Valene Garr Barry, a graduate student pursuing a doctoral degree in the UAB School of Health Professions' Department of Nutrition Sciences and a pre-doctoral fellow of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center, was honored with the President’s Diversity Champion Award Feb. 21. The annual award recognizes employees, students and organizations that have helped create a more culturally diverse, inclusive university community through their achievements.

In her research, Barry, who earned a master’s degree in nutrition sciences from UAB, investigates methods for early detection of disease and the association between body composition and risk for cardiometabolic disease in women.

Barry champions diversity through mentorship and advocacy. She is an engaged member of the Executive Board of the Black Graduate Student Association and co-directs its BLUEprint Connect program, which pairs undergraduate students with graduate and alumni mentors. She also mentors students in UAB’s Women in STEM program and multiple off-campus programs. She is the graduate student representative for UAB’s School of Health Professions Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and a student representative for its Student Affairs Committee.