Congratulations to Karine Fénelon, NSB faculty member and Assistant Professor in the Biology department, and Wayne Barnaby, NSB PhD student, for each winning an Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion award from the College of Natural Sciences. Both demonstrated leadership in anti-racism actions and have put a personal face on systemic problems both here at UMass and more generally in the nation.
Dr. Fénelon has taken an active role in combatting racism and has been an important source of strength for Black students in this very difficult year. She served as a liaison between UMass Black STEM students and the UMass Black STEM faculty, facilitating monthly meetings between these groups. She has advanced diversity awareness and understanding within the college, she has promoted policies and practices that strengthen a culture of inclusivity, she has served as an advocate for the interests of under-represented populations, and she has led efforts aimed at improving diversity.
Wayne Barnaby organized a petition to the UMass administration calling for implementation of structural changes to support the UMass Black and Brown Community. More than 3000 people signed the petition, which raised awareness of structural racism on campus and galvanized many groups on campus to take action, including NSB.
Recipients of the College of Natural Sciences Excellence awards are nominated by colleagues within the college and chosen by committees with designees appointed by Dean Serio. According to the nomination guidelines, “successful nominees will have demonstrated, through their actions, leadership and/or innovation in increasing, retaining, and supporting the success of individuals who have been historically underrepresented in CNS and/or in removing the barriers that prevent full participation of all members of our community.”
On behalf of the entire NSB community, congratulations to our colleagues for this well-earned recognition of the hard and painful work that helps UMass continue to grow in becoming the diverse, equitable, and inclusive community deserved by all of its members. To read their statements of acceptance, visit the CNS awards page.