The UCLA Academic Senate has named associate professor Paul Barber of the UCLA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and professor Dwayne Simmons of the UCLA Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology as joint recipients of the 2014-2015 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award. In addition, Ivuoma "Ivy" Onyeador, a third-year graduate student in the Department of Psychology, is the recipient of this year’s student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award.
Announcing the winners in a message to the campus community were Academic Senate chair Joel D. Arberbach and Marissa Lopez, chair of the senate’s Committee on Diversity and Equal Opportunity (CODEO).
“Each year, CODEO honors one student and one faculty member for their contribution to furthering a diverse, impartial, and inclusive environment at UCLA,” the message read. “The selection of these winners is often difficult because each of the many candidates nominated for this award have made enormous contributions to encouraging that environment in important and innovative ways. This year’s selection was no exception.”
Barber has, for the past 10 years, directed a National Science Foundation-funded program called The Diversity Project, which he developed to increase diversity in marine sciences by engaging under-represented minority students in a transformative intensive summer research experience in Bali, Indonesia. Barber also directs the Program for Excellence in Education and Research in the Sciences, aimed at increasing the retention and performance of underrepresented students in science, technology, and mathematics.
Simmons is program director of Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC). The flagship program for promoting research among underrepresented groups at UCLA, MARC helps exceptional minority students and first-generation economically disadvantaged students realize their potential at a first-class, research intensive university. Simmons is also director of the UCLA Bridges to the Baccalaureate program, which has the objective of promoting interest in science and biomedical research careers among community college students from ethnic groups that are significantly underrepresented in these fields, and preparing them for transfer to science programs at four-year institutions. Simmons has also created, at the community college level, a series of partnerships with three Cal State Universities as well as six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to increase the number of minority students in UCLA graduate science programs.
Onyeador is the the Graduate Student Association’s representative to the Academic Senate Executive Board and served as the graduate student representative in UCLA’s search for a Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. In addition, she holds a number of leadership positions around campus in organizations dedicated to diversity and inclusion. Onyeador was the co-chair of the Black Graduate Students Association; the outreach/yield chair of the Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Welcome Day Planning Committee for two years; and she regularly sits on panels and speaks to prospective and current graduate students about being a student of color.