Dr. Lamia Ben Youssef Zayzafoon
University department: Foreign Languages
University job title: Asst Prof Arts and Humanities 9 Mo
Quotes from students who made comments in support for the 2009 faculty award winner would be the best way to describe her commitment to diversity.
One student said, “If it were not for her, I would be pursuing a career in divorce law! Because I have been a student under (this faculty member), I have been morphed into a true global citizen who embraces diversity and fights to end social injustice.”
Another said, “When I first came to UAB, I thought that having a Jewish student among a sea of Christians was diversity. (This faculty member) has been instrumental in the opening of the stark diversity of this campus, state, and nation to me. Her impact has broadened my definition of diversity, as evidence by my group of friends that includes Iraqis, Lebanese, Koreans, Caucasians, African-Americans, Muslims, Jews, and Christians.”
She is deserving of the award because of her instruction as well as her creative ways of presenting opportunities to students, faculty and community members to experience diversity beyond the traditional classroom. As an example, she recently raised scholarship money for UAB students from a national organization called the Tunisian Community Center and has sent students to Tunisia to study abroad and carry out service learning for two consecutive summers.
Nominated by: Sheri Spaine Long
University department: Office Of Asst VP Student Life
University job title: Student Affairs Spec II
The winner of the 2009 staff award works diligently in her primary job, but virtually all her work on campus related to diversity is done outside the scope of her position. In 2001, she helped bring a much needed program to campus called Safe Zones; a group that advocates for our gay, lesbian, and transgender students, staff and faculty. Now to date, the program has an estimated 4,000 members from the UAB community that have gone through the program.
For the past two years, she has dedicated time to become a group facilitator for the Tunnel of Oppression, a program experience held on campus to educate the UAB community about the different types of oppression. She is coordinator for both the “Take Back the Night” candlelight vigil and Closeline Project on campus, and chairs the Free Food For Thought committee. Last but not least, she is facilitator for Diversity Awareness Education through Louis Dale’s Office of Equity and Diversity and was just awarded a certificate for her 50th training class.
Nominated by: Hadyn Swecker
Cramin Peter Wiltz, II
Major: UAB School of Dentistry
University job title: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Assistant
Hometown: Saint Martinville, LA
The winner of the professional student award has been able to maintain an excellent academic record while participating in programs that have a goal to increase of the number of under underrepresented minorities in the dental profession.
In 2007, he was appointed to the School of Dentistry Minority Task Force with the task to design a program to increase minority recruitment to the School of Dentistry.
Since then, as an active member in the Student National Medical Association, he has collaborated with colleagues to develop and propose a program for a School of Dentistry Summer Pre-Dental Enrichment program.
Although busy with academic and service related projects within the Dental school, he has broadened his desire to help by becoming a Blazer Male Excellence Network (a.k.a. BMEN) mentor to an African-American male freshman.
Nominated by: Huw F. Thomas
Andrew F. Uehlin
Major: Materials Engineering
Year: Graduate student
University department: Materials Science & Engineering
University job title: Graduate Student Trainee
Hometown: Burlingame, CA
The winner of the graduate student award has been extremely involved in the Engineers without Borders program, and has traveled to Peru on a number of occasions helping and serving others in dire situations. This person has been described as intelligent, hard working and energetic. His senior design project involved the design, construction and delivery of a collapsible, all terrain crutch for a man with post-polio dystrophy, whom he had met during his first trip to Peru.
Not only has he been influential in areas of implementation of engineering, but he has been recognized for being instrumental in attracting students from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds to the Engineers without Borders program.
Nominated by: Melinda M. Lalor
Hometown: Burlingame, CA
The undergraduate student award winner’s nomination letter recognized this student as an “activator” when describing her actions within the UAB community. This past year, after reading and being deeply inspired by the book entitled “The Pact,” which was a discussion book for the UAB Leadership Guild Book Club, this student decided to put a goal into action. She wanted to relate this book to the entire UAB and surrounding communities by making it her sole mission to get the three doctors from the book to UAB, hoping their story would inspire others in the same way that she was inspired.
After relentlessly raising over $30,000 in funding (including from Dr. Dale, Rigney, and a few others in the audience) and drawing a crowd of over 1000 people, I can attest that she is definitely an “Activator”.