Three University of Michigan faculty members, one student-led group and one staff-led group will receive the Carol Hollenshead Inspire Award for Excellence in Promoting Equity and Social Change at the virtual CEW+ Advocacy Symposium on Sept. 28.
The award honors the former CEW+ director’s 20-year tenure at CEW+. Recipients will record lightning talks that will be sent to attendees prior to the event, and then participate in a live panel discussion titled, “Amplifying Narratives and Engaging Communities to Create Systemic Change.”
Kristi Gamarel is the John G. Searle Assistant Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education in the School of Public Health. Her research focuses on addressing health inequities experienced by LGBTQ+ communities.
She is a founding member of the “Love Her Collective,” which is a community-academic partnership between the Trans Sistas of Color Project, with the expressed mission of holistically addressing the health needs of transgender women of color in Detroit.
Nicolai Lehnert is a professor of chemistry and of biophysics in LSA and has been on the U-M faculty since 2006. His work is focused on the coordination chemistry of nitric oxide as it pertains to biological systems, in particular nitric oxide reductases, but also heme proteins and biocatalysis.
In 2013 he formed D-RISE, the Detroit Research Internship Summer Experience, a partnership with Cass Technical High School in Detroit to provide summer internships for Cass students to perform full-time research for seven weeks in a chemistry laboratory at U-M.
Marilee A. Benore is a professor of biochemistry and biology at UM-Dearborn. She teaches biochemistry courses as well as those that intersect science, equity and inclusion. She is active in the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, serving as national director of the student chapters, and is a member of the Women in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Committee, and co-authored a popular lab manual.
Her lab investigates vitamin transport using Riboflavin Binding Protein in the hen as a model, and with collaborators is developing an assay to measure riboflavin in at-risk populations. In addition to lab work, she seeks to understand the persistence of women in science, technology, engineering and math via oral histories and surveys.
Developing Future Biologists is an educational outreach organization led by graduate students and postdocs at U-M. Its mission is to ensure that the next generation of biologists, regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status, can learn the core concepts of developmental biology and are made aware of the vast opportunities that exist to pursue a career in the sciences.
DFB organizes a weeklong summer short course aimed at teaching undergraduate students fundamental concepts in developmental biology in a small class setting with close instructor-student mentorship. Throughout the week students attend interactive lectures, hands-on lab sections and professional development workshops.
Rikki Morrow-Spitzer and Caitlin Taylor, who currently serve on the staff of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, where they helped establish the Faculty and Staff Allies Network for Sexual Misconduct in 2018.
In 2020, they released the Sexual Misconduct Toolkit: A Guide for Faculty and Staff in the Performing Arts, which is now being used as a model across campus. They are both passionate about creating and evaluating programs, policies and practices for greater equity and inclusion.
In addition to the talks at the symposium, each recipient will lead a 90-minute workshop once during the 2021-22 academic year as a component of the CEW+Inspire Initiative, which focuses on wellness while creating social change. The intent of the workshops is to highlight the authentic journeys of social change leaders, spotlighting them as role models for others aspiring to work towards social change.
The CEW+ Advocacy Symposium runs from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Sept. 28. It is free and open to students, faculty and staff from all U-M campuses who are activists, advocates and allies, as well as anyone interested in being an agent for positive social change. Registration is required.