Commission on the Status of Women

CSW Outstanding Achievement and Contribution Awards

2013 Award Recipients

Delia Saenz, Associate Professor, Psychology and former Vice Provost of Institutional Inclusion
The list of success and accomplishments of Dr. Delia Saenz in the areas of diversity and inclusion cannot accurately be captured in a short awards presentation.   Throughout her many years at ASU, Delia has demonstrated herself to be a voice for underrepresented groups and a tireless advocate for diversity.  It’s not just a job well done, but it’s the passion, dedication, and all of those ways in which Delia has gone above and beyond that we are recognizing today.  She is not only professional in her representation of ASU and its capacities but she is passionate about the potential that it has to impact the lives of students, particularly students who come from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. While many examples of Delia’s work was provided to the Commission, we would like to take a special moment to highlight her work with the American Indian community at ASU.  In her work on implementing American Indian Initiatives, Delia made it a priority to restructure the American Indian Student Support Services Program as she recognized that first time freshmen were not being appropriately served.  For years, American Indian first time freshman at ASU have had the lowest retention rates among other diverse groups.   Staff assumed other ASU Programs were providing support to this group of students.  Delia identified the gap in services and worked with AISSS staff to develop a meaningful program that would focus services on the most vulnerable ASU populations.  As a result, staff felt empowered to develop meaningful and culturally relevant responses to the student’s need.  Today, and into the future, first time freshman are receiving the attention that they need to successfully meet the challenges of their first year in college.  This is only one example of how she has made a lasting impact.  We close by sharing with you the words of one of her nominators, who was a student engaged by the Delia’s work at the Intergroup Relations Center , “As a student engaged in the work of the Intergroup Relationship Center, I was greatly impacted and inspired by Delia Saenz.  This inspiration eventually lead to me dedicating my own life’s work to such important endeavors.  It’s because of leaders like Delia that the seed was planted in me to respect the importance of understanding and working towards such topics as intergroup coexistence, equality and success for underrepresented groups, etc.  Her work towards such efforts has only flourished and many more people have been positively impacted by her work.”

Adriene Jenik, Professor and Director, School of Art
In her work at ASU and in our community, Adriene Jenik has proven herself to be an advocate for women and underrepresented groups.  Within the School of Art, Adriene hasmade significant efforts to diversify student populations and faculty.  For example, she has worked with alumnus Kade Twist on a Native American student recruitment and retention effort, has initiated a Community Murals class that connects undergraduate students in ASU residence halls with local Latino art talent in the Calle 16 mural collective, and has prepared nominations for and secured fellowship funding for more than twenty incoming women, underrepresented and financially deserving graduate students.  She has provided strong guidance to search committees for new faculty hires, encouraging careful consideration for minority candidates.  Before her arrival, minorities constituted eight percent of full-time faculty in the School of Art.  Now, the percentage has almost doubled to fourteen percent.  Taking LGBT candidates into account, all four new faculty hires since her arrival have been among underrepresented populations.  The School of Art is poised to hire three additional faculty; women will fill two of the new posts.  In addition to her leadership in diversifying the School of Art, Adriene Jenik has proven herself to be a mentor and a tireless advocate for those whose voices are often not heard.  She has mentored four junior women faculty successfully through the tenure process and has provided support for countless more.  Adriene works behind the scenes to ensure that the efforts of women and previously marginalized groups within our community are supported.  In addition to her work at ASU, Adriene is also working within the community to ensure that children of the greatest need have a voice.  She is a sworn "court appointed special advocate" (CASA) for Maricopa County.  This is a monthly, fifteen-to-twenty hour volunteer commitment whereby she is assigned to a child who has been removed from their home and is a ward of the state.  She serves as the child's advocate until his or her case is closed.  In the words of her nominator, “her personal commitments as a member of many communities and to her own practice as an artist go well beyond what many are able to accomplish.”  

Brenda Hogue, Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences and the Biodesign Institute
It is no secret that women and minorities are significantly underrepresented in science professions. Just how much is eye-opening.  The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs.  For Dr. Brenda Hogue, this was a call for action.  Brenda saw deficiencies in the preparation of female and underrepresented students who wanted to go on to pursue careers in biomedicine. Unfair circumstances prevented these students from achieving their career goals. Brenda was inspired to do something about the gap in opportunity and has supported several innovative programs that are serving these populations at ASU. She has certainly been an inspiration at ASU to take action in advocating for positive change.  Responding to this need, Brenda Hogue developed the ASU Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) for Biomedical Research. She serves as the as primary investigator and director of the program. PREP is a training program that focuses on helping underrepresented students prepare for entry and success in Ph.D. graduate programs in the biomedical sciences. Upon obtaining an undergraduate degree, the program provides a one- or two-year intensive experience to fill the gaps the students need to continue and be accepted to advanced degree programs.
To date, the PREP program, under Brenda’s direction, has provided mentored research, academic preparation and skill/training activities for 29 students. Currently 8 students are active PREP scholars. Of the students who have already participated, 90 percent are currently enrolled in a PhD program or medical school or joined the workforce in a STEM career.  Dr. Hogue’s efforts not only increase the visibility of the need for programs such as PREP, but it changes the status quo to help us reach the day when every young girl who dreams of becoming a scientist can do just that.

