President's Diversity Award winners announced

Members of faculty, staff, student communities to be recognized at ceremony
By Staff

University of Colorado faculty, staff and students are represented as winners of the annual President's Diversity Award, which recognizes significant achievements of individuals or administrative units toward developing a more culturally diverse, competent and inclusive university community.

Awardees will be recognized at an awards reception, 2:30-4 p.m. May 11 in the first floor conference room at 1800 Grant St. All are invited to attend; please RSVP by Thursday, May 5, to

2011 President's Diversity Awards Recipients

Faculty Award

Margarita Bianco, Ed.D., School of Education and Development, CU Denver
Bianco saw the need for low-income students to have role models that reflect the student populations within public schools, specifically within Denver Public Schools. As a result, she developed the Pathways2Teaching: A Pipeline to Diverse Future Teachers program. The program works with juniors and seniors at Montbello High School and introduces them to college through an Urban Education class that students take for college credit through the CU Succeed program. Students also are required to participate in an eight-week teaching training method program with fourth-graders and teach them vocabulary. Students learn how to interact with younger students and many said they have never felt so needed as they did by the students they helped. The program provides students with the confidence, knowledge and skills to pursue collegiate studies, with a hope that they become teachers. Bianco also serves on several campus and community boards and committees and is active with diverse programs outside the pipeline program.
Staff Award

David Turnquist, Facilities Operations, CU Denver
An exemplary role model for his staff within facilities operations, he oversees more than 300 employees and has created several diversity-related trainings throughout the year. With an employee who did not feel comfortable in his work environment, Turnquist created a diversity training program, with an emphasis on the GLBT Community, for all his staff to address the problem. He worked hard to create an overall diversity training video with two live interactive trainings and made the diversity trainings mandatory for all new and continual staff members. Turnquist is one of a few leaders who have made such a huge statement in their commitment to diversity among any of the CU campuses. His actions created a more welcoming environment for his staff and the trainings also have created a better and more respectful working environment.
Student Award

Nikita Patel, Disability Services/CU-LEAD Alliance Student Advisory Group, CU-Boulder
Patel received two letters of nomination. She serves as an assistant in the Disability Services office and works long hours to provide students with disabilities the materials they need in a timely manner. She decided to act as an ambassador for students with disabilities to provide them with appropriate classroom materials. Patel also has volunteered her time to coordinate a fundraising benefit for the Timmy Foundation for people in Ecuador. She also serves as co-chair on the Student Advisory Group for the CU-Leadership Excellence Achievement and Diversity Alliance. Patel participates in the Miramontes Arts and Sciences Program and is seen as a leader within the program. She motivates fellow students and recruits others within the general arts and sciences population. She is seen as a leader on campus and participates in several additional student groups and volunteers her time to other causes in addition to CU-LEAD, SAG and the Disability Services office.
Academic/Administrative Unit Award

Office of Global Education and TRiO SSS, CU Denver
TRiO and the Office of Global Education have collaborated to understand the interests and needs of at-risk and minority students, to identify sources of funding and to create a culture of study abroad among all students at CU Denver. Nationally, study abroad students are overwhelmingly white and from affluent backgrounds. These two departments are working together, without outside funding or additional funding from the university, to break these stereotypes about traveling abroad. They work together, along with an unpaid intern, to recruit students and to find scholarships. They ask those students who participated in the program to return and act as mentors and recruiters to encourage others to study abroad. The program's success has led those involved to serve as presenters at the annual Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities International Conference in Puerto Rico.

Colorado Diversity Initiative, College of Engineering, CU-Boulder
The mission of the Colorado Diversity Initiativeis to broaden access and participation of traditionally underrepresented students–undergraduates, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, by building faculty cooperatives that prioritize integration of minority talent into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) departments. The operations of the Colorado Diversity Initiative have had tremendous impact on the career trajectories of hundreds of minority students over the last generation–particularly graduate students. CU's graduation rate of doctoral students is about 65 percent, which can be credited to the CDI. The ultimate goal of CDI operations is to not only help diversify the state's institutions, but also become recognized for helping diversify the nation's faculty at large.
2011 President's Diversity Commendations

Daniel Montanez, Wardenburg Health Center, CU-Boulder
His life goal is to work in public health. Montanez is a volunteer with the Community Health Department and a member of the Pregnancy Planning Group. Currently a student worker in Wardenburg Health Center, he performs phlebotomy, patient reception duties and general lab maintenance. Montanez willingly performs additional duties, which include primary responsibility for ensuring reports are faxed to referring physicians outside CU, creation of a student training manual and scheduling of student employees. Besides being an exemplary student and worker, he volunteers with the Boulder I Have A Dream Foundation and the Boulder Move program, which combats childhood obesity.

Hallet Diversity Team, Hallet Residence Hall, CU-Boulder
The Hallet Diversity Team is a student-led group that performs several diversity-related events for the residents of Hallet Hall and the greater CU community. They coordinate an annual event, Tunnel of Oppression, which displays examples of social injustices that occurred on the Boulder campus and surrounding communities and aims to educate people on various intersecting forms of oppression. The team developed an anonymous reporting and inquiry box so students can ask questions about diversity or share stories of hardship. Besides other events, they invite students to travel together to nearby conferences relative to the diverse and GLBTQI communities, while providing financial support to attend.