Students, Professor Recognized with Diversity Advocate Awards
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2019 campus diversity advocate awards

The 2019 campus diversity advocate honorees include Kendra Mullins, Student Advocate for Diversity Award; Marco Gutierrez, Mary Butler Award; and Abigail Mitchell, Faculty Advocate for Diversity Award.

Two students and a professor have been recognized for their dedication, inspiration and advocacy for diversity on campus.

Nebraska Wesleyan’s Martin Luther King Day celebration on January 17 included the recognition of the 2019 advocates for diversity. Honored were students Marco Gutierrez and Kendra Mullins and professor Abigail Mitchell.

Gutierrez, a senior biology major from Lincoln, was honored with the Mary Butler Award, which recognizes a junior or senior who identifies as a student of color, is in good academic standing and demonstrates the ability to enrich the campus through extracurricular involvement, leadership, responsibility and concern for others.

Gutierrez was celebrated for his mentorship of fellow NWU students as well as children in the community. At NWU, he is active in the Louis Stokes Minority Alliance Program (LSAMP), a program that helps underrepresented students explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math. He is also a member of Zeta Psi Fraternity.

“Marco is a first-generation college student seeking a career in the healthcare field,” said sophomore Josue Avila, who nominated Gutierrez for the award. “After talking to him and realizing that he shared some of the same struggles early on in his college career, I gained a lot of confidence in my own abilities. He didn’t just lead by example, he also made a point to make sure I was doing well in all aspects of my life.”

Gutierrez also volunteers with a local youth soccer club, Dreamers FC.

“Marco takes the time to understand the child beneath the jersey of every single player from their home lives, dreams, struggles and fears,” said junior McKenna Bancroft who also nominated Gutierrez. “He takes his role as a mentor very seriously as he knows firsthand just how hard it is to grow up in an environment where one doesn’t feel seen or represented.”

Mullins, a junior social work major from Elwood, received the Student Advocate for Diversity Award. She was recognized for her work chairing the Student Affairs Senate’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and for her work in spearheading diversity-based activities on campus.

“As a social work major, she is driven by the service of others,” said junior Jason Ezell. “She knocks down every single barrier put in her way.”

Mitchell, associate professor of psychology, has been honored with the Faculty Advocate for Diversity Award. Colleagues recognized Mitchell for her work in chairing the Action Council on Diversity and Inclusion in which she organized subcommittees to address issues on diversity in hiring and inclusivity of trans individuals, which resulted in training and resources for faculty and staff on unique needs and resources for trans individuals. She also helped establish more gender-neutral restrooms on campus. She has served as director of the Gender Studies Program, coordinates the gender and sexuality thread for the university’s Archway Curriculum, and was also credited for creating, executing and analyzing an annual campus climate survey to gauge campus attitudes on inclusivity and diversity. 

“She uses her leadership as program director and thread coordinator as a mechanism to make students on our campus feel seen and empowered,” said political science professor Kelly Clancy, who nominated Mitchell for the award. “Our campus is better and more welcoming because of her work.”

Two students and a professor have been recognized for their dedication, inspiration and advocacy for diversity on campus.

Nebraska Wesleyan’s Martin Luther King Day celebration on January 17 included the recognition of the 2019 advocates for diversity. Honored were students Marco Gutierrez and Kendra Mullins and professor Abigail Mitchell.

Gutierrez, a senior biology major from Lincoln, was honored with the Mary Butler Award, which recognizes a junior or senior who identifies as a student of color, is in good academic standing and demonstrates the ability to enrich the campus through extracurricular involvement, leadership, responsibility and concern for others.

Gutierrez was celebrated for his mentorship of fellow NWU students as well as children in the community. At NWU, he is active in the Louis Stokes Minority Alliance Program (LSAMP), a program that helps underrepresented students explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math. He is also a member of Zeta Psi Fraternity.

“Marco is a first-generation college student seeking a career in the healthcare field,” said sophomore Josue Avila, who nominated Gutierrez for the award. “After talking to him and realizing that he shared some of the same struggles early on in his college career, I gained a lot of confidence in my own abilities. He didn’t just lead by example, he also made a point to make sure I was doing well in all aspects of my life.”

Gutierrez also volunteers with a local youth soccer club, Dreamers FC.

“Marco takes the time to understand the child beneath the jersey of every single player from their home lives, dreams, struggles and fears,” said junior McKenna Bancroft who also nominated Gutierrez. “He takes his role as a mentor very seriously as he knows firsthand just how hard it is to grow up in an environment where one doesn’t feel seen or represented.”

Mullins, a junior social work major from Elwood, received the Student Advocate for Diversity Award. She was recognized for her work chairing the Student Affairs Senate’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and for her work in spearheading diversity-based activities on campus.

“As a social work major, she is driven by the service of others,” said junior Jason Ezell. “She knocks down every single barrier put in her way.”

Mitchell, associate professor of psychology, has been honored with the Faculty Advocate for Diversity Award. Colleagues recognized Mitchell for her work in chairing the Action Council on Diversity and Inclusion in which she organized subcommittees to address issues on diversity in hiring and inclusivity of trans individuals, which resulted in training and resources for faculty and staff on unique needs and resources for trans individuals. She also helped establish more gender-neutral restrooms on campus. She has served as director of the Gender Studies Program, coordinates the gender and sexuality thread for the university’s Archway Curriculum, and was also credited for creating, executing and analyzing an annual campus climate survey to gauge campus attitudes on inclusivity and diversity. 

“She uses her leadership as program director and thread coordinator as a mechanism to make students on our campus feel seen and empowered,” said political science professor Kelly Clancy, who nominated Mitchell for the award. “Our campus is better and more welcoming because of her work.”