Keith Crnic, Chair & Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
A factor that is often essential to the success of women and other underrepresented groups is a culture of support and encouragement.  In his role as Department Chair of Psychology, Dr. Keith Crnic has effectively demonstrated himself to be a model leader who not only believes in promoting women’s success, but in creating a culture that is supportive and fair, and of the highest quality.  It is a culture that supports diversity, creative thinking and the value of everyone’s input.  The result of such effort is a diverse department where women not only succeed but often rise to leadership positions and positions of power.  As a testament to Keith’s commitment to the success of his women faculty and under-represented individuals in his department, Keith’s nomination was a book length compilation of stories from women faculty in Psychology which all echoed the same thing.  Keith does whatever it takes to help women succeed and his motto of “We’ll make it work” does just that.  We share with you the nomination submitted by one faculty member which encapsulates much of what makes Keith’s efforts special.  “Keith is a steady champion for women in his role as head of a large productive department.  Numerous women have advanced to positions of leadership while he has been head of the psychology department and he has been highly influential in supporting these accomplishments.  I count myself among the many fortunate women that have been guided and supported by Keith through major career and family decisions.  Keith promotes a positive climate for women through daily actions and values.  In matters of hiring, promotion and tenure decisions, and other important responsibilities, he consistently challenges the department to make sure that women are given fair consideration.  All else being equal in a decision to interview or hire a candidate, for example he will be the first to push for a woman candidate.  On the issues of salary as well, he has advocated extremely well for women faculty, always with the goal of promoting the highest quality of scholarship, teaching and service at ASU.    Keith is sensitive to women’s issues in academia.  For example, he works with women faculty on issues of maternity leave and other family-related matters to ensure they can balance personal and professional needs, and he evenhandedly applies the same standards with male employees as well.  With Keith, these issues are never political or polarizing.  They are matters of fairness and justice, and thus, they have shaped a strong culture of support for women and women’s issues among faculty, staff, and students.”

Ayanna Thompson, Professor of English and Associate Dean of Faculty for CLAS
In her decade’s tenure at ASU, Dr. Ayanna Thompson, has established herself as a charismatic, visionary leader and teacher who strives to make an impact with everything she does.  She believes in supporting the success of others, and has made outstanding efforts to help many succeed against the greatest odds.  While her list of achievements and success is long, the ASU Commission on the Status of Women is proud to honor her today for the outstanding mentorship that she has provided to both students and fellow faculty.  Over the years, Dr. Thompson has been an outstanding mentor to countless students in the English department, helping them to reach noteworthy achievements.  Her long list of success stories includes many women, and students of color.   In several instances, Dr. Thompson goes to extraordinary lengths to help these students, even while many of them faced significant challenges to finish their programs.  Dr. Thompson has also been an outstanding mentor to students who are parents, especially mothers returning to school, and mothers who were on the brink of quitting their programs.  All of these women were able to finish or are currently on the path to completing their degree due to Dr. Thompson’s direct support and encouragement.  In addition to supporting students, Dr. Thompson has provided significant support to faculty colleagues, particularly faculty women.  While she was preparing for her own tenure and promotion, Dr. Thompson made significant efforts to support and mentor faculty colleagues inside and outside of her department at ASU.  This pattern has continued throughout her career.  There are literally tens of examples—in which Dr. Thompson not only listened, but advised and shared her wealth of knowledge and expertise, which made all the difference in success of faculty colleagues.

