On January 12, the Indiana University Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (VPDEI) hosted "An Afternoon Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." Featuring welcome remarks, student performances, and a keynote address by IU alumnus Shaun Harper, the event also included the presentation of the 2024 Building Bridges Awards.
Presented annually to one student and one other individual on each IU campus, the Building Bridges Award "recognizes individuals and organizations that demonstrate Dr. King's vision, spirit, and leadership in ways both big and small at IU and within communities across Indiana."
Both winners from the Bloomington campus call the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington (SPH-B) their academic home.
Ramir Williams, a Ph.D. student in sport marketing, was honored for his ongoing work as a graduate assistant, which VPDEI calls "an extension of his personal goal to achieve a more equitable society." He was also celebrated for his contributions to equity-focused initiatives for campus entities that include the Office of Admissions.
“It is an honor to receive an award that is based in the legacy of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," Williams says. "I am very grateful to those who nominated me for this award and those who are continuing in my development as a student, a scholar, and a continued leader and advocate for diversity."
Armando Peña, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Health & Wellness Design, was recognized for research on "causes of type 2 diabetes disparities among the Latino community," as well as his work as a mentor to IU Bloomington scholars who are from underrepresented minority groups.
"This honor reflects the work of a community network, Lactancia para Los Hoosiers (Lactation for Latino Hoosiers) that is invested in increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates among Latino maternal-infant dyads in Indiana," Dr. Peña explains. "This team continues to grow and build on its community momentum to support a research process focused on addressing health disparities among Latino Hoosiers."
It is no surprise that both Bloomington winners hail from SPH-B, particularly given the school's continuous strides toward inclusion, equity measures, and actively improving the lives of Hoosiers locally and statewide. Learn more about how we do that every day.