January 25, 2013
Diversity enhancement efforts earn student from Wichita, education professor Commerce Bank Presidential awards
Kansas State University's two newest Commerce Bank Presidential awardees are working to make the university a better place for everyone.
At a recognition reception from 3:30-5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, in the K-State Alumni Center, Angela Muhwezi, senior in biology and pre-dentistry, Wichita, will receive the Commerce Bank Presidential Student Award for Distinguished Services in Enhancing Multiculturalism at the university. Kay Ann Taylor, associate professor of curriculum and instruction, will receive the Commerce Bank Presidential Faculty and Staff Award for Distinguished Services to Minority Students.
The student award was established in spring 1997 to recognize outstanding individual contributions to diversity enhancement among students. Muhwezi will receive a plaque and $500.
Muhwezi has been active in the university's Black Student Union, including as a Big 12 delegate and vice president. In 2011 she was elected a K-State student ambassador -- the first African-American to hold the position. She also served as a Student Alumni Board member, an educational support services peer ambassador, a multicultural student ambassador, a member of United Black Voices Gospel Choir and member and president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
"This award means so much to me," Muhwezi said. "At K-State, students can be effective and can make a difference on this campus. I have tried my absolute best to be engaged and effective in student leadership positions, and this award means that all my hard work didn't go unseen. I feel very blessed and thankful to receive this prestigious award."
The faculty and staff award was established in 1978 to recognize outstanding individual contributions to the development of quality education for students of color at Kansas State University. Taylor will receive a plaque and $2,500.
Taylor teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses ranging from Teaching in a Multicultural Society to Social Perspectives on Digital Technology in Education. All of her courses integrate the Tilford multicultural competencies, multiple perspectives and multicultural curriculum to represent a broad spectrum of people. Her research focuses on the experiences of underrepresented people.
Taylor is mentoring her second Developing Scholar Program student. During the fall 2012 semester she chaired the Tilford Incentive Grant Applications Review Committee. She also is a member of the Associate American Ethnic Studies faculty and a Tilford fellow.
"It is my hope and goal to empower all students, but especially underrepresented students because their voices and history are often missing from the curriculum at large," Taylor said. "This award represents my core, my heart and my passion in making a difference specifically to our underrepresented students, and through making a difference one student at a time -- that each student will pay it forward."
Taylor received her master's degree in 1998 and doctoral degree in 2001, both from Iowa State University. She became an assistant professor at Kansas State University's College of Education in 2005 and was promoted to associate professor in 2009.
"Stated simply, this award means that I am making a difference and having an impact on students, who are our ultimate raison d'etre at Kansas State,” Taylor said.