Ramsey Eric Ramsey, Associate Dean of Barrett The Honors College and Associate Professor, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Dean Ramsey Eric Ramsey is a highly accomplished academic who is well liked and deeply respected by all who know him.  He treats everyone with respect, especially those who often may not speak up for themselves.  His inherent belief in equality and kindness is reflected in how he addresses each person from student, to academic to administrator.  It is in this spirit, that Dean Ramsey has demonstrated himself to be an advocate of women and underrepresented groups.  Through his leadership and mentorship, he has created an on-going system that promotes the success of women and underrepresented groups , including first generation college students.  As the Associate Dean of Barrett Honors College (BHC) for the West campus, Eric Ramsey advocates for first generation students.  Dr. Ramsey believes many first generation or underrepresented students may not be aware of their own potential to do great work and do not consider themselves Honors College worthy.  He is often seen meeting with students and families individually to learn more about each student and provides them with the opportunities for knowledge and growth.  Dr. Ramsey travels to remote and rural communities in Arizona to talk to students who often have not encountered an academic or thought about the possibility of college at a large research institution.  In addition to first generation students, Dr. Ramsey is a strong advocate for women.  He actively mentors female staff who report to him, along with graduate and undergraduate students.  There are countless examples of women who have succeeded with their professional and educational goals in part to Dean Ramsey’s support and mentorship.  An undergraduate female, first- generation college student shared that Dean Ramsey has been critical to her success in college as a mentor and he has made her realize that she can accomplish what she sets out to do.  In the words of one of his nominators, “Dean Ramsey does not need to volunteer to flip pancakes at the midnight breakfast serving students, nor open his home and family to welcome students during the holidays, or to reassure recent doctoral graduates of their worth, but he does all these things and more. This is what makes him special.”

Barbara Aarestad, Coordinator and Career Counselor, Career Preparation Center at ASU Polytechnic
Historically, women have been underrepresented in fields of science and engineering.  Barbara Aarestad is dedicated to changing that history.  As a career counselor and employment advisor, she realizes how crucial the inclusion of women in the technology professions is to the advancement of women in our global society.  Through her work with undergraduate students on the cusp of their careers and with young girls in our community, Barbara is committed to making sure that women have the tools that they need to succeed.  In 2011, Barbara became an advisor to the Polytechnic WISE (Women in Science and Engineering), an organization focused on advancing women’s entry into professional careers in science and engineering.  Barbara works tirelessly with undergraduate students, providing them with the knowledge and support they need to succeed and effectively compete.  Barbara believes through education, support and encouragement of women scholars, the gender gap in technology fields will be  closed.   And it is this belief that frames the work that she does not only with young scholars, but future scholars as well.  Barbara forged a relationship with the Girls Scouts of America Scout leadership in Arizona.  Working with the Arizona Cactus Pine Girl Scout Council, she is currently designing STEM curriculum as part of the Girl Scout Merit Badges and Handbook.  The STEM curriculum she is helping to create and implement will provide the tools to prepare the next generation of young girls to pursue careers in the STEM fields.  In the words of her nominator, “Barbara’s expertise in career counseling and her enthusiasm to help women achieve their goals manifests in her daily conversation.  She brings a tremendous energy and productivity to all her projects and devotes herself to a project completely to ensure the success of the endeavor.  She is a great asset to the university community and our greater community.”

ASU Cesar Chavez Leadership Institute (CCLI)
A report in 1997 indicated that Hispanic educational attainment in Arizona continued to lag behind that of other ethnic groups including Whites, African Americans and Asians.  Less than 5% of Hispanics in Arizona had a bachelors degree and 48% did not graduate from high school.  In order to ensure the continued development of its economy and quality of life, Arizona needed to utilize the untapped resource that its Hispanic community represented. 
The ASU Cesar Chavez Leadership Institute (CCLI) was established in 1995 to fill a gap in leadership development training for underrepresented Hispanic high school students in the state of Arizona. CCLI is a high energy, one-week in-residence leadership workshop at Arizona State University for high school sophomores and juniors from around the state.  Students are invited to apply for 60 available program slots.  Selected students participate in a one-of-a-kind experience that embraces diversity, reinforces the value of community service and encourages civic engagement.   The program also fosters academic and personal success within a collaborative peer environment.  To date, CCLI has provided over 800 Arizona high school students with leadership development skills while advancing the goal of pursuing higher education.  Program tracking shows a 93% high school graduation rate among CCLI alumni over the past five years.  Of those delegates who graduated from high school, 87% went on to pursue higher education with 60% of those students choosing ASU.  But perhaps the best demonstration of the impact of CCLI comes in the words of one of their graduates,   “At the Cesar Chavez Leadership Institute, I met other students also committed to following their passions and not afraid to be the first at something.  I learned that it’s okay to be different.  The fact that everyone comes from a different background allows for more creativity; and my unique experience as a Mexican American and a woman, has propelled me to do the unthinkable without fear or hesitation.  Years later, I’ve graduated with a degree I love, I have lived and worked abroad, and now reside in my favorite city doing my dream job.”