Annual Inclusion and Diversity Achievement Awards Luncheon
The Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity at Case Western Reserve University gives awards to members of the university community in recognition of significant contributions toward enhancing the university's commitment to diversity through inclusive thinking, mindful learning and transformative dialogue.
These awards recognize and encourage such contributions that may include promoting respect, building community, establishing effective cross-cultural initiatives and advocating equity and inclusion within the university community.
Award Categories and Criteria
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.
Undergraduate Student Achievement Award: Makela Hayford
Makela HayfordMakela Hayford is a third-year sociology major, with a minor in social justice. She is a recipient of the Louis Stokes Congressional Black Caucus Scholarship and after graduation she plans to continue her education and pursue a career in law. Ultimately, she would like to serve as a judge.
She 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. She also writes for the campus newspaper, The Observer.
She is dedicated to helping empower students to be their whole selves, to challenge arbitrary boundaries and build fair, sustainable communities. She is originally from Lenexa, Kansas and is grateful for the support of her family at home as well as her campus “family. ”
Graduate/Professional Student Achievement Award: Tirth Raj Bhatta
Tirth Raj BhattaTirth Raj Bhatta is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology. He also serves as a research assistant. He is passionate about social justice issues, primarily those related to economic, race and gender inequality in education and health. Through his involvement in graduate student organizations, he has raised the issue of representation, diversity and financial security.
His dissertation research investigates the role of changing opportunity structures in modifying patterns of educational inequalities in health across historical periods (as represented by United States birth cohorts spanning 1890 to 1959). His research also explore racial dynamics. He earned a master of Gerontological Studies from Miami University and a master’s degree in statistics from Tribhuvan University in Nepal.
Faculty Leadership Award: Parameswaran Ramakrishnan, PhD.
RamakrishnanParameswaran Ramakrishnan is an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology in the School of Medicine. He joined Case Western Reserve University in the summer of 2013. His lab has two research interests: 1) to understand the molecular mechanisms of autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes and 2) to study the link between inflammation and cancer.
Ramakrishnan received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biotechnology from Mahatma Gandhi University in India. He did his doctoral work at Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and studied signal transduction in the immune system. In addition, he did postdoctoral work with nobel laureate David Baltimore, PhD, in the Department of Biology at the California Institute of Technology. Ramakrishnan has published numerous articles in science and medical journals and also has a number of patents.
Staff Leadership Award: Arthur Evenchik
Arthur Evenchik Arthur Evenchik is assistant to the dean for special projects in the College of Arts and Sciences. Since 2011, he has coordinated the college’s Emerging Scholars Program, which provides academic support, advising and mentoring to students from the Cleveland area who attend the university. In addition, he is editor of arts/sci, the college’s alumni magazine.
Evenchik conducts workshops on literary tutoring for Project STEP-UP which recruits Case Western Reserve University students to work with children in local schools and libraries. He is also an instructional consultant for writing workshops at John Hay’s Cleveland School of Science and Medicine, where CWRU medical students help high school seniors with their college admissions essays through the Robbins Bridge Program. Before joining CWRU in 2004, he was a volunteer coordinator and literacy tutor at the Maya Angelou Public Charter School in Washington, DC.
Department/Office/Unit Excellence Award:
The Spoken English Programs Educational Services for Students (ESS)
Elise Geither, PhD
The programs support international students on campus. Programming includes 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. More than 150 students have completed the seminar since its inception in summer 2015. Other offerings include Seminar on Accuracy for Presentation Skills and a spoken English seminar. The program also collaborates with International Student Services to provide presentations for the International Student Success Series. The Spoken English Programs also host a number of cultural events.
I greatly value the opportunities I have had, and continue to have, to learn with and from my students,” said Elise Geither, PhD, associate director of Spoken English Programs. She operates the programs with assistant director Sarah Dellinger. Geither has taught English and English as a Second Language for more than 20 years. In addition, she has worked with children, teens and adults from more than 50 countries.
Sarah DellingerGeither is the author of Helping Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder Express their Thoughts and Knowledge in Writing. She is a poet and has had her poems and short stories published in literary journals. Dellinger has taught and tutored reading, writing and speaking skills to students and adults. She holds a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University in cross-cultural and international education. Currently, she is pursuing TESOL certification. She also taught English as a Second Language to university students in Costa Rico.
“My goal is to provide programs and opportunities for international students to grow and thrive, socially and academically within the United States, ” she said.