Nearly 120 CWRU faculty, staff and students attended the Sixth Annual inclusion and Diversity Achievement Award Luncheon, which was held on campus on April 14. The annual event provides an opportunity to recognize members of the CWRU campus community who have made significant contributions to enhancing diversity and inclusion on campus.

Winners included (left to right) Graduate/Professional Student Achievement Award, Luis Muniz-Feliciano; Staff Leadership Award, Elfreda “Alfie” Chatman-Walter; Undergraduate Student Achievement Award, Nusaiba Chowdhury; Faculty Leadership Award, Rajesh Viswanathan, PhD.


The 2014 Diversity Achievement Award Winners:

Rajesh Viswanathan, PhD Faculty Leadership Award

He joined Case Western Reserve University in 2008. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry. His research interests include organic chemistry, biochemistry and chemical biology. He is a former Lubrizol Graduate Fellow, Bernard Berk Fellow and MCM Scholar, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He is committed to outreach to underrepresented students and works to provide them with research opportunities. He is currently involved in the National Science Foundation funded Bridge to Success Program in conjunction with Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). As part of the program, he hosts Tri-C students in his lab, exposing them to research. He has also accepted into his lab and worked with a local high school student during a summer program. He is currently hosting a student from the L’Universite des Antilles et de la Guyane, Martinique, West Indies for a five-week internship.


Elfreda “Alfie” Chatman-Walter, Staff Leadership Award

She is the associate director for Corporate Relations at Case Western Reserve University where she is responsible for raising funds from industry partners for research, sponsorships and philanthropy with specific emphasis in healthcare and diversity. She is a strong advocate of diversity and inclusion, which her professional and personal affiliations reflect. Her affiliations include: United Way of Mahoning Valley, the Western Reserve Historical Society, African American Auxiliary, board member for the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland Foundation African American Philanthropy Committee and the Consortium of African American Organizations. At CWRU, she serves on the Diversity Leadership Council and the Supplier Diversity Initiative Council. She also regularly supports and works with the campus student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.


Nusaiba Chowdhury, Undergraduate Student Achievement Award

She is a second year medical anthropology major from Garland, Texas. On campus, she is involved in the Sexual Assault and Violence Educators, the Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity for Women and the Anthropology Student Association. She also tutors international students through CWRU’s Educational Services for Students and is an intern at US Together, one of Cleveland’s refugee resettlement agencies. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion issues. Through social media, blogging and initiatives on campus, she works for reproductive justice, rights for marginalized communities and works to break down stereotypes about Muslim women and women in general. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in Anthropology or Public Health at CWRU and ultimately wants to work on social justice issues in a health-related field.


Luis Muniz-Feliciano Graduate/Professional Student Achievement Award

Originally from Puerto Rico, he is a 5th year PhD student in the Department of Pathology-School of Medicine. He will defend his doctoral thesis in fall 2014 and is currently seeking a post-doctoral research position in higher education. On campus, he is a member of the Minority Graduate Student Organization and served as president of the organization from 2011-2012. In addition, he has been involved in the School of Medicine’s Post Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) and as part of the program traveled to Puerto Rico to recruit students to Case Western Reserve University. As part of PREP, he has also hosted minority and non-minority students and organized outings to local restaurants. In addition, he once organized an intramural volleyball team which included Puerto Ricans, Taiwanese, Spaniards and American players. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the John Wallace Minority Fellowship, Minority Scientist Travel Award from the Annual American Association of Immunologist and also from that association, the Young Investigator Award.



(l to r) Dorothy Miller, PhD, Charity Taylor, Susan Sampson, President Snyder, G. Dean Patterson Jr. and Demetra S.A. Gibson.

