Faculty member, students among President’s Diversity Award recipients

CU community members invited to April awards reception
By Staff

The CU President’s Diversity Award committee has announced four awards and three commendations for 2017.

The President’s Diversity Award recognizes significant achievements of faculty, staff, students and academic or administrative units in developing a culturally diverse university community reflective of inclusive excellence. Award recipients receive $2,000.

The 2017 recipients will be recognized at a reception set for 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 28, at 1800 Grant St. All members of the university community are invited to attend. Click here for event details and registration information.


Lecia Barker, associate professor, Information Science, CU Boulder

Professor Lecia Barker has a longstanding commitment to increasing gender equity and representation in the field of information technology, locally and nationally, via collaboration with the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), and in her work and research. As stated in her nomination letter, “She has developed approximately 30 best practice reports that translate research into actions that can be taken by institutions to improve the balance and experience of women in the computing disciplines; these reports cover such topics as retaining women through inclusive pedagogy, and strategic recruiting practices to increase women in computer science.” To promote the advancement of women in computing, Barker has received grants exceeding $7 million, including support from Avaya Corp,, National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.

Paul Le, graduate student, CU Denver

Paul Le is a doctoral student in the Department of Integrative Biology on the Denver campus and is actively involved in efforts to increase opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This also is the focus of his Ph.D. dissertation, which is being supported by the National Science Foundation. Besides his work in STEM, he is an advocate for LGBTQ and social justice issues on campus and beyond. Le’s service to the campus community includes serving as a graduate student representative for the Council on Diversity and Inclusion and the Integrative and Systems Biology Graduate Advisory Committee, and as an officer for the Auraria Campus Genders and Sexualities Alliance. He was a member of the host committee of the National Conference for LGBT Equality and the Gay-Straight Alliance Leadership Summit and has given his time to a number of other worthy events.

Johnnie Nguyen, undergraduate student, CU Denver

Johnnie Nguyen is a first-generation student studying political science. His efforts to promote diversity and inclusion are evident at the University of Colorado, but extend well beyond due to his work in the local community and his involvement at the state and federal level. He challenges preconceptions in the classroom, has interned for a federal agency, staffed campaigns, served on student government, and volunteered for numerous community organizations. His impact is far-reaching. As noted by his nominator, “He aligns his activism and advocacy by tapping his background in diversity and being a first-generation student to open doors for others as he feels grateful to have so many doors open to him.” He advocated for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (2016), served as a fellow for the Washington Leadership Program (2015) and is currently a legislative aid in the Colorado State House of Representatives.

Undergraduate Pre-Health Program, Office of Inclusion and Outreach, CU Anschutz Medical Campus

The Undergraduate Pre-Health Program (UPP) supports undergraduates who are underrepresented in higher education and helps them to pursue careers in the health professions. Students participate in a 13-month program that offers “mentorship, academic and community support, internships, and networking.” As of spring 2017, 171 of 285 (60 percent) UPP participants matriculated into a graduate or professional program. As noted in a letter supporting the nomination of the program, “(UPP’s) accomplishments and contributions are vast; not only crossing interdisciplinary boundaries but also having meaningful, lasting impact on individual students and the patients and communities those students will go on to serve.”


  • Manuel Castro, graduate student, CU Denver
  • Jasmin Torres, undergraduate student, CU Boulder
  • Knapsack Institute, Matrix Center, UCCS