UAB names 2017 diversity champions

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Four individuals and one student organization were honored with the President’s Diversity Champion Award during a special gathering Feb. 16. 

The annual award recognizes employees, students and organizations that have helped create a more culturally diverse, inclusive university community through their achievements. Nominations are solicited from the UAB community for all categories, and awards are given in each of five categories for projects or activities that best reflect the implementation of unit and/or campus diversity goals. 

“Diversity has long been a core value and strength of UAB, and has been integral to our growth as a world-renowned university and academic medical center,” said President Ray Watts, who presented the awards. “The President’s Diversity Champions epitomize UAB’s deep commitment to diversity with their passionate and impactful efforts to foster an inclusive environment where all of our students, faculty and staff — representing roughly 100 countries and many different ethnicities, backgrounds and perspectives—have the opportunity to thrive and excel.”

Congratulations to the 2017 recipients:

Ann Gakumo 300x400Ann Gakumo

Ann Gakumo, Ph.D. 

School of Nursing

Ann Gakumo, an associate professor of nursing and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar, received her doctorate from the UAB School of Nursing. She has been program faculty on a workforce diversity grant to increase the number of registered nurses with bachelor of science degrees from disadvantaged and underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds, and she has mentored more than 40 diverse students in nursing, education, medicine, psychology and public health.  

Gakumo is vice president of the UAB African-American Faculty Association. She has fostered the inclusion of people of color and the LGBTQI community in patient-centered research and promoted equal access to health care for vulnerable populations. She is nationally known for research addressing health disparities, low health literacy and medication adherence in older African-Americans living with HIV.

Cortney Johnson 300x400Cortney Johnson

Cortney Johnson
Student Affairs

Cortney Johnson earned her master’s degree in social justice education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is pursuing a doctorate in educational studies in diverse populations at UAB. As senior coordinator of Student Multicultural and Diversity programs on campus, she has spearheaded projects such as staff diversity training in Student Affairs plus student education and development initiatives.

Johnson also advises three student groups that work to facilitate important and difficult conversations about current events and identity-based issues. The focus in her graduate studies and work has been creating spaces for students to bridge differences through dialogue, and she anticipates creating more spaces like these on campus and in the community.


Leucas Miller 300x400Leucas Miller

Leucas Miller
Graduate student,
College of Arts & Sciences

 Leucas Miller, who is pursuing his doctorate in biology, is a member of the Antarctic Marine Research Lab at UAB where he studies marine chemical ecology at Palmer Station, Antarctica.

As the intern coordinator of Trans Student Support in the Office of Student Multicultural and Diversity Programs, he facilitates support groups and social events for trans and gender non-conforming students. During his time at UAB, he has worked with campus administrators and directors to instill more gender-inclusive statements and practices for the transgender and gender non-conforming community. Miller started Rainbow’robics at the Campus Recreation Center this past fall, and he also collaborates with the Magic City Acceptance Center and volunteers to teach yoga to queer and trans youth there.


Calvin Colvin 300x400Calvin Colvin

Calvin Colvin
Undergraduate student
College of Arts & Sciences, Honors College

Calvin Colvin, a senior majoring in sociology and pursuing a minor in biology, has held several leadership positions in student organizations and within the Office of Student Multicultural and Diversity Programs. He is a lead evaluations coordinator for UAB’s SafeZone program, president of the Gender and Sexuality Union at UAB and a mentor in the Blazer Male Excellence Network.

Colvin aspires to conduct research on the social and economic determinants of health and well-being among marginalized populations that will lead to applications and interventions to improve their health. He will begin his studies for a master of public health degree in epidemiology this fall and ultimately plans to pursue a doctorate.


NABA officers 450NABA officers (Front) Destiny Clay and Angel Hudson (Back) Dalton Bradshaw, Alon Elezra, Jaylon Williams, Elihu Pruitt, Ibawolatei Iyegha, Arthur Brunson

National Association of Black Accountants at UAB
Student organization
Collat School of Business

NABA’s purpose is to promote the professional development of its members, encourage and help members of under-represented cultural and ethnic groups enter business professions, provide opportunities to increase knowledge of accounting and business analysis, stimulate fellowship among its members and encourage cooperative relations with other professional organizations.

Each year its members provide voluntary income tax assistance to area residents and conduct activities for rising juniors and seniors during its five-day Summer Residency Academy for inner-city students. NABA also conducts weekly professional development activities to connect business professionals with its student members.