Shirley O'Brien Diversity & Inclusion Awards


The Division of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension (ALVSCE) values diversity in its people and programs and strives to foster a diverse, inclusive, fair, and respectful community.  The Shirley O'Brien Diversity & Inclusion Awards were created in honor of Shirley O'Brien for her exemplary work in promoting diversity and an inclusive environment within ALVSCE and across campus.  We believe that her efforts, in keeping with the division's emphasis on diversity and inclusion in its student body, faculty and programs, deserve recognition.

          Legacy Diversity and Inclusion Champion

            This award is for an individual that has demonstrated exemplary leadership for 5 or more years based on the criteria listed below.

          Emerging Diversity and Inclusion Champion

            This award is for an individual that has shown exemplary leadership by initiating a new program or effort in the past 4 years or less based on the criteria below.

The awards are given annually at the Fall ALVSCE Luncheon and include a plaque and monetary gift of $500 each.  We encourage members of the faculty, staff, and student body to nominate individuals who have contributed significantly to the advancement of diversity and inclusion within the division.  Please think broadly about the terms diversity and inclusion.


  • All* current faculty and staff in ALVSCE are eligible for nomination and can be nominated by any administrative head, faculty member, staff member, student or student organization
  • Individuals or teams can be nominated for the two award categories

*Previous diversity and inclusion award winners are not eligible

Selection Procedure and Criteria

All members of the ALVSCE D&I Council will screen applications for the criteria listed below.  Members who are a nominee or a nominator for the awards will be recused from the selection process.  The nominee should excel through exceptional efforts beyond their normal position duties in one or more of the areas listed below:

  • Recruit and retain graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, and/or staff from underrepresented groups (as defined on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, and sexual orientation).
  • Promote an environment free from bias and discrimination.
  • Empower people from underrepresented groups in obtaining access to leadership training and/or professional development.
  • Promote a fair, diverse, and inclusive university community that respects the rights of all its members and encourages diverse perspectives.
  • Develop and implement a curriculum or program that promotes diversity and inclusion in ALVSCE and/or the university community.

Shirley O’Brien Diversity and Inclusion Award Nomination Form

How to Submit Nominations

The nomination packet should include:

  • Nomination form with nominator and nominee information and the nomination letter** (not to exceed three pages total).
  • Up to two additional letters** of support, each not to exceed two pages. Support letters can be from colleagues, supervisors, students, a team, collaborators, or community supporters.
  • Letters should give specific examples of how the nominee contributed to the areas listed in the selection criteria being considered (one or more areas from the selection criteria list).

**please note that nomination and support letters may be shared with the nominee

Send the nomination packet to the ALVSCE Diversity & Inclusion Council with the subject: "Shirley O'Brien Diversity & Inclusion Award Nomination for [nominee name]"  via e-mail: or internal mail: P.O. Box 210036, Forbes 322.

Deadline for Nominations

Calls for nominations for both award categories will be solicited once a year and are due on September 1 or the following business day.  Nominations will be kept for two years for consideration in following years and can be updated by the nominators.


For questions, contact Angela Kaczowka, Council member, ALVSCE Diversity and Inclusion Council, E-mail:

2021 - Legacy Diversity & Inclusion Champion: Amanda Stevens, School of Plant Sciences

2020 - Emerging Diversity & Inclusion Champion: Michael Bogan, School of Natural Resources and the Environment

2020 - Legacy Diversity & Inclusion Champion: Joanie Contreras, Pima County Cooperative Extension

2019 - Elise Gornish, School of Natural Resources and the Environment

2018 - Betty Thompson, Maricopa County Cooperative Extension

2017 - Betsy Arnold, School of Plant Sciences

2016 - Andrea Romero, Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences

2015 - Russell B. Toomey, Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences

2014 - Melissa Barnett, Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences

2013 - Patricia Stock, Department of Entomology; Ramin Yadegari, School of Plant Sciences

2012 - Melissa Curran, Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences; Teresa Noon, Extension Programs

2007 - Julie Camp Adamcin, 4-H Youth Development, Pima County Cooperative Extension

2006 - Stephen Russell, Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences

2005 - Graduate Student Showcase Committee, School of Natural Resources: Mitch McClaran, David Breshears, Courtney Conway, Melanie Culver, John Koprowski, Phil Guertin, Dawn Browning, Vicki Garcia