Diversity Award Recipients

 "I believe the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity, is daring to dare."
~ Maya Angelou

This award seeks to recognize those faculty, staff, and students who make valuable contributions to our campus community in a way that supports and fosters a respectful and inclusive multicultural environment. Learn more about the Diversity Achievement Award.

Wendi AyalaDiversity Achievement Award 2017 Recipients

Wendi Ayala

Wendi is the kind of leader who students and community members trust because she is committed to social justice issues and takes a lead on whatever the issue is.  On campus, she is a leader in the Latino Club, has led numerous campus tours for Avanza high school students, and has been a mentor for the Ganas summer symposium. In the community, she has volunteered with the Latino Community Association, CAUSA, and Recursos, and this year took on a leadership role in the Bend sanctuary movement with the local communities of faith.  In fact, she was the driving force behind getting students involved in the sanctuary movement.  She also recognized the value of including the whole community in this effort and spoke to business owners and community groups to be a part of it.   She has been on multiple panels for the college and the community talking about social justice issues and the needs of the Latino community.  She is also currently teaching an arts class in Spanish for the Bend International school.  One of Wendi’s nominators stated, “Almost every time someone asks me for a student volunteer, I turn to Wendi.  She has demonstrated admirable leadership skills and many students have sought her advice.  What is even more impressive, when I go out into the community and mention her name, I always receive positive feedback on what a great person she is.  Her positive attitude and pride in her cultural background are infectious.  She draws people out and makes them feel comfortable.”


Kit ForemanKit Foreman

Kit is one of the facilitators for the Queer Youth Space that provides a gathering place once a month for LGBTQ youth to have a safe space to be themselves, connect with others like them, and participate in educational, relevant, and fun activities. In this program, Kit gives the kids exactly the type of support they need in a way that makes them feel valued and heard.  She is also a part of the Redmond Fire Department team and put herself out there to educate their staff about how to treat trans patients and is working on a way to spread that information to other emergency response teams in the area - something that has not been done, yet is critical information for proper patient care.  Kit’s volunteer activities aren’t limited to promoting LGBTQ awareness.  In 2016, she joined Team Rubicon, a non-profit rescue organization that provides assistance during natural disasters.  She was deployed to assist in the tear-down of burned homes in Wellpinit on the Spokane Indian Reservation in the wake of the Cayuse wildfire.  She also joined Adventure Medics as a volunteer, providing EMT services at music and sporting events.  As one of her nominators said, “Kit, in general, is an outstanding human with a passion to advocate not only for members of the LGBTQ community, but also people of color, those with disabilities, immigrants, those with mental health issues, etc.  I have never witnessed an incident of Kit not standing up for marginalized groups and gently, yet effectively, correcting the problematic behavior of those around her in a way that garnered understanding and empathy. She's an excellent example of someone who lives the values that this award stands for and I genuinely believe she's deserving of it.”

Allies for Equity Team:  Tom Barry, Michael Hansen, Tina Redd, Gina Ricketts, and Mindy Williams

Their nominator wrote that each of these nominees has contributed greatly to our campus community in many ways and deserves an award individually.  But this year, they also gave their time and talents to the development and implementation of the Allies for Equity:  Cultural Competence Workshops.  These workshops focused on developing cultural awareness, knowledge and skills and the curriculum provided a full complement of information and skill-building for the more than 50 campus employee participants.  The trainers gave countless hours of their time to developing the sequence of workshop topics and then creating their individual training sessions. Feedback from their workshops included:

“Thank you for putting on all of these amazing trainings. They have truly provided great experiences with information that I can apply to my daily life.”

“All of the programs have greatly enhanced my education on and about multicultural issues.  These trainings and workshops are the highpoint of my time at COCC – something that makes working here worthwhile.”

As mentioned, each of these trainers has also contributed in other ways to the equity and inclusion efforts of our campus.  For example, two of them are current or past chairs of the Diversity Committee, most of them are Safe Zone volunteers, and all of them have given countless hours in facilitating other campus diversity events, such as leading book discussions, contributing to the Can We Talk About Race and Other Differences Series, facilitating film discussions, and leading workshops on various topics related to multicultural awareness. This team role models and provides leadership that exemplifies the respect and equity that our campus wants to foster.  In addition to their volunteer work for our campus, they also ensure that diversity is reflected in their teaching and administrative work.  They are allies for equity in every meaning of this title as they contribute daily to our campus efforts.

View Past Recipients