2018 AWARD RECIPIENTS:
Chapter of the Year Award:
University of Wisconsin-Madison
The VOICE National’s Chapter of the Year is an all-encompassing award honors a VOICE Chapter that has organized or sponsored many successful events during the academic year, exceeded the programming requirements in terms of quality and quantity, and has continuously supported the development of a positive and welcoming environment within their Local and Academic Communities. This VOICE Chapter’s events were varied in type and scope, incorporating educational, service, and social events into its calendar. The Chapter of the Year should demonstrate a commitment to advancing an understanding of diversity and inclusivity in Veterinary Medicine within both its school and community.
The VOICE Chapter at UW-Madison made significant strides in ensuring that the School of Veterinary Medicine’s the social dynamics, atmosphere, and current climate towards Social Justice, Multiculturalism, and Diversity were appropriately addressed. Ensuring that we, as a community, were able to continue moving beyond tolerance and more towards embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within everyone. As the Academic Year progressed, our chapter decided to continue this trend of advocating for change; however, we wanted to begin with the “basics” as we recognized that not everyone has the same level of understanding and this would have led to greater resistance to change. As such, our chapter developed the “Just Cause” initiative in which we decided to do this JUST beCAUSE we would like for everyone to be more cognizant and conscious of the JUSTified CAUSEs that can affect the diverse demographics that we currently serve and will serve in the future. We’ve been successful in reintegrating our faculty’s Education, Inclusivity and Diversity (EID) Committee presence within the student body via joint collaborations and serving as the student representatives within the committee and have partnered with them to host the “Go Big Read” book club. The book for this year was “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes” which paints the portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening currently while focusing on the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come. The Go Big Read campaign is initiated by the UW-Madison, where the UW-Madison chooses the book and provides copies of the books, for free, to students and organizations hoping to host a book club!
The Spring 2018 semester was fruitful as we were able to effectively implement our “Process of Unlearning” theme at the SVM. This series utilized guest speakers to discuss the impacts of fixed mindsets and their impacts on communication, employment, and as a clinician within the community. For instance, we had Jane Appleby, an insurance lawyer, come in and discuss the implications of bias on patient care and its influence on quantities of lawsuits. This Fall 2018 Semester, we were able to successfully implement the #WWYD Workshop Series where we focused more on representing our Justified Causes in a more interactive and involved method. For example, one of our workshops was the “#WWYD: In Response to Sexual Assault” where we invited Chimera Self-Defense to teach students basic information on how to appropriately respond to either seeing/observing a potential case of Sexual Assault or being sexually assaulted. Our volunteerism has also been outstanding this semester as well where we served on a panel for Family Empowerment Day, tutoring 8th Graders on STEM related subjects via the PEOPLE Programs and many other volunteering events! This Fall 2018 Semester, we were successfully able to implement the #WWYD Workshop Series where we focused more on representing our Justified Causes in a more interactive and involved method. For example, one of our workshops was the “#WWYD: In Response to Sexual Assault” where we invited Chimera Self-Defense to teach students basic information on how to appropriately respond to either seeing/observing a potential case of Sexual Assault or being sexually assaulted. Another example would be the #WWYD: In the case of an Active Shooter where we partnered with the Office of Academic Affairs and SAVMA to coordinate six different Active Shooter Workshops for students, faculty, and staff of the SVM! Additionally, we also partnered with our Broad Spectrum Chapter to host the 9th Annual Drag Show which raises money for GSAFE, an organization that advocates for inclusive and acceptance within the educational spaces. This year we raised over $8,000 for the cause! We have plenty more in store for the Spring 2019 semester and hope to continue the momentum now and in the future!
Programming Excellence Award:
This award honors the VOICE Chapter that has not only met the VOICE National requirements for programming but has exceeded them in both quantity and quality. This award recognizes the most outstanding demonstration of leadership, creativity and initiative in building diversity and maintaining the overarching goals and ideals of VOICE and continuously works to educate their student body.
Purdue University’s VOICE chapter has continued to promote Diversity and Inclusion through programs and through student involvement in the DVM community. This fall semester we held programs pertaining to family dynamics within the Veterinary profession, Hispanic Experiences in veterinary Medicine, and our annual PotLuck. This program is a two-part series where the first portion was a panel of residents, nurses, and DVMs who all answered questions referencing their family. The second part of this series is a panel of family members of those residents, nurses, and DVMs. Also, this year we hosted a Hispanic Experiences in Veterinary Medicine panel that consisted of students, residents, nurses, and DVMs of Hispanic descent. These panelists touched on their experiences throughout their matriculation in the veterinary medicine profession. These two panels allowed students to gain an understanding of how things such as family and heritage may affect the experiences of our colleagues.
