Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Awards
Read more below about the annual award winners. We've also included a reference about the definitions of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion below.
María Elena Bermúdez
Principal Senior Lecturer, World Languages & Cultures
College of Arts & Sciences
Since starting as a full-time faculty member in 2007, Dr. María Elena Bermúdez has been steadfast in her dedication to justice, diversity, and inclusion at GSU and has consistently taken on expanding and evolving in her efforts. Throughout her career, Dr. Bermúdez has remained committed to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, while working to support the needs of URM faculty. Dr. Bermúdez has focused her service on addressing the concerns of Latinx faculty, staff, and students. She currently serves as chair for the Latina/o/x, Chicana/o/x, Caribbean, Hispanic and Indigenous (LACCHI) Faculty Affinity group. She has been active in building community across the university, including organizing a panel in 2021 on recruitment, retention, and support of Latinx faculty, and planning several events in fall 2022 in support of Hispanic Heritage Month. For 10 years, Dr. Bermúdez served as advisor for the Latinx Freshmen Learning community of Latinx Goizueta Scholars. She has served as the faculty advisor for Sigma Lamda Upsilon/Senoritas Latinas Unidas, Inc (SLU), one of the first Latina sororities at Georgia State. Dr. Bermúdez is a past recipient of the college’s Outstanding Faculty Diversity Award, recognizing of her outstanding achievement in support of diverse student populations.
Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Education, Physical Therapy
Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing & Health Professions
In the Department of Physical Therapy, Dr. Huggins established the Diversity group for DPT students and faculty in 2016. This group serves as a safe space for students to voice their opinion on fair and equitable treatment of colleagues of diverse backgrounds, and also provide recommendations on how as future professionals they can become leaders in championing diversity, equity and inclusion. The diversity group has also provided faculty with knowledge on how to be culturally competent and listen to students from diverse backgrounds who may have personal challenges. Dr. Huggins has chaired this group and serves as the faculty lead.
Dr. Huggins is constantly involved at all levels from national level to State, University and College level in matters of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She has also been mentoring minority Doctor of Physical Therapy students since 2013 at GSU and other DPT programs in Georgia.
Library Administrative Officer
For the past four years, Ernest has engaged in activities related to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. He has worked on the library's initial task force related to diversity, inclusion, and accessibility and the subsequent committee on diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. Ernest served one term as the staff representative for the library on Staff Council and is now serving as a Staff Senator.
Working on the Staff Council’s committee as chairperson of the Staff Development and Recognition, Ernest developed the “Unsung Heroes” program. The “Unsung Heroes” program recognized staff members who are making contributions to a unit’s success. Nominees were recognized in the Staff Council’s monthly newsletter.
Ernest has served as chair of the University Library's Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee, and was elected co-chair of the University Senate Cultural Diversity Committee's subcommittee on General Staff Diversity.
Center for the Advancement of Students and Alumni (CASA)
Kyle Frantz, Director
Lakeyta Bonnette-Bailey, Interim Co-Director
The Center for the Advancement of Students and Alumni (CASA) is a long-standing beacon for inclusive excellence at Georgia State University. Since its inception in 2018, faculty, staff, and students in the CASA have been working tirelessly to tap into the university's dynamic student body and design signature programming that encourages students from all backgrounds to develop the necessary academic, professional, and social skills to make a change in the world. The CASA is intentional about connecting with emerging scientists, humanitarians, educators, and innovators who want to solve some of society's most complex problems by bringing their unique perspectives and solutions to the forefront. Specifically, what makes the CASA a leader in the JEDI space is the Pre-Ph.D., Pre-Med, and Pre-Law programming that opens doors for students to conduct scholarly research and creative pursuits, thereby developing the next generation of leaders who will diversify the professoriate, alleviate health disparities by tackling issues of access and disease in all peoples, and bring justice through diversity and inclusion in our legal systems.
Finance Major, Graduated May 2022
Ms. Bailey Hatchett has been a forerunner of inclusive excellence among undergraduate students at Georgia State University. During Ms. Hatchett’s first year, she immediately began looking for ways to get involved in campus and Atlanta communities. She developed a volunteer program with the Honors College and Athletic Department. The program’s purpose was to engage Georgia State students to encourage high school students to attend college. Further, she partnered with local HBCUs and college appreciation weeks. Ms. Hatchett has been a true student athlete, as the only Black member of the beach volleyball team at Georgia State for the past three years, she quickly realized the gaps in exposure and acceptance of people of color in a majority sport. Ms. Hatchett has served as the director for various beach volleyball tournaments in the area and connected with students from underrepresented groups, by encouraging them to get involved in beach volleyball. She also served as a mentor for URM women in athletics while still being an honors student. Bailey’s countless efforts are recognized as the winner of the undergraduate student JEDI award!
