2020 Catalyst Award Winners

Welcome to the 2020 Diversity Catalyst Award Recipient Celebration page!

Graphic that says 2020 Diversity Catalyst Awards

We are incredibly excited to announce this year’s Diversity Catalyst Award recipients! We had many amazing applicants and nominations this year. We are extremely proud to uplift and celebrate the work being done across the University of Iowa campus. Please find below Diversity Catalyst Keynote Address by Dr. Maria Bruno and the 2020 Award Recipients for the Alliant Energy & Erroll B. Davis, Jr. Achievement Award, Diversity Catalyst Award, Diversity Practitioner Award, and the Diversity Catalyst Seed Grant. Please join us in congratulating this year’s award recipients!

2020 Diversity Catalyst Awards Keynote Address
Dr. Maria Bruno, Executive Director for Belonging & Inclusion

Video of Dr. Maria Bruno giving the 2020 Diversity Catalyst Awards Keynote Speech

2020 Diversity Catalyst Award Recipients

Donna Hammond

Diversity Catalyst Award

Donna L. Hammond, PhD is Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Anesthesia in the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa. She holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology.  Dr. Hammond received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and completed postdoctoral training at the Mayo Clinic.  After seven years working in drug discovery, she transitioned back to academia at the University of Chicago in the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care.  In 2000, she moved to the University of Iowa as Professor of Anesthesia and Pharmacology.  From 2006 – 2010, Dr. Hammond served as Interim Head and Departmental Executive Officer for the Department of Pharmacology, and as Executive Associate Dean in the Carver College of Medicine between 2010 and 2015 Dr. Hammond has enjoyed near-continuous support from the NIH since 1990.  She is the recipient of a Young Investigator Award from the American Pain Society, the Bonica Award from the American Society for Regional Anesthesia, and the University of Iowa Regents Award for Faculty ExcellenceDr. Hammond is strongly committed to mentoring junior scientists and physician scientists, and to enhancing diversity in the biomedical sciences through her leadership of an NIH-funded post-baccalaureate research education program.  

Antentor Hinton Jr.

Diversity Catalyst Award

Dr. Hinton is a Ford Postdoctoral Fellow and Burroughs Wellcome Fund Postdoctoral Enrichment Scholar at the University of Iowa in the Department of Internal Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology. Dr. Hinton works in Dr. E. Dale Abel’s Laboratory, the Chair and DEO of Internal Medicine and Director of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center. Dr. Hinton also holds a Visiting Research Fellow Appointment at the Mayo Clinic in the Mayo Microscopy and Cell Analysis Core with Dr. Jeffrey Salisbury.  Under the co-mentorship of Dr. E. Dale Abel and Dr. Renata O. Pereira, he seeks to elucidate the mechanisms by which insulin signaling regulates Optic Atrophy 1 Protein (OPA1) activity in skeletal muscle. Dr. Hinton made the interesting observation that loss of OPA1 in skeletal muscle in vivo and in cultured myotubes is associated with an increase in ER Mitochondrial Contact sites (MERCs). Notably, MERCs are characterized as specialized membranes that are enriched with specific proteins believed to be important for calcium flux, lipid transfer, and mitochondria morphology. Besides this project, he has spent the past year perfecting methodology to rigorously quantify these contact sites using electron microscopy and has become an expert in ultrastructural analysis of inter- organellar interactions in muscle cells. In addition, Dr. Hinton has mentored 37 graduate and undergraduate students, who have gone on to achieve or currently are in the process of acquiring a Post Baccalaureate Certificate, a Master’s Degree, a Doctor of Philosophy, or a Doctor of Medicine. Dr. Hinton has been a very passionate mentor for undergraduate students and he has supported the careers of many undergraduates in the Dr. E. Dale Abel’s laboratory. He is an attentive and thoughtful mentor and has successfully obtained competitive support for his mentees from the University and external sources. He also has been awarded two University-wide mentorship awards; the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates (ICRU) Distinguished Award and the University of Iowa’s Center for Diversity & Enrichment’s Distinguished Educator Award. More recently, won a third mentoring award called the Excellence in Mentoring Award from the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) IINSPIRE. Over the past three years, Dr. Hinton has been recognized by a myriad of medical schools, graduate schools, undergraduate schools, and conferences for his interesting approaches to mentoring students and his unique career development methodologies. Some of the places he has given presentations include: Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Baylor College of Medicine, Duke University, Washington University in St. Louis, University of the Virgin Islands, University of Puerto, University of Hawaii, Winston Salem State University to name a few. Currently, Dr. Hinton serves as the Academic and Career Development Instructor for the Carver College of Medicine Diversity and Inclusion Office under the tutelage of Dr. Denise Martinez and Mrs. Janet Niebuhr. Notably, Dr. Hinton has hosted mentoring and career development seminars for large conferences/learning centers under the tutelage of the Diversity office, such as NIH’s National Research Mentoring Network, SACNAS, and the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring.             

