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards committee announced the 2023-24 honorees ahead of an awards reception scheduled for April 24 at 1800 Grant St. Recipients of the honor receive $2,000 and a commemorative award.

"Recognizing these outstanding members of the CU community is so important and such an honor," President Saliman said. "I'm incredibly grateful to this year's award winners, and to the members of the DEI Awards Committee, all of whom are going above and beyond to advance diversity, equity and inclusion across the university. It takes all of us working together to further this critical work and to reinforce CU's commitment to fostering a culture and environment on our campuses and at system administration where all students, faculty and staff can feel at home."

This year's CU President's DEI Awardees are:


Fernanda Cerros is a fourth-year undergraduate student at CU Boulder and will graduate with her bachelor's degree in international affairs and political science this May.

CU community members recognized with President’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards
Fernanda Cerros

Her advocacy and activism began as a senior in high school in Rifle, Colorado. In the thick of 2020, Cerros became aware of racial tensions in her community and was moved to action. She organized a vigil and march that amassed allies and gained press attention.

Upon graduating high school, Cerros moved with her family to Denver and has remained active in her community. She has been involved in several organizations including the Colorado Change Makers Collective, Public Achievement, Aquetza Youth Empowerment Program and the Puksta Scholarship program.

Through these organizations and experiences, she has mobilized for various causes including advocating for the undocumented community, serving as a mentor for youth, coordinating summer bridge opportunities for high school students, and advocating for underrepresented communities. According to her nomination letter, “rather than a top-down approach to leadership and DEI work, Cerros works directly with local youth at CU and in the community to advance diversity, equity and inclusion. As she involves others in her civic-engaged work and mentors others to create similar initiatives,” Cerros is “helping address another DEI goal: to prepare students to participate in a diverse democracy.”


Rebecca Henkind is a fourth-year medical student at the School of Medicine on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. Originally from New York City, she studied mathematics and economics and minored in Chinese language and literature at Emory University.

CU community members recognized with President’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards
Rebecca Henkind

In the years between undergrad and medical school, Henkind worked as a medical assistant at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and as an EMT on a county ambulance. During medical school, she secured more than $30,000 in grants to co-found and lead the CU Street Medicine student group. She hopes to continue serving people experiencing homelessness throughout her career.

Her nomination letter noted that CU Street Medicine is a “widely acclaimed program that provides care to hundreds of people experience homelessness, homeless health education to

students, and community service opportunities for health and pre-health professional students from multiple CU campuses including Anschutz, Boulder and Denver.” Henkind is a “leader who already shines in the field of health equity.”

Henkind will start her internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital this summer.


G. Carole Woodall, Ph.D., is an associate professor of modern Middle East history in the Department of History and co-director of the Asian Studies Minor at UCCS.

CU community members recognized with President’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards
G. Carole Woodall

She moved to Istanbul in 1991 and lived there for 11 years while pursuing a master's degree and later researching early jazz culture in 1920s Istanbul. The region informs her dedication to leading with compassion and centering the histories and lived experiences of marginalized people.

According to one of her nominators, “during her 15 years at UCCS, Carole has demonstrated a constant commitment to critical inclusive engagement from her teaching repertoire to cultural programming.”

In 2009 and 2011, she curated the interdisciplinary Intersections Film Festival, and in 2016, Woodall facilitated a three-day series at UCCS on “The U.S. and Islamophobia.” Last fall, she organized a two-part Palestine-Israel teach-in series with a commitment to the compassionate recognition of lives lost and the ways in which recent events have impacted the CU and broader Colorado community. Under her leadership, the nominator also stated that the teach-in facilitated “honest and open dialogue on such a contentious issue about such a painful set of current events. Carole was able to pull this off, not by herself, of course, as many others helped, but she was truly the inspiration and organizer.” Woodall was recently awarded the 2023 Middle East Studies Association Undergraduate Education Award.


Benjamin Ototivo, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist at Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) at CU Boulder. A proud member of the Comanche Nation, he grew up on the southern side of his tribal reservation in his native Oklahoma. He currently lives with his family in Colorado.

CU community members recognized with President’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards
Benjamin Ototivo

Ototivo earned his doctorate at the University of Oklahoma and completed his doctoral internship at the University of Northern Colorado, where he was the liaison to the cultural centers on campus. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, where he focused on mental health outreach and community development on campus with Indigenous and first-generation students.

He is currently a multicultural specialist and staff psychologist at CU Boulder. Throughout his career as a clinician and advocate, he has worked toward supporting and developing DEI and social justice efforts in higher education spaces. He now balances carrying a caseload of therapy clients with teaching diversity, equity and inclusion concepts and competencies to staff and staff-in-training.

With the help of the Social Justice and Multicultural Committee at CAPS, Ototivo has worked toward retooling policies and procedures to provide more equitable care to students. According to his nominators, “Ototivo embodies DEI and social justice values in all aspects of the work he does within CAPS. He was instrumental in creating the multicultural care tract for students within CAPS. This track relocated existing resources to allow additional therapy sessions at CAPS for students who do not otherwise have access to mental health care because of financial barriers, being uninsured/underinsured, or those who are unable to use their insurance due to cultural or family stigma. In addition, he was instrumental in creating the DEI resources tab on the CAPS website that provides access to the entire CU community on topics including identity-based trauma, reproductive rights, finding a culturally responsive therapist, self-care, and resources for allies and advocates.”

He is committed to supporting equity in mental health for underserved populations in our community.


Established in 2001, the Office of Diversity Affairs (ODA) at CU Boulder's Leeds School of Business is dedicated to fostering an inclusive environment for its diverse student body.

CU community members recognized with President’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards
The Office of Diversity Affairs at CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.

Through various initiatives, the ODA actively engages with underrepresented students before and throughout their time at Leeds, while fostering partnerships with local schools, community partners, alumni and businesses.

The cornerstone of ODA’s efforts is the Diverse Scholars Program, which supports about 300 undergraduates annually. Anchored in four key pillars — academic achievement, educational excellence, professional development, and community development — Diverse Scholars have access to high-impact programming and resources to ensure their success. Evidence of ODA’s work is seen in the achievements of Diverse Scholars, who outperform similar demographics at CU Boulder in retention rates, graduation rates and job placement. Diverse Scholars’ strong sense of belonging within the Leeds community also drives high engagement beyond Leeds, advancing scholars toward leadership roles, paid internship opportunities and mentorship.

As the nomination package noted, the “ODA Team does not slow down in the summer months; instead, that is when they conduct their most impactful recruiting, attracting talented applicants from underrepresented backgrounds to Leeds. Notably, the ODA’s successful array of pre-collegiate programs played a significant role in our historic enrollment year in 2023. The Leeds School’s Class of 2027 surpassed every enrollment goal to become the most diverse and academically gifted in the business school's history, while reaching gender parity for the first time. The ODA’s impact is felt across the entire Leeds community by adding diverse perspectives to classrooms and challenging stereotypes that can harm business outcomes. The tireless and innovative efforts of the ODA are most worthy of celebration and spotlight.”