Students Receive Social Justice Awards

Three UMKC students were presented with Social Justice Scholars Awards on April 27 after a day of presentations. Nineteen students presented work that highlighted campus commitment to social justice and student excellence.

This year’s winners are:

First Place ($500): Minha Jutt, The Effect of Global Warming on Marginalized Peoples  

Mentor: Abigail Shaffer, lecturer, Department of English


Second Place ($300): Jonathan Rizzo, Exodus Cry: Confronting Human Trafficking’s Tyrannical Triad

Mentor: Allyson McNitt, lecturer, Department of English


Third Place ($150) Drew Cox, Tearing Down Walls: Responding to Latino Health Care Disparities in the United States

Mentors: Clara Irazabal-Zurita, professor of Urban Planning, Director of the Latina/Latino Studies Program; and Rhiannon Dickerson, discourse coordinator and lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies.

Honorable Mentions: Jessica Sliger, Markie Roach and Saffa Raja.

The Social Justice Awards recognize UMKC students who have produced works of interdisciplinary scholarship and creativity within the scope of their general education curriculum that contribute to and demonstrate active commitment to promoting social justice on the UMKC campus and within the greater Kansas City community.

The competition draws from a diversity of perspectives and disciplines and asks students to confront the assumptions that lie hidden in the world around us. It requires students to engage old ideas in new ways. It teaches students that the height of scholarship is to unify and explain the diversity of human experiences in ways that are personal, accessible, affective and well-researched.

Awards were presented in partnership by the discourse coordinator; the Division of Diversity and Inclusion; and University Advancement. The program is sponsored by the UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion and University Advancement.

Student presentations were judged by this panel of volunteers: Angel Tucker, youth services manager, Johnson County Libraries; Rodney Smith, interim director Academic Support and Mentoring; Tracey Hughes, library instruction and reference librarian, Dental Library and Co-Liaison Librarian for Black Studies, Miller Nichols Library; Lona Davenport, diversity program coordinator; Makini King, director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives; and Danielle Martinez, executive assistant of Division of Diversity and Inclusion.

All awardees are invited to present their work at UMKC’s Educate-Organize-Advocate: Civic and Community Engagement Conference on Oct. 20.

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