2015 Diversity Award Winners

The Diversity Awards recognizes individuals who have committed to embracing, enhancing, and celebrating diversity at all levels of the University of Texas at Dallas. The contributions from students, student organizations, staff, faculty and community continue to advance diversity and sustain inclusion at our campus.

Student Diversity Award

Nicolas Hernandez

Nicolas Hernandez

Nicolas Hernandez is a Political Science senior whose goal in life is to become a successful lawyer. He transferred from Eastfield College the fall of 2012 to continue his academic career at UT Dallas. He currently works two jobs, one at the Communities in Schools of North Texas programs, mentoring at risk students in grades 3rd-5th. He enjoys helping students with homework and other necessary courses taught in grade school in order for students to better develop later in life. He also works at the Mexican Consulate in Dallas as a documentation specialist, helping people with identification and passport needs. He is a former member of Rotaract Club, in which he helped with various on and off campus events. Currently, Nicolas is a member of Omega Delta Phi, a multicultural service and social fraternity that serves the community while making the most effort to graduate their brothers.

Student Organization Diversity Award

Kappa Delta Chi

Kappa Delta Chi

The Purpose of Kappa Delta Chi, Incorporated is to promote the values of unity, honesty, integrity and leadership among women at colleges and universities. Through numerous service events, sisterhood retreats, and academic and cultural workshops, the women of Kappa Delta Chi, Incorporated learn more about themselves, each other and their surrounding universities and communities. They blossom into committed leaders, are able to network with our remarkable alumnae and continue to serve as civic leaders well past their graduation. Kappa Delta Chi is a non-traditional sorority full of diverse members and eager women ready to make a difference in our communities. With sisters, anything is possible.

Community Champion of Diversity Award

Jay Forte

Jay Forte

Jay graduated with a pre-med degree with a minor in theology from Stonehill College. There God's value was continuously reinforced. He also served four years in the Navy as a corpsman in the emergency room of the Pensacola Naval Hospital. Every day he met life's importance face-to-face.

Jay was the founder of Employment News in Dallas, the CEO of Valiente Magazine and is currently the CEO of American Language Technologies, a full service translation company. He has served on many boards, task forces and committees in the non-profit world where he has shared his values.

Corporate Diversity Award

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, is a proud sponsor of UT Dallas' 2015 Diversity Awards Ceremony and Soiree. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas believes that diversity and inclusion should be embedded in every part of its business. Its commitment to diversity is demonstrated in how the company serves its customers, engage its employees, connects with the communities in which it operates, and partners with suppliers and other business stakeholders. By being a more diverse health care company, Blue Cross and Blue Shield strives to better understand its policy holders and become more capable of seeing health issues from the consumer's perspective.

As part of its unique relationship with UTD, Blue Cross and Blue Shield have had the pleasure of joining forces with UT Dallas' Community Diversity Advisory Council and Career Center and will continue to value and practice inclusion while promoting cultural competence among its work force and community.

Staff Diversity Award

Melissa Palmer

Melissa Palmer

Melissa is passionate about helping to grow both people and programs. An innovator at heart, she excels at seeing needs and working to create the teams and programs necessary to make amazing things happen. She is sincere in her desire to bring multiple perspectives to the table. Always looking to include people of other races, cultures and backgrounds, she is very adept at drawing people in who might otherwise be excluded.

Inclusive Excellence and Intercultural Teaching Award

Dr. Charles Hatfield

Dr. Charles Hatfield

Charles Hatfield is a Venezuelan-American scholar of Latin American and Latino literature, culture, and intellectual history. He is an associate professor of literary studies and the associate director of the Center for Translation Studies, where he edits the journal Translation Review. He has edited and translated two books of Latin American poetry, and his articles have appeared in a number of Latin American journals. His book, titled The Limits of Identity: Politics and Poetics in Latin America, is forthcoming in November 2015 from the University of Texas Press.

Slam Poetry Winners

Aeon Robitaille and Danielle Edmonds

Aeon Robitaille (left)

Danielle Edmonds (right)

Aeon Robitaille is an undeclared freshman from Yonkers, New York. She chose UT Dallas as a way of leaving home to experience something new. Still unsure of what she wants to pursue in life, she is using her time here to explore different disciplines. Aeon had been wanting to experiment with slam poetry for a while when she and her partner Danielle Edmonds came across the Walk a Mile in My Shoes workshops and competition. Having no experience with slam poetry beforehand, she learned a great deal about the spirit of the art form and how to use it to connect with others over the course of the workshops. In her spare time Aeon loves to draw, write and dabble in sewing, often with Danielle.

Danielle Edmonds is a freshman from Corpus Christi, Texas. She is currently majoring in International Political Economy in the school of Economic Political Policy Sciences. Danielle currently debates for UT Dallas as well as serves as vice president of the University's LULAC council. She has been reciting poetry in Spanish since she was four years old; her family used this as a way for her to preserve her language skills as well as learn more about Latin American literature. This is Danielle's first original poem. With the help of the Poetry Workshop leader, Joaquin Zihuatanejo, Danielle found inspiration in the competition's theme "Walk A Mile in My Shoes." Danielle and her partner, and best friend, Aeon Robitaille learned a lot about themselves through the writing process and are honored to share their poem with you today.