Colorado State University Honors Four Individuals Who Have Contributed to Better Understanding of Diversity on Campus

Four individuals were honored for outstanding contributions to multicultural understanding and awareness on the Colorado State campus on May 3. The 11th Annual Minority Distinguished Service Awards Luncheon was hosted by the Colorado State Minority and Staff Caucus and sponsored by the Office of the Provost.

The four individuals being recognized at the luncheon were V. Chandrasekar, professor of electrical engineering; Arlene F. Nededog, director of undergraduate retention programs for the College of Natural Sciences; Harold Santistevan, operations manager for Housing and Food Services; and Nina Roberts, recipient of the 1999 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship.

Nina Roberts, from Columbia, Maryland, is a doctoral student in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism and a recognized authority in the fields of natural resource management and outdoor recreation and education. She received her undergraduate degree in physical education at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts and attended graduate school at the University of Maryland at College Park.

"Nina’s commitment is not only to land conservation efforts, but includes her dedication to the inclusion of people of color and women’s voices in the field of natural resource recreation," said Sharon J. Washington, associate professor at Springfield College in her letter of recommendation.

The Martin Luther King award is given to a graduate student for outstanding achievement in academics and in the advancement of minority education. Over the years, the award, which was inspired by King’s philosophy of justice, peace and human dignity, has provided small supplemental and emergency grants to more than 70 graduate students. In 1996, an endowment fund was established, and scholarship recipients now are fully supported for one year of graduate study, with stipends of $9,000 and graduate school tuition for an entire academic year.

V. Chandrasekar, a professor of electrical engineering, also is a member of the College Committee on Diversity. For the 15 years he has been with the university, Chandrasekar has tirelessly worked with students, serving as their mentor and friend.

"Students talk to me about their problems and I try to help them," he said. "It’s that simple.""

Arlene Nededog, director of undergraduate retention programs for the College of Natural Sciences, has had 14 years experience in the recruitment and retention of minority students. At Colorado State she serves as chairwoman and representative for Colorado State University’s Multicultural Commission and has presented numerous cross-cultural communication workshops for various departments and organizations. As part of her work, she has developed a retention plan for the Minority Student Resource Center. Other accomplishments include developing a networking program linking women interested in science with women faculty; creating the Student Hispanic Honor Society, for which she is also the key advisor; and facilitating academic success groups targeting minority students.

Harold Santistevan, operations manager for Housing and Food Services at Colorado Sate, was nominated for his support of the local Poudre School District’s Professional and Community PACE program, which provides minority high school students the opportunity to develop skills and grow while learning a trade.

"Many of these employees go on to other work because Harold has helped build in them a sense of character and self-worth," said Pete Wilson Sr., who nominated Santistevan for the award.

Steve Williams, co-founder and executive director of POWER, People Organized to Win Employment Rights, served as keynote speaker. POWER is a multi-racial organization made up of, and run by, low-wage and no-wage workers and seeks to create living wage jobs, raise the wages and improve the working conditions of low-income workers.

A 1992 graduate of Stanford University with a degree in American Studies, Williams was a staff member of the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness before co-founding POWER in 1997. He has been the recipient of several awards for his work with the organization.