Three groups to receive Carol Hollenshead Inspire Awards


Three University of Michigan groups will receive the Carol Hollenshead Inspire Award for Excellence in Promoting Equity and Social Change at the CEW+ Advocacy Symposium on Sept. 21.

This year’s recipients are:

  • ORBIT Labs: Online Resources for Building Intercultural Teams.
  • STAR (Scholarship, Transferrable skills, Academics, & Research) Scholars.
  • Community Advisory Board for Lupus Care and Research.

The award honors the 20-year tenure of Hollenshead, the former CEW+ director. Leaders from each group will deliver lightning talks at the event, and then participate in a live panel discussion focused on the symposium theme, “Creating Change Through Introspection, Dialogue, and Action.”

ORBIT Labs is led by Kelly Murdoch-Kitt, associate professor of design in the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design.

Kelly Murdoch-Kitt
Kelly Murdoch-Kitt

For the past 12 years, Murdoch-Kitt’s research has demonstrated her commitment to diversity and inclusion by studying how to use visual thinking as a powerful tool for building bridges across various types of cultural differences, such as disciplinary, experiential and geographic.

Her 2020 book, “Intercultural Collaboration by Design: Drawing from Differences, Distances, and Disciplines through Visual Thinking,” co-authored with Denielle Emans, provides a framework and more than 30 structured activities that introduce visual thinking as a route to promote equity and inclusion.

The context of their research has been Collaborative Online International Learning courses, and they have tested and refined these approaches with more than 350 students from more than 20 different countries. Their methods are applicable to various educational and organizational contexts, and are accessible to diverse audiences outside of art or design disciplines.

STAR is an evidence-based program that increases underrepresented-student involvement in research. Led by Cindy Lustig, professor of psychology in LSA, STAR provides first- and second-year students and transfer students from underrepresented, low-income or first-generation college student backgrounds with workshops and small-group mentoring to overcome the barriers of the “hidden curriculum” and help them become involved in research.

Cindy Lustig
Cindy Lustig

It has dramatically increased underrepresented-student participation in research in the psychology department, and in the senior/honors thesis program. More than a skills-training program, STAR puts a major emphasis on near-peer mentorship, and helping STAR Scholars develop their self-confidence and feeling of belonging in the science community.

While lupus is more common and more severe among Black adults compared with white adults, Black communities are underrepresented in both clinical research and educational resources for lupus.

Increasing the racial/ethnic diversity of participants in lupus research and prioritizing the needs and perspectives of marginalized communities in the design and conduct of research are intertwined goals of the Community Advisory Board for Lupus Care and Research (Lupus CAB), established by the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center Health Equity Core.

Kourtney Pony
Kourtney Pony

Kourtney Pony, a medical and MBA student, is the student lead for the Lupus CAB, which consists of research faculty with expertise in health equity, physician scientists in rheumatology, Black women with lupus, family members of those living with lupus, and other representatives of Black communities across Michigan.

The Lupus CAB also aims to identify opportunities for academic-community partnerships that support lupus patients at critical time points, and develop strategies for building community interest and engagement in research. 

In addition to the talks at the symposium, each group will lead a 90-minute workshop during the 2022-23 academic year as a component of the CEW+Inspire Initiative, which focuses on wellness while creating social change. The workshops highlight the authentic journeys of social change leaders, spotlighting them as role models for others aspiring to work toward social change.

The CEW+ Advocacy Symposium runs from noon-6 p.m. Sept. 21. 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.


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