University community members honored for contributions to diversity, inclusion

Nearly 100 students, staff and faculty attended the eighth annual Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity’s (OIDEO) Diversity Achievement Awards Luncheon. The luncheon, held April 13, provided an opportunity to recognize members of the Case Western Reserve University community that made significant contributions to diversity and inclusion efforts during the academic year. Colleagues, students and friends nominate individuals for awards. A special committee reviews nominations and selects award winners.

Winners of the 2016 diversity honors are listed below:

Undergraduate Student Achievement Award: Makela Hayford

Hayford, a third-year sociology major with a minor in social justice, is a student activist and focuses on ensuring racial and gender equity on campus and in the larger community. She serves as vice president of the student African American Society organization, as a moderator for the campus Sustained Dialogue program and as a student assistant in the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women.

Graduate/Professional Student Achievement Award: Tirth Raj Bhatta

Bhatta, a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology and research assistant, is passionate about social justice issues. He established the CWRU Nepali Student Organization in an effort to provide a platform for students. Under his leadership, the organization raised nearly $9,000 to help rebuild Nepal after two major earthquakes destroyed lives and village there in 2015.

Faculty Leadership Award: Parameswaran Ramakrishnan

Ramakrishnan, assistant professor in the Department of Pathology in the School of Medicine, is the coordinator of weekly seminars in the Department of Pathology. He pays special attention to include diverse speakers and to give everyone—from graduate students to full professors—an opportunity to participate. He also has made a special effort to recruit minority students to work in his lab.

Staff Leadership Award: Arthur Evenchik

Evenchik, assistant to the dean for special projects in the College of Arts and Sciences, has coordinated the college’s Emerging Scholars Program since 2011. The program provides academic support, advising and mentoring to Case Western Reserve University students from the Cleveland area. In addition, he is editor of art/sci, the college’s alumni magazine, and conducts workshops on literacy tutoring.

Department/Unit, Diversity Award: The Spoken English Programs, Educational Services for Students (ESS)

The programs support international students on campus by providing spoken English tutoring for undergraduate, graduate and professional students, as well as a variety of seminars for international graduate students. A recent addition to the programs is the “Seminar in Communication and Conversation.” In this free, six-week seminar, graduate students are able to explore language and culture through interactive discussions. Elise Geither, associate director of Spoken English Programs, and Sarah Dellinger, assistant director of Spoken English Programs, operate the programs. Geither has taught English and English as a second language for more than 20 years. Dellinger has taught and tutored reading, writing and speaking skills to students and adults. Currently, she is pursuing Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages certification.