Leadership in Graduate Diversity Awards

Launched in 2022, The UC Berkeley Leadership in Graduate Diversity Awards aims to shed light on and award graduate students who have demonstrated stellar contributions to advancing the graduate and professional underrepresented minority (URM) student community. The Cynthia Ladd-Viti and Carla Trujillo Leadership in Graduate Diversity Awards are awarded to two graduating doctoral or professional school students whose work and accomplishments have advanced diversity during their time here at Berkeley. With countless remarkable applicants, it’s a difficult feat for the committee to select only two winners, which is why an Honorable Mention is recognized alongside the award recipients. 

Christian White

Carla Trujillo Leadership in Graduate Diversity Award

Christian White (PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering)

Excerpt from nominations:

  • “[Christian] has strived tirelessly to build community for diverse graduate students, advocate for their collective interest, and improve diversity through admissions and hiring. He is the embodiment of diversity, equity, and inclusion and has been a vital connection between undergraduate and graduate students, staff, faculty, and alumni in efforts to foster inclusiveness and equity.”
  • “Throughout all of these endeavors Christian has continued to impress me with his natural curiosity and scientific intuition, motivation to cultivate his own scientific skillset, and desire to be a model peer to his lab-mates and mentees. He is also a natural teacher. His presentations during our research group meetings are always well-organized and extremely clear. He has a gift for communicating complex ideas in a manner that is easy to follow.”
Arlyn Moreno Luna

Cynthia Ladd-Viti Leadership in Graduate Diversity Award

Arlyn Moreno Luna (PhD, School of Education)

Excerpt from nominations:

  • “What sets Arlyn apart is her grounding in humanity and caring. She approaches her work with a genuine desire to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Whether it’s offering mentorship, providing support, or simply lending a listening ear, Arlyn consistently demonstrates compassion and empathy in all her interactions. Her genuine concern for the well-being of others has touched the lives of countless students and colleagues alike.” 
  • In addition to Arlyn’s advocacy, commitment, and contribution to supporting students and diversity in the academy at UC Berkeley, her efforts extend to her scholarly work. Arlyn’s research examines access and equity in higher education for historically marginalized students and students’ experiences when transferring from community colleges to four-year institutions. She has also collaborated with faculty on an NSF-funded project at UC Berkeley to create a new theoretical framework to disrupt STEM inequalities for first-generation and minoritized female students and create more inclusive STEM education.
Emani Holyfield

Honorable Mention

Emani Holyfield (MBA Haas School of Business)

Excerpt from nominations:

  • “Emani’s remarkable leadership and demonstrated commitment to advancing the welfare of our graduate URM student communities, alumni, and extended networks has reportedly transformed what many see as possible for themselves and their healing journeys, and their ability to not just exist in high-pressure spaces but to thrive within and beyond them.”
  • “Since her admission into UC Berkeley, Emani has consistently contributed to addressing disparities of URM graduate students, alumni, and prospectives concerning representation, recruitment, retention, advancement, and well-being. Emani is undoubtedly one of the most impressive and inspiring people I have encountered in my career; in every possible moment, she authentically and earnestly lives out what it means to lift as you climb and to lead in community.”

Congratulations to this year’s award winners. Be on the lookout each March for each year’s Leadership in Graduate Diversity Awards call for nominations.