Diversity and Inclusion Research Award | Capital University, Columbus Ohio


Diversity and Inclusion Research Award

  • As an expression of Capital University’s mission, the Diversity and Inclusion Research Award was established in 2017 to recognize student scholarship that advances our understanding of issues of diversity and inclusion. The intent of this award is to support high-quality undergraduate student research. The Capital University Symposium on Undergraduate Scholarship planning committee will select the recipient(s) based on eligibility requirements and selection criteria.

    How to Apply

    Student Eligibility Requirements:
    • Student(s) must be enrolled as full time student(s) in good academic standing at Capital University.
    • Student(s) must be planning to present their project at the Capital University Symposium on Undergraduate Scholarship.
    • Student(s) must be willing to share their undergraduate research or scholarship experiences with the campus community. 
    • Student(s) must be willing to have the University publicize their name(s), photograph(s) and research project information.

    Nomination Procedure:
    The Symposium planning committee identifies candidates for the Diversity and Inclusion Research Award based on abstracts submitted to the Symposium on Undergraduate Scholarship each spring. Faculty mentors of the identified candidates are then asked to officially nominate the student for the Diversity and Inclusion Research Award.

    Selection Procedure:
    Nominated and eligible students for this award give their Symposium presentations to the Symposium planning committee prior to the Symposium. Presentations should follow the format of Symposium oral presentations (15 minutes long with 5 additional minutes for questions). Students who are planning to give poster presentations at the Symposium will be able to share their posters, but must also give an oral presentation. Nominated students must give their presentation to the Symposium committee prior to the Symposium in order to be considered for the award.

    The Symposium committee evaluates presentations using the appropriate rating form linked below:

    The winner(s) of the Diversity and Inclusion Research Award is announced at the Honors Convocation each spring.

    Need more information? 
    Contact Andrea M. Karkowski, Assistant Provost at akarkows@capital.edu or ext. 6449, Renner 242.


  • 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Award Winner

    The Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Garden Collaboration with United Columbus
    Brianna Young ‘19, Katie Gerchy ‘19, Thomas Knapke ‘19, Sam Knight ‘20, Andrew Simmons (‘19), Carly Woolwine ‘21
    Mentors: Nate Jackson, Philosophy; Dr. Sherry Mong, Sociology; and Staccee Green (United Columbus)

    Brianna Young (19), Katie Gerchy (19), Thomas Knapke (19), Sam Knight (20), Andrew Simmons (19), and Carly Woolwine (21) are the 2019 recipients of the Diversity and Inclusion Research Award. Their project, “The Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Garden Collaboration with United Columbus,” was conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Nate Jackson (philosophy), Sherry Mong (sociology), and community partner Stacee Green (United Columbus). This community-engaged learning project was conducted for the Social Problems and Ethics courses and attempted to address structural racism in the Driving Park neighborhood. By conducting historical and sociological analyses on African American involvement in World War II, the impact that the Tuskegee Airmen had on promoting social change through education was found. This information was used to create memorial plaques for the Tuskegee Airmen to spread their message on the importance of education as an equalizer. After graduation in May 2019, Brianna plans to apply to the Columbus Police Department police academy. Katie will be attending Ohio University to pursue a M.A. in sociology. Thomas will pursue full time work. Andrew will pursue an M.M. in Percussion Performance.

    2018 Diversity and Inclusion Award Winner

    Authentic Imagery Between Cultures: Portraits from the Classroom
    Hannah Westhoven, Education
    Mentor: Olga Shonia

    Ohio K-12 visual art content standards require that students understand how artistic decisions and interpretations are influenced by social, environmental, and political views. Teachers must engage in authentic praxis to meet these standards effectively. Art educators can use authentic imagery to enhance students’ perceptions of culture by considering perspectives of artists and fellow students around the world. This project examined the effectiveness of an overseas exchange as an instructional technique to combat stereotypical imagery and increase cultural awareness. In this case study, two elementary school classes in the U.S. and Ireland participated in a self-portrait exchange, which included three phases: (1) an entrance questionnaire asking students to describe themselves and a member of the other culture, (2) the creation of a self-portrait, and (3) an exit questionnaire that recorded their reactions to the self-portraits from the other culture. By engaging with authentic imagery from peers, students were able to find similarities/differences, and gain appreciation for members of the other culture. This exploration of student identity and culture is an important step toward engagement with social action, and it further supports the argument for K-12 art educators to use authentic imagery and cultural exchange projects in their praxis.

    NOTE: Hannah also won the Bruning Award for this project

    2017 Diversity and Inclusion Award Winner

    Living in Dystopia: Comparing American Water Crises
    Hannah Butler, Psychology and Criminology
    Gabrielle Tole, Psychology and Sociology
    Mentor: Laura Kane

    On the morning of August 2, 2014, nearly half a million people in Toledo, Ohio, woke up to find “they could not wash their hands, take a shower, or fill up a bowl for their pets” (Kozacek, 2015). The city’s water crisis was immediately addressed. In April of 2014, a similar crisis surfaced in Flint, Michigan. After numerous complaints were made by residents, it was not until August of 2014 that city officials began to make efforts to detect pollutants in the contaminated water (Kennedy, 2016). It is important to critically evaluate the actions that were taken by these cities and understand why Flint is still facing these issues years later. This study performs a secondary data analysis using information from the U.S. Census and news articles. After analyzing these sources we found that actions taken by the two cities varied due to the types of water pollutants. However, we have uncovered underlying problems including structural racism and environmental classicism that add to the complexity of this issue. The findings of this study expose the poor decisions made by Flint officials and offer alternative solutions based on sociological and criminological research in the event of an environmental crisis.