Graduate Division works hard to strengthen diversity within our graduate community and ensure that our students are seen, heard and have the support they need.

We aren’t the only ones doing this critical work – so are Berkeley graduate students!

In February we launched the UC Berkeley Leadership in Graduate Diversity Awards to recognize those graduate students whose work and accomplishments have positively impacted our URM student community and, by extension, campus. The Cynthia Ladd-Viti Leadership in Graduate Diversity Award and the Carla Trujillo Leadership in Graduate Diversity Awards recognize and reward graduating doctoral or professional school students’ contributions to diversifying the academy during their graduate careers and beyond.

A panel of campus staff, faculty and graduate students reviewed a number of impressive nominations. Two remarkable students were selected; however, the committee insisted on two Honorable Mention recipients to recognize their exemplary work in diversity initiatives during their time on our campus.

Meet our inaugural Leadership in Graduate Diversity Award recipients:

Photo of Derrika Hunt

Carla Trujillo Leadership in Graduate Diversity Award

Derrika Hunt, Doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education and Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.

Excerpt from nominations:

“Derrika Hunt has saved the lives of many on campus and beyond. There might be an inclination to read this statement figuratively, but it is not hyperbole. Our language is intentional. Derrika, in more ways than we have room to name here, has directly intervened in the throes of insecurity, crisis, and emergency that too commonly befall Black and minoritized graduate students at UC Berkeley. Her support, intellectual rigor, and aptitude for distributing crucial resources have done more than produce and retain a diverse graduate student body. They have authored an environment where graduate students of color believe we can be safe, alive, and well. Derrika insisted on this vision for herself and commanded it into reality for others.”

Cynthia Ladd-Viti Leadership in Graduate Diversity Award Kristen Nelson

Cynthia Ladd-Viti Leadership in Graduate Diversity Award

Kristen Nelson, Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology

Excerpt from nominations:

“Beyond sheer excellence in her own teaching and mentoring of undergraduates and a consistent focus in these endeavors on fostering equity, inclusion, and civic engagement, Kristen has taken on leadership roles on the Berkeley campus to enable thousands of graduate students to enact anti-racist teaching and mentoring practices and to provide support for graduate students of color as they prepare for future academic Careers.”

Headshot of George Moore

Honorable Mention

George Moore, PhD Candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering

Excerpt from nominations:

“One of the powerful yet somewhat silent ways in which George manages to influence some of us is with the calm and put together nature with which he approaches many of the above mentioned endeavors. This is a unique, underrated skill – the ability to be consistently level-headed and balanced in an environment where we are, in many ways, encouraged to be stressed. George sets the precedent of being able to successfully strike a balance between leadership and research without succumbing to the normalized yet manic ways of the stereotypical graduate student. George’s calm nature instead shows us that it is possible to be a productive but balanced student leader.”

Andrew Phuong PhD candidate at the Graduate School of Education

Honorable Mention

Andrew Phuong, PhD candidate at the Graduate School of Education

Excerpt from nominations:

“We are confident that the university and the larger higher education community has benefited from Andrew. Andrew is absolutely vital to our higher education ecosystems. His frameworks extend the literature, are ground-breaking, and can be adapted to address the evolving challenges in higher education. Therefore, Andrew’s research is timely and critical for fostering equitable and inclusive learning environments that have long-lasting and transformative impacts on all of our students, advisors, instructors, and the higher education community!”

These awards are just small tokens of our gratitude and recognition of your efforts – please know they do not go unnoticed. We are truly inspired by your energy, creativity and passion to change the lives around you.

Learn more about the Diversity in Leadership Awards.