The Spring Semester we have three speakers coming in with backgrounds in Diversity and Inclusion as well as experiences in Veterinary Medicine as a minority. During our second annual Inclusive Excellence Week we have collaborations with our Food Animal Club and One Health Club to bring Dr. Heather Fowler from the National Pork Board, collaboration with our Diversity Action Committee to bring in Dr. Iverson Bell Jr, and our last speaker of the week will be Purdue’s Title IX office. Later I the semester we are bringing in Dr. Bridgette Bain as our Black History Month speaker and bringing in Dr. Blue, Dr. Lavigne, and Dr. Ross from the Vet Life to share their experiences. Purdue hopes to continue pushing the envelope in Diversity and Inclusion for our profession.
Excellence in Servitude & External Relations Award:
University of Minnesota
This VOICE Chapter was successfully able to articulate their plan to help their Veterinary Student Body understand the importance of service as well as engaging their local community, faculty, staff, and leaders of other organizations in their efforts to promote the ideals of diversity, inclusivity and social justice.
This school year has been an excellent year so far for the VOICE Chapter at the University of Minnesota. With several new board members with varying interests and backgrounds, we have begun to develop relationships with various members and organizations of our community. First, we have established a regular volunteer position with a local nonprofit bakery (Cookie Cart) designed to employ teens 15-18 years old in underserved communities. This nonprofit bakery not only provides jobs for these teens, but provides resume and interview skills workshops, as well as educating the teens on business management and finances. Our VOICE chapter also held a feminine hygiene products drive for “I Support the Girls – Twin Cities”, made 16 blankets for a local homeless shelter, held a Latinx lunch lecture lead by a veterinary student/VOICE board member and offered a variety of awareness ribbons/pins to members of the college (anxiety, depression, LGBT, HIV/AIDS). In the upcoming semester we will be volunteering at a local HIV/AIDS organization as well as packaging food products for a local food bank.
Most Improved Chapter Award:
Oklahoma State University
The “Most Improved Chapter” award acknowledges a Chapter which has, in the course of the year, expanded its membership, developed its programming, and achieved a significantly greater level of interest in comparison to the previous year. The recipient of this award is not required to have been unsuccessful in their past programming efforts but, must have displayed significant improvement by expanding its dedication to the promotion of the ideals of VOICE and the quality of their programming.
For Oklahoma State University, this was our first year being reinstated as a VOICE Chapter at our university, and it has been received quite well! We currently have 18 paid members, with 10 others that showed an interest. I consider this to be doing quite well, because I did not expect to be able to reach the minimum member requirements set by our school. This semester we hosted our first diversity panel discussion, which had 45 student participants plus staff. Since beginning this chapter, we have had several companies reach out to sponsor our events, including a bias workshop and diversity in business talk, which will both be taking place in the spring. This semester, we also hosted our fall bake sale and raised over $270 for out local kitten rescue, Tiny Paws. In the spring, we will be hosting a craft night for dog and cat toys to give to the local humane society. I am quite impressed by the reception we have received since beginning, I believe it is only going to improve from here. I am very happy with my current team of officers and all the work we have put into bringing awareness to our university.
AFFIRMATIVE LEADERSHIP AWARD:
Amber has been a pioneer of diversity and inclusion on our campus since I’ve met her first year. She is brave, honest and passionate and these characteristics shine through all of the events she has organized while an executive board member of VOICE. She holds the positions of Broad Spectrum Representative and Treasurer. As the Treasurer, she has ensured we will leave the next members in a better financial situation than we faced when we entered the positions. She has successfully applied for various grants within our university and outside opportunities to allow us to host events, speakers and lectures. She has also facilitated fundraiser events along with sales to increase our budget. As the Broad Spectrum representative, she has hosted school wide events to spread acceptance and awareness. One such event was a school wide banner signing. The banner has a black and white broad spectrum logo in the middle. We had students and faculty sign and add words of encouragement with rainbow colored permanent markers throughout the banner. Her hope for the piece is to fill it with color and display it on campus to portray unity and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community. Amber is deserving of recognition and celebration for her accomplishments while on the executive board and the lasting impact her efforts have made at our university.
Alicia is the founder of VOICE at Midwestern University. She has worked closely with Dr. Gartrell, the assistant dean and faculty adviser for VOICE in order to bring our organization to life. There have been many difficulties in garnering interest in VOICE on our campus – many students in our program and even faculty already believe our profession is diverse, which is a big misconception. Despite low attendance and poor attitudes towards VOICE, Alicia has continued to push VOICE forward by organizing events, acting as a source of positivity, and trying to educate others on why inclusion is important and engaging others to consider how their thoughts and actions affect others. Coming from a poor socio-economic background and being raised by two disabled parents, Alicia has faced a lot of adversity herself in even entering our profession. As a result, I feel her views on these particular topics are especially important to be aware of and need to be communicated – people too often think of diversity and inclusion applying only to race, but it goes so much more beyond that. Like many veterinary students, Alicia will have the burden of immense student loans. I feel she deserves a chance at this scholarship to lessen that burden. Regardless if any scholarship is awarded, I know Alicia will continue to lead our VOICE chapter in the right direction and make sure its seeds are sown for future classes at our university.