More than 100 people attended the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity's Fifth Annual Inclusion and Diversity Achievement Award Luncheon. This year's event was held on April 17 in the Thwing Center Ballroom. During the luncheon, four members of the university community as well as a CWRU office were recognized for their contributions to enhancing diversity on campus. President Barbara Snyder attended the event and gave congratulatory remarks to the winners. In addition, she stressed the importance of diversity and inclusion on campus and the good work that is being in these areas. Also during the event, retiring director of the university's Flora Stone Mather Center for Women Dorothy C. Miller, PhD, was recognized for her many contributions to women's issues and for advancing the cause of gender diversity on campus. Miller has served as director of the women's center for 11 years, and will retire at the end of the spring semester. SEE THE VIDEO


The 2013 Diversity Achievement Award Winners are:
Dorothy C. Miller, PhD, Faculty Leadership Feminist Award. She is the director of CWRU's Flora Stone Mather Center for Women and a clinical associate professor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. Miller has spent most of her career working to promote women's issues in the academy and advocating for women's concerns in the community. She is the author of Women and Social Welfare: A Analysis.

G. Dean Patterson, Jr., Staff Leadership Award.
He has more than 30 years experience in higher education and for much of that time has worked to support and meet the needs of underrepresented minority communities. Patterson is currently Associate Vice President for Students Affairs. In this position, he works to build campus community, manages student crisis situations and works to help others understand issues related to diversity and inclusion. He previously held a clinical faculty appointment at CWRU's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

Charity Taylor, Undergraduate Student Achievement Award.
She is a senior Management and International Studies dual degree major with a minor in Economics. At CWRU she has been involved in various cultural activities and student groups. She is a member of CWRU's Voices of Glory gospel choir and has been involved in the "One Dress Campaign," a worldwide campaign aimed at raising awareness about human trafficking. Taylor has served in various volunteer positions, including mentoring a local Burmese family, preparing taxes for those in need and serving as a big sister for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters Club.


Demetra S.A. Gibson, Student Achievement Award. She is a medical student at CWRU. In June, Gibson will start an Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Chicago Medical Center. She is interested in cancer disparities and plans to go into clinical and epidemiological research. Gibson is a member of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), the nation's oldest student run organization focused on the needs and concerns of medical students of color. She has served as national president of SNMA as well as co-president of the CWRU chapter. Gibson has led efforts to provide academic support for medical students and has been involved in initiatives to recruit and retain students of color in the School of Medicine. She is editor of the Voices of Diversity blog.


Disability Resources, Department/Office/Unit Excellence Award.
In the nomination for the office, it was described as "compassionate" and helpful in securing accommodations and services that enable students with disabilities to "have equal opportunities as other students." In addition, the staff was credited with creating a welcoming campus environment for students. Disability Resources has also created a group for students with Asperger's and worked with the Emergency Management staff to ensure that students with disabilities are considered as plans are made on how to handle emergency situations. The office is part of Educational Services for Students and is staffed by Susan Sampson, associate director, and Lisa Meeks, assistant director.


(l to r) Carmen Naso, Cookie Jones, University President Barbara R. Snyder, VP for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity Marilyn Mobley, Suzanne Rivera, Patrick Vaughn and Michael G. Knight

The Office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity (OIDEO) held its fourth annual achievement awards luncheon on April 19 in the Thwing Center Ballroom.  More than 100 people attended the event during which four members of the university community and a CWRU department were recognized for their contributions toward enhancing diversity on campus.  University President Barbara R. Snyder provided the welcome during the event and congratulated the award winners. 

Winners include: Carmen J. Naso, Faculty Leadership Award.  He has been at the CWRU-Law for four years.  He works with the Lambda Student Association and volunteers at the Keating Center, a substance abuse and addiction rehabilitation facility.

Chevolkalee "Cookie" Jones, Staff Leadership Award.  She is the main receptionist/clerk/information specialist in the Francis Payne Bolton School of Nursing and is known for being calm, pleasant and patient to all cultures and nationalities.

Patrick Vaughn, Undergraduate Student Achievement Award.  He is a third-year chemistry major with minors in dance, biology and medical anthropology.  This past year, he served as chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Undergraduate Student Government.

Michael G. Knight, Graduate/Professional Student Achievement Award.  He is a fourth-year medical student at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of CWRU and has been involved in mentoring initiatives at local Cleveland public high schools. 

