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K-State Today

January 7, 2021

Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Presidential Awards for promoting equity and diversity at K-State

Submitted by Debra J. Bolton

The Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Presidential Awards recognize Doris W. Carroll, associate professor of special education, counseling and student affairs, and Ayana Belk, senior in landscape architecture, for promoting equity and diversity at Kansas State University.

The Presidential Faculty/Staff Award for Distinguished Services to Historically Under-Represented Minority Students recognizes Carroll for her service to students and to K-State. The award, established in 1978, honors outstanding individual contributions to the development of quality education for students of color at Kansas State University.

During her career at the university, according to her letter of recommendation, Carroll continues to contribute to the development of educational programming for historically underrepresented students. Her dedication to the well-being of these students positively influences the overall climate for equitable representation of historically excluded identities.

Carroll's supporters note that she collaborates on the recruitment of underrepresented graduate students through connections with professional organizations, which focus on the various programs in her department. Often these connections occur in a one-on-one situation documenting the time Carroll spends with each prospective student.

Further, support of students comes from two undergraduate scholarships for College of Education underrepresented students initiated by Carroll. First, the Lawrence G. Wright Sr. Multicultural Undergraduate Scholarship enhances undergraduate education and provides financial assistance annually to students enrolled in the College of Education. Second, the Doris Wright Carroll Multicultural Technology Award provides financial assistance annually for technology to students properly enrolled in the College of Education. The annual award recipient receives a laptop or similar technology to aid in learning. Her teaching, research and outreach all support her service to underrepresented students focusing on graduate work.

The Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Presidential Student Award honors Belk for Distinguished Services in Enhancing Multiculturalism at Kansas State University. Belk receives this award, established in 1997, for her outstanding individual contributions toward equitable representation within the student sector.

Belk's supporters point to her accomplishments in landscape architecture, best understood in perspective by the college's rigorous academic programs. Belk finds time to mentor students in first-year studios, share concerns about mental health, safety, sense of belonging and food insecurity. From the college community, Belk shares her perspectives across campus, work and with other caucus leaders in Senate to amplify equitable representation of human difference in her college as a priority for NOMAS, the professionally-based student organization. Her observation of Kansas City neighborhoods affected by blatant redlining practices and her discovery of Chicago’s Millennium Park confirmed her resolve to shape urban landscapes and vulnerable underserved neighborhoods.

Belk developed this passion for diversity through her Edgerley-Franklin Urban Leader scholarship. By working closely with students from different cities and ethnicities, she began to understand the issues affecting multicultural communities from multiple perspectives. She learned to listen, observe and advocate as a pioneer for other underrepresented students who wanted to pursue higher education as a means to improving communities around the country.

Please join us in recognizing Carroll and Belk during a virtual reception from 3:30-5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, via Zoom at ksu.zoom.us/j/97626381148

This year's program marks the 42nd year of the awards.

Mirta Chavez — MLK Observance Week Committee Chair

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