Although Daniella has no official role on any diversity and inclusion committee, she is a strong advocate for inclusion on our campus. She has spent the last semester collecting feedback from her peers about how they are assimilating to veterinary school. She has further shown her commitment to D&I by then bringing the information she collected to our colleges Director of Inclusion and Diversity. She requested that every semester encompass some form of mandatory bias training for all students. She believes that if the school is truly committed to D&I then they must back it up with their actions. The students that require the most bias training are those that never attend the optional D&I events, she advocated that each student needs to be educated in D&I in order to be better colleagues and better doctors. In order to improve the lives of students of color at OSU, she also requested a therapist of color be hired to the veterinary school counseling office. She advocated for this so that minority students are able to minimize the emotional labor of describing their experiences during therapy, as well as to offer a safer space for students of color to express their feelings. Daniella has also advocated for improved ways for applying for positions in school organizations. Some students feel as though they aren’t the “right type of student” for leadership roles and so they do not apply. Some students also feel there is favoritism when upperclassman select underclassman for positions. In order to combat this, Daniella has presented the issue to the school in order to get the ball rolling on improving the process, as well as advocating for leaders to take bias training in order to fill their positions. Daniella is an excellent example of devotion to diversity and inclusion and I hope that you will consider supporting her efforts through this scholarship.
Tatum is one of the most hardworking, intelligent, and committed people I have ever met. She is especially committed to our local VOICE chapter and diversity in general. She is our VOICE Chapter president and has helped organize lectures and community service activities related to race, ethnicity, sexuality, disability status, women’s leadership, and more. She led the initiative for our chapter to volunteer with Cookie Cart, a local organization that employs and educates underprivileged teens in Minneapolis. She organized a day long Veterinary Women’s Leadership workshop the past two years and this year is helping organize a day long Disability and Accessibility in Veterinary Medicine workshop. She is also the sole student leader of our This is How We Role program, adapted from the Purdue program, that educates children about veterinary medicine and educates veterinary students about diversity. She organizes the student workers/volunteers, coordinates with the reservation school, and is the point of contact for the faculty leaders. Tatum is also a strong advocate for change when it comes to diversity in our CVM. She attends the Diversity and Inclusion Committee meetings and is the strongest student voice to the faculty in matters involving diversity. She regularly meets with administration to check up on progress of different diversity and inclusion programs, many of which she helped get started. A major recent accomplishment is that she helped push the administration to hire a faculty member whose sole job will be working on diversity initiatives, and it looks promising that this will be happening. She is also the president of VeTouch, a student organization that hosts a clinic every month in Minneapolis for underserved people and their pets. Tatum has a passion for international travel and cultures, and serves as one of our unofficial International Veterinary Student Associate (IVSA) representative, attending their congress in Poland last year. She is also involved as the treasurer of our SAVMA Chapter. She has a commitment to getting other students involved as well. For example, even though she isn’t able to attend Iverson Bell this year, due to it being the same weekend as SAVMA Symposium, she is directly helping the students that will be going find funding and organize travel. She has made it a personal mission to get as many people involved in VOICE as possible, even having her partner come in to do magic (he is really good) at our sign up table and giving out cookies (from Cookie Cart) to everyone that has liked our facebook page. Tatum also has a commitment to the community outside of school, serving as a volunteer tutor for high school students. I know you may be thinking, how can one person do all of this?! That is exactly what I think about Tatum every day that I have had the pleasure of working with her, and I am honestly probably forgetting about multiple other things she does for diversity and her local community. Not only does she accomplish all of this in an effective and prompt manor, but also with a quiet passion for diversity and inclusion that inspires the people around her. I am so fortunate to have her as a colleague and a friend.
PURDUE CERTIFICATE SPONSORSHIP:
Ann Marie Wronkowski — Midwestern University
Cara Donnici — Midwestern University
Clara Cole — University of Wisconsin-Madison
Erika Wright-McAfee — Midwestern University
Justin Gaudier — Midwestern University
Kayla Anderson — St. George’s University
Maegha Singh — University of California-Davis
Matthew Sullivan — University of Minnesota
Nguyen Than — University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rachel Halbrook — Louisiana State University
Ruby Soto — University of Minnesota
Sasha Lisowski — Midwestern University
Valerie Marcano — University of Georgia-Athens