The Office of Research Administration, Department/Office/Unit Excellence Award.  Under the direction of Suzanne Rivera, the office has taken a number of steps to build a sense of unity while honoring and celebrating the differences among its diverse staff, including training sessions and sessions at which staff share their different experiences and perspectives.


On April 14, 2011, the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity held its Third Annual Inclusion and Diversity Achievement Awards Luncheon.


Staff member Teona Griggs, professor Sue Hinze, undergraduate Sai Santosh Kumar Kolluru, and Mandel School of Applied Social Work PhD candidate Susan Smalling, were recognized for their contributions to inclusion and diversity at Case Western Reserve. 



On April 22, 2010, the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity held its Second Annual Inclusion and Diversity Achievement Awards Luncheon. Professor Jonathan Entin, staff member Latisha James and School of Medicine student Jason Balkman, MD (MED '10) were recognized for their contributions to diversity at Case Western Reserve.


Professor Jonathan Entin is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Law and Professor of Law and Political Science. He has worked closely with Fred Gray LAW '54, whose clients included Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

Latisha James is the Director for the Center for Community Partnerships at Case Western Reserve. In this role, Ms. James facilitates all public inquiries concerning university partner- ships, services and sponsorships.
Jason Balkman, MD was a fourth year medical student at Case Western Reserve (MED '10). He started the Robin's Society Bridge Program as a way to build a partnership between John Hay High School and Case Western Reserve.



Dr. Rhonda Y. Williams received the Diversity Achievement Award at the first annual Inclusion and Diversity Achievement Award luncheon on April 22, 2009. Committed to scholarship as a historian and social justice advocate, Dr. Williams is a tenured associate professor of history at CWRU who also holds the distinction of serving as director of the postdoctoral fellowship in African-American Studies and as director of the CWRU Social Justice Initiative. The value of her scholarship and commitment to the university was evident by the 70 members of the campus community, including students, deans, faculty members, staff and community guests who attended the luncheon.


Undoubtedly, the highlight of the afternoon was Dr. Williams' remarks. "Through my research and scholarship, I have sought to render visible--and understandable- -some of the processes, the individuals, the institutions... that maintain exclusion and exploitation," said Dr. Williams. "To unmask the trappings of authority and power, to transform caricatures into real human beings, and to chronicle the many human struggles for survival, justice and social change," she continued. Her remarks were affirmed with a warm standing ovation.


Following Dr. Williams' remarks, there was a dynamic discussion on diversity. Dr. Edgar Jackson, a member of CWRU's Diversity Leadership Council and Senior Advisor to the CEO of University Hosptials and Education, was extremely impressed with the content and nature of the dialogue and commented that it was "one of the best" he had heard at the University. His comments and similar participant feedback are evidence that the luncheon was an overwhelming success.


At the conclusion of the luncheon Dr. Marilyn Mobley announced that next year there will be six inclusion and diversity champions who will also be honored, along with the award recipient.




1. Faculty Leadership Award

Recognizes a faculty member's contributions or efforts toward enhancing the goals of diversity, equity, inclusion and multiculturalism at the university, particularly in the areas of teaching, research or service that exceeds the routine expectations of the faculty’s position.

2. Staff Leadership Award

Recognizes a staff member who promotes a culture of inclusion that encourages relationships and interactions among people of different backgrounds, a culture that enhances human dignity, actively diminishes prejudice and discrimination and improves the quality of life for everyone in our community.  


3. Department/Office/Unit Excellence Award

Recognizes an office, department or unit that has demonstrated a commitment to building a workplace and learning space that is inclusive of difference and values diversity of all kinds. This commitment should be evident by proactive actions including, but not limited to, inclusive policies and procedures, workshops and trainings and other undertakings that have helped create an inclusive environment.

4. Graduate/Professional Student Achievement Award

Recognizes a graduate or professional university student who has demonstrated leadership and commitment toward diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism through academic excellence, service, volunteerism and/or research.

5. Undergraduate Student
Achievement Award

Recognizes an undergraduate university student who has demonstrated leadership and commitment toward diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism through academic excellence, service, volunteerism and/or research.