Master's Student, Criminal Justice
Ms. Yasmina Al-Aboudy has dedicated her life to closing the race and ethnicity gap in education, having invested herself and her time in spearheading student leadership education programs and mentoring students for nearly a decade. She has worked across Gwinnett and Dekalb County schools leading sessions and training students in low-income schools to educate their peers on getting into college and escaping the cycle of poverty. She has spent four years within student leadership and served as a culture consultant to Tucker High School. Ms. Al-Aboudy has been an advocate for first generation students and assists them in securing part-time jobs, internships, and scholarship opportunities. Ms. Al-Aboudy’s work goes beyond Georgia State University as she has been a leader to lobby and work with state legislators about the harms of the educational resource gap for student immigrants. As the first winner of the Graduate and Professional student JEDI, she illustrates each letter of the acronym through her advocacy for young women of color and support of local school districts.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Research Associate, Center for Leadership in Disability
Ms. Ashley Salmon has been a substantial leader as it relates to inclusive excellence for nearly 5 years since arriving at Georgia State. She is a dedicated Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Research Associate at the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD). The CLD is a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) with an academic home inside the School of Public Health (SPH) at Georgia State University. The CLD collaborates with many disability-led and disability-serving organizations to implement programs and/or to evaluate the implementation of programs. Our JEDI staff award winner has made her presence known with her consistent participation with the AUCD Multicultural Council (MCC), which has led her to earn contracted roles with AUCD. She has served as an AUCD Research Consultant twice since December 2020, where one of her roles was to ensure diverse and meaningful representation of study participants with autism and other intellectual/developmental learning differences via the National COVID-19 Resiliency Network in partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine. Ms. Salmon is uniquely positioned to be a leader in diversity efforts based on her background in Biostatistics, exploring evidence-based practices to best serve individuals with disabilities and their families across racial, ethnic, and cultural groups.
Carlos A.O. Pavão
Clinical Associate Professor, Health Policy & Behavioral Sciences
School of Public Health
We are excited to have Dr. Carlos A.O. Pavão as our winner of the faculty JEDI award. Dr. Pavão has been a leader in the JEDI space for years and is only the 2nd Assistant Dean of DEI in the School of Public Health. He created the Dialogues on Sexual and Gender Diversity Quarterly Seminar in 2019. As far back as 2017 when he started in the School of Public Health (SPH), he has hosted dialogues on demystifying bisexuality, hearing from transgender or gender non-conforming students, and discussing local LGBTQ cultural issues. He is a member of PRISM and LACCHI faculty affinity groups, an inaugural member of the SPH’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, a part of the RWJ Re-envisioning Equity to Build Excellence in Leadership and Scholarship, and he also serves on Georgia State University Senate. Dr. Pavão meets the JEDI standards by his research-to-practice and practice-to-research pipelines, his meaningful engagement with students to understand and maintain sensitivity to the impact of race/ethnicity, gender, culture, and the acculturation process. His clear awareness of multicultural issues facing institutions and innovative pedagogical philosophies within bisexual and transgender medical education and their communities illustrates his JEDI leadership among faculty at Georgia State University.
Inaugural 2021 Awards
Task Force for Racial Equality
In recognition of the hard work of the Task Force for Racial Equality in driving vital and important conversations, and making solid recommendations for change during a very difficult time for the nation and the Georgia State community, the inaugural JEDI Award was given to the entire membership of the Task Force for Racial Equality.
The membership of the Task Force:
- Chair, Jonathan Gayles, Chair and Professor of African-American Studies, College of Arts & Sciences
- Gwendolyn Benson, Associate Dean for School, Community and International Partnerships, College of Education & Human Development
- Curtis Byrd, Special Adviser to the Provost
- Nicolle Parsons-Pollard, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs
- Cynthia Lester, Associate Dean of the Clarkston Campus and the Division of Math, Computer Science & Engineering, Perimeter College
- Rodney Lyn, Interim Dean of the School of Public Health
- Elizabeth Beck, Professor of Social Work, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
- Jennifer Esposito, Chair of the Department of Educational Policy Studies, College of Education & Human Development
- Collins Airhihenbuwa, Professor of Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health
- Elizabeth West, Professor of African-American Studies and English, College of Arts & Sciences
- Natsu Saito, Distinguished University Professor of Law, College of Law
- Jennie Ward-Robinson, Special Assistant to the Dean, College of Arts & Sciences (Center for African Diaspora)
- Anthony Coleman, Chief of the Police Department*
- Donna Frazier, Chair of Staff Council
- Linda Nelson, Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Opportunity Development
- Allison Calhoun-Brown, Vice President for Student Engagement and Programs
- Kaelen Thomas, President of the Student Government Association
- Jessica Siemer, President of the Graduate Alliance
*NOTE: Joe Spillane was on the task force as it was originally constituted; after his resignation, Chief Anthony Coleman succeeded him as head of the Georgia State University Police Department.
Definitions of Justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion are adapted the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) and the J.E.D.I. Collaborative.
Nominees should demonstrate exemplary evidence of efforts or commitment towards:
- Justice: creating a campus for all, free from barriers, that is intentionally shaped to meet the needs of all members, with a focus on historically underrepresented groups
- Equity: ensuring that historically underrepresented groups have access to and representation in campus related opportunities
- Diversity: giving voice to diverse groups or diverse perspectives
- Inclusion: promoting an inclusive and welcoming university environment
Nominees will be evaluated on the sustainability or emerging nature of their efforts. The frequency of efforts and the time frame of the nominee’s involvement will be used to demonstrate significance.
Evidence of the integration of the justice, equity, diversity and inclusion efforts into the Georgia State culture can be demonstrated within the following categories:
- Institutional structures (e.g., policies, traditions, procedures, assessments, accountability, initiatives, developing partnerships, outreach efforts, professional development, etc.)
- Recruitment and retention of diverse staff, faculty, or students; mentoring
- Scholarly endeavors or creative activities
- Pedagogical approaches or curricular development
- Other areas that are essential to inclusive excellence