Iowa Youth Writing Project

Diversity Catalyst Award

Jane Huffman (Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing), Grants and Funding Manager

The Iowa Youth Writing Project (IYWP) is an arts outreach organization based at the University of Iowa that empowers, inspires, and engages K-12 youth throughout the state using language arts and creative thinking. We provide one-of-a-kind writing, publishing, and creative learning opportunities to Iowa’s children and teens. To ensure that all young people can participate, the IYWP provides programs at little or no cost, thanks to the time, energy, and creativity of IYWP volunteers, partnerships with local organizations and institutions, and the generosity of community members. 

Our Collective Brain

Diversity Catalyst Award

Mary Aldugom (Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences), Co-Leader
Tobin Dykstra (Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences), Co-Leader

Our Collective Brains is a student led group on campus that provides support and guidance to under-represented minority and first-generation UI undergraduates in Psychological and Brain Sciences and Neuroscience. We strive to promote diversity and inclusion in our department and field as a whole.


Talinda Pettigrew

Diversity Practitioner Award

Talinda Pettigrew is a dynamic human resources practitioner with a passion for attracting the best and the brightest. She is a firm believer that the lifeblood of every organization is its employees. A member of the University of Iowa Human Resources team, Talinda is as a strategic and consultative partner to campus recruiters and hiring managers helping them develop a talent strategy that embeds diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Talinda holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Psychology and a Master of Business Administration. Additionally, she holds several HR certifications including the PHR, SHRM-CP, CDR, PRC, and STA.

Multicultural and International Student Support and Engagement Team

Diversity Practitioner Award
The Multicultural and International Student Support and Engagement (MISSE) Team


Tabitha N. Wiggins, M.S.  

Tabitha leads the Multicultural and International Student Support and Engagement (MISSE) team that is responsible for creating “A Home Away from Home” for students, staff, faculty and community members who are from historically minoritized populations. In leading the team, she makes sure that we are student-centered, collaborative, and intersectional in our approach to combatting social injustices while finding joy, compassion and grace for ourselves and those that we work with to provide space and place for all who are negatively impacted by systemic oppression. Tabitha has worked at the University of Iowa since 2011 and is grateful for the opportunity to impact the lives of students, staff and faculty through sharing her brilliance, expertise and care with the campus community. 


Thomas A. Arce, M.Ed.  

Thomas A. Arce, pronouns he/they is a Queer Latinx scholar-practitioner who calls Gary, Indiana home. Thomas earned a Master of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from Iowa State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The University of Iowa. Thomas has nearly seven years of experience in higher education administration- working in admissions, residence education, student activities, and diversity, equity, and inclusion advocacy. He currently works on campus in the Division of Student Life as the Coordinator of the Latino Native American Cultural Center. Thomas coordinates campus programming that centers multiculturalism and social justice tenants; and advocates for the needs of Latinx/a/o and Native American/Indigenous student success.


Prisma S. Ruacho, M.A. 

Prisma is a double alumna of the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the Tippie College of Business and a Master of Arts in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies from the College of Education. A Hawkeye through and through, Prisma was raised in Des Moines, Iowa but found her “home” in the Latino Native American Cultural Center upon arriving her first year in college which changed the trajectory of her life. She has had the opportunity to work in the centers through graduate school and now as the coordinator at the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center and believes cultural centers are the hub of student development, connection, and growth. 


