Six individuals received the 2007 UAB President’s Award for Diversity. The award recognizes the importance of institutional diversity and honors those who nurture diversity of thought, culture, gender and ethnicity on the UAB campus and elsewhere. UAB President Carol Garrison created the award.

Two faculty were honored were honored this year: Michele Wilson, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology and behavioral sciences, and Jose Fernandez, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Health Professions.

Demetria Peoples Scott, manager of Minority Business Affairs, is the staff recipient of the award.
Awards also were presented to professional student Preeti M. Chopra, graduate student Bunyamin Ozaydin, and Brooke Horton, undergraduate.

Wilson was honored as a person who promotes and facilitates equitable education and social engagement with and between people of varying ethnic or religious backgrounds, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and/or physical and mental capabilities. Wilson is actively involved with the Office of the Vice President for Equity & Diversity and in the Safe Zone program and its recruitment efforts.

Fernandez is the co-founder and chair of UAB’s first mentoring program for freshman and transfer students of Hispanic or Latino descent, aimed at facilitating their transition to the university and improving their chances for success at UAB. Fernandez is involved with the Office of the Vice President for Equity & Diversity and is active in the Safe Zone program and its recruitment efforts.

Scott is an advocate for minority and women-owned businesses and economic development. She manages day-to-day operations for UAB’s Minority Business Affairs Program, creating alliances between department end-users and minority business constituents in order to increase and accelerate the level of entrepreneurial activity within the university community. Scott conducts internal and external training seminars, workshops and campus trade shows to maintain strong collaborative relationships between the UAB Procurement Department and minority- and women-owned businesses.

Chopra has planned events for international students such as game nights and the International Bazaar as president of the World Student Association.

She has been an active member of the Association of Indian Students and is an exemplary student in the School of Dentistry. She does all of this while commuting from Dallas, Texas, where she lives with her husband.

Ozaydin’s hard work was instrumental in the organization of Turkish Student Association programs such as the annual Abrahamic Dinner, which brings Muslims, Jews and Christians together. Ozaydin was commended for his outstanding work in striving to present opportunities for dialogue and education while peacefully bringing individuals of different beliefs together.

Horton was lauded for her commitment to diversity issues, and it was noted that she does not let potential issues like gender, race, socioeconomic backgrounds and age divide her from others.