Leadership in Graduate Diversity Awards

The Cynthia Ladd-Viti Leadership in Graduate Diversity Award and the Carla Trujillo Leadership in Graduate Diversity Award recognize and reward graduating doctoral or professional school students’ contributions to diversifying the academy during their graduate careers and beyond.

Graduate Division established the two annual awards in 2021 as part of its anti-racism initiatives, in direct response to Black students’ requests to acknowledge the significant work of graduate students in creating and/or facilitating anti-racism initiatives within their programs or in support of fellow graduate students.

The two awards of $2500 each will be granted annually. The deadline for 2024 nominations is Wednesday, April 3, 2024, 9:00 a.m. PST.

For questions, email the Office for Graduate Diversity: [email protected]

Eligible graduating doctoral or professional school students will have demonstrated a deep commitment to and made a significant impact on outreach, recruitment, retention, mentoring, and fostering equity, inclusion, and belonging for underrepresented minority (URM) graduate students at UC Berkeley.

Students whose research is aligned with the mission of the Office for Graduate Diversity will also be considered. Preference will be given to research topics related to improving campus climate, retention issues, mental health and well-being of URM students, URMS in STEM, peer- to- peer academic/social support, alternatives to traditional forms of campus policing, and all research that will impact URM communities.

Candidates may be nominated by faculty, staff, or fellow graduate students. Additionally, students may self-nominate with one letter of recommendation. Although only one nomination letter is required for a student to be considered for the award, we encourage nominators to reach out to others to provide supplemental letters of nomination.

All nominators must complete this form and include a letter of nomination (PDF or Google doc).

One of these nominators must indicate if they are the primary nominator. Final selections will be made by a committee composed of members of UC Berkeley faculty, Graduate Assembly, Graduate Division, and the Office for Graduate Diversity staff.

The two awardees selected by the committee will be announced in May. Meet our award recipients from past years.

Headshot of Cynthia Ladd-Viti

Cynthia Ladd-Viti

Cynthia Ladd-Viti retired as the Associate Director, Office for Graduate Diversity in May 2021. She came to Berkeley with an enduring passion for life-long learning and a desire to critically examine the issues of race, identity, history, and culture. Her non-traditional route to higher education directly informed her professional mission to ensure future Berkeley students would have the same access, support, and opportunities she was able to find at Cal.

As an undergraduate student majoring in American Studies, Ladd-Viti found her campus home in the Transfer Center, known at the time as the Transfer Re-entry Student Parent Center. Upon graduating with highest honors, she moved into her first staff role as Assistant Coordinator focusing on transitional services for community college transfers. She subsequently served in various roles including Outreach and Summer Research Program Coordinator in the Graduate Division, pairing students from around the U.S.and Puerto Rico with faculty mentors to engage in their research passions in preparation for graduate school.

Within the Office for Graduate Diversity, she directed numerous initiatives and provided wise counsel and a welcoming community for underrepresented graduate students. Her most recent initiatives included the direction of GiGS (Getting into Grad School program/course) and the development of STEM*FYI (STEM first-year initiative).

Dr. Carla Trujillo

Carla Trujillo

Dr. Carla Trujillo was one of the campus’ first staff charged directly with serving as a change agent for increasing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Her outstanding work was instrumental to generating DEI staff positions across the campus, and was influential nationally.

During Dr. Trujillo’s 30-year tenure at Berkeley, she established the diversity officer model that today is in widespread use on the campus and is emulated nationally. She also created innumerable programs that continue decades later and became one of the campus’ most highly respected advocates for diversity among faculty, students, and staff, as well as colleagues across the nation.

Dr. Carla Trujillo started working at UC Berkeley in 1985 as an academic advisor in Chicano Studies, and then as an instructor in the Department of Ethnic Studies. She subsequently served as the graduate diversity officer in the College of Engineering and as Director of the Graduate Academic Diversity program (GRAD) and the Director of the Julia Morgan Engineering Program for 16 years, focusing on increasing the number masters and doctoral degree recipients from underrepresented minority groups (African American, Chicanx, Latinx, and Indigenous students) and all women.

While serving as the College of Engineering’s graduate diversity officer, Dr. Trujillo also continued to teach part-time in Ethnic Studies and, to broaden her skills, took a postdoctoral appointment for a year and a half in the Counseling Center.

In 2003 Dr. Trujillo was recruited to lead the campus’ graduate diversity effort, and joined the staff of the Graduate Division. She served as Graduate Diversity Program Director, then Assistant Dean.

Dr. Trujillo joined the newly created Division of Equity and Inclusion in 2008, where she developed several campus wide programs and initiatives that enabled the campus to increase its impact on the diversity of the graduate population at Berkeley and in the nation. She created Getting into Graduate School (GiGS) for Berkeley undergraduates, and in collaboration with discipline-based diversity officers, co-created the Mellon-Mays University Fellowship program, the AMGEN Summer Research Program.