Emma Welch 

Emma Welch (she/her/hers) is a psychology enthusiast who found her passion for higher education through a chance coffee date with one of her social justice heroes. Emma earned her Bachelor of Sciences in Psychology at Iowa State University and completed her Master of Social Psychology studies at the University of Northern Iowa. Completing the “big three” Iowa experience, Emma is happy to have landed the University of Iowa as the Coordinator of the Pride Alliance Center. In this role, Emma emphasizes the importance of true and intentional holistic student support in personal and academic success. The multi-prong approach to supporting and advocating alongside LGBTQIA+ Hawkeyes is truly Emma’s heart work.


Shirleena Terrell, M.A. 

Shirleena is an educator at heart with a passion for working with minoritized, marginalized, and historically underrepresented student populations. Shirleena was born and raised in Omaha, NE. She earned her Education Administration degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Business Marketing degree from Hampton University in Hampton, VA. She comes from a generation of educators and began her education career in K-12. Upon Graduating from UNL, she then transitioned into Higher Education. She currently works on campus in the Division of Student Life as the Coordinator of the Afro-American Cultural Center. Shirleena coordinates campus programming centered around student activism, social justice, and multiculturism. 


Shuhui Lin 

Splitting her time between ISSS and the Multicultural & International Student Support and Engagement (MISSE), Lin focuses on the support and retention of international students who encounter academic difficulty and supports international student engagement across campus.  Lin provides assistance in following up with potentially at-risk students identified in the Excelling@Iowa survey or who are flagged for academic probation or poor progress at midterms and conducts assessments for international students.  She also work with international student organizations, and with the MISSE to promote international student inclusion in student organization and activities.  Lin earned her Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies, and Master's degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of Iowa. She is from Guangzhou, China, speaks Cantonese and Mandarin, and is now learning Korean. 

2020 Diversity Catalyst Seed Grant Recipients

Graduation Stoles and Recognition Plaques for Students with Disabilities

Tabitha Wiggins and University of Iowa Students for Disability Advocacy and Awareness (UISDAA)

Tabitha Wiggins
Associate Director, Multicultural and International Student Support and Engagement

University of Iowa Students for Disability Advocacy and Awareness (UISDAA)

Here is a link to the Inaugural 2020 Disability Graduation Celebration!

Hawkeye Hygeine Hubs

Charlotte Brown and Emma Welch

Charlotte Brown
Program Coordinator, Leadership Service and Civic Engagement

Emma Welch
Coordinator, Pride Alliance Center

Picture of Zahra Aalabdulrasul

Zahra Aalabdulrasul

University of Iowa

Major in Entrepreneurial Management
Event Management Certificate and Leadership Certificate

Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa

Zahra Aalabdulrasul is a junior at the University of Iowa studying Entrepreneurial Management and pursuing certificates in Event Management and Leadership. She currently serves as both a Tippie DEI Ambassador and a Center Programming Assistant at the Afro-American Cultural Center. After graduation, Zahra intends to use her degree and experiences to launch an event management business of her own. 


Picture of Kiana Castro

Kiana Castro

University of Iowa

Major in Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering, University of Iowa  

Kiana Castro is from Bettendorf, Iowa where she graduated from Bettendorf High School in 2017. Currently, she is a Junior studying mechanical engineering at the University of Iowa. Kiana plans on graduating in spring of 2021 and pursuing a career that involves both art and engineering. Additionally, she hopes to use her experiences to support young minorities in pursuing STEM majors. 



Picture of Kathlyn Plagge

Kathlyn Plagge

University of Northern Iowa

Major in Business Management (emphasis on Human Resources)
College of Business Administration
, University of Northern Iowa

Kathlyn, or Kate, was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1998 as Yoon Jee. She was brought to the US 6 months later to be adopted, and her parents renamed her Kathlyn Jane Yoonjee Plagge. At UNI, she is involved in UNI-Society for Human Resource Management, Leadership and Management Association, and Alpha Xi Delta and has participated in Dance Marathon and volunteered with Special Olympics. 

Picture of Jamie Sampson

Jamie Sampson

Iowa State University

Major in Software Engineering, Minor in Psychology
College of Engineering, Iowa State University

Jamie Sampson is a junior in college from Springfield, Mo. She is pursuing her engineering degree with an interest in the media industry, working along the technical pipeline. Jamie has an intern position with Electronic Arts in Austin, TX this summer where she will be working on game development. She has a love of traveling and hopes to continue exploring other cultures around the world.