Nebraska DEI Impact Award 2023 Recipients

Markeya receives award from Marco Barker

Diversity Leadership Staff Award

Dr. Markeya Peteranetz work has helped to elevate and inform conversations in the college of engineering around inclusive excellence. She has played a crucial role in the college-wide climate survey that was conducted in the fall of 2021 and the subsequent actions that have been taken in response to the survey results. Additionally, Dr. Peteranetz was instrumental in the process of creating the rubrics College of Engineering faculty hiring committees use to evaluate candidate teaching, research, and diversity statements. These rubrics increase the objectivity and fairness of the hiring process for each faculty position, contribute to college efforts to recruit and retain an excellent and diverse faculty, and have been used in every hiring cycle since they were created.

Chad Brassil receives award from Marco Barker

Diversity Leadership Faculty Award

As an instructor, Dr. Chad Brassil has made positive impacts both with students as well as with his fellow instructors. For more than a decade, he has poured incredible amounts of energy into incorporating research-based instructional practices into his courses, such as by creating dozens of content videos so that students can spend time during class on group activities. He pioneered the use of the CATME program at UNL, an algorithm-based program that supports best practices for building inclusive student discussion groups. As co-chair of the College of Arts and Sciences IDEA Committee, Dr. Brassil helped usher in the adoption of the Human Diversity in U.S. Communities course requirement for all students in the college.

Daelyn receives award from Marco Barker

Promising Undergraduate Student Leader Award

Daelyn Zagurski is a testament to the fact that to be an Inclusive Husker, resilience and character matter. Coming from a Native American Indian Reservation, Daelyn had to overcome barriers many Indigenous students like herself face. Yet, due to the limited opportunities while growing up, Daelyn faced challenges adjusting to the academic rigors of UNL classes. The pandemic only exacerbated these challenges. However, Daelyn persisted. In the end, Daelyn is thriving and embodied the values of successful Huskers – she worked hard, remained humble, and never gave up. Her nominator noted, “Daelyn understands the importance of education and carries the responsibility to be an exemplary role model for younger members of her community – a task she has exceeded and takes seriously.”

Ritu receives award from Marco Barker

Promising Graduate Student Leader Award

Ritu Jadwani has served as the department’s representative for the Graduate Student Assembly, has volunteered her time to the department’s Professional Advisory Council, and has engaged with other departmental graduate students through different organized events. Within her courses, she’s also collaborated with Echo Collective, where she assisted immigrant or refugee women entrepreneurs in creating a visual merchandising strategy when selling products. Ritu’s nominator noted, “ is with this same self-starter spirit, that Ritu has participated or led DEI efforts on the UNL Campus. Many international students, incoming students, Fulbright, and other visiting international scholars, recognize Ritu because she engaged with them during welcoming events hosted upon their arrival on campus.

MENA receive award from Marco Barker

Collective Impact Award

MENA was founded in 2020 by a group of three people who wanted to create a Middle Eastern and North African community on Campus. MENA strives to create a home for all the Middle Eastern and North African students on campus, spread awareness about cultures, and support the community inside and outside campus. Through MENA, UNL students can learn about others' cultures, make new friends, and work with other organizations to create a support system for the people in need. One of MENA’s nominators noted, “ say MENA has created a welcoming and supportive campus climate through efforts such as visibility, communication and education is an understatement. MENA is constantly striving and working to create an inclusive safe space for all students while redefining and expanding what it means to be Middle Eastern and North African. And above all, each MENA meeting and event presents an opportunity to both learn and grow as an ally. To create this kind of change as a small student organization is a challenge. Yet, MENA does not only step up to the challenge but exceeds it.”

Jose Soto receive award from Marco Barker

Diversity Leadership Alumni Award 

Since 1992, Jose Soto has served as Vice President for Access/Equity/Diversity at Southeast Community College in Lincoln. His involvement in higher education has also included teaching and consulting with other educational institutions regarding diversity leadership, cultural competence, and inclusion. Jose's advocacy is also apparent in his community involvement. Jose was appointed to the Commissioner on the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission at its inception in 2017 and was reappointed by the Supreme Court for an additional term in 2019. The Commission’s purpose is “To promote the Nebraska Supreme Court’s goal of providing equal access to swift, fair justice for all Nebraskans regardless of income, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, age or language.” His nominator said, “Jose is a strong voice on the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission, encouraging us to constantly move forward with actions designed to make the courts more accessible to all Nebraskans.”

Peter Ferguson receive award from Marco Barker

Diversity Community Impact Award

Peter Ferguson is not only making an impact with students across Lincoln Public Schools in his role as Coordinator of Culture, Inclusion, and Scholar Development, but through his other professional and personal involvements, he is making an impact in the larger community, including UNL. He builds and champions structures that develop youth while also investing in and affirming them from graduation through college—particularly those students who continue at UNL. Pete’s nominator noted, “Pete’s courage, kindness, humor, power, intelligence, and bravery to put our student voice at the forefront, despite grand obstacles and much pushback, has made a huge impact on my life and many other students who are underrepresented and lack a place at the table. It has been Pete’s passion and dedication to maximize the voices of students of color [in order] to enact change in all areas of Lincoln Public Schools and the greater Lincoln community.”