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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 30, 2003

Catalyst Awards Honor Diversity Efforts At UI

The University of Iowa Office of Affirmative Action will honor two university individuals and one educational program for helping to make the university a more diverse place by presenting them with 2003 Catalyst Awards.

The winners will be honored during a reception at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9, in the Richey Ballroom in the Iowa Memorial Union. President David Skorton and Sheba Wheeler, a 1996 UI alumna, will offer remarks at the reception. Wheeler, a reporter at the Denver Post, was a part of the team that won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for spot news coverage of the shootings at Columbine High School.

The five-year old Catalyst program recognizes individuals and departments who have developed innovative programs, policies or activities that have had a positive effect on improving diversity in the university community. Winners receive $500.

This year's winners are:

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

-- Adrienne Drapkin, director of Project Art and Medical Museum, UI Hospitals and Clinics

Drapkin works at the UI hospitals and clinics selecting and installing art, cultural and historical exhibits.

"Her creative visual exhibits assist us in understanding our fellow community members and the ways that diversity may be expressed, including mental and physical illness, and the cultural differences in presentation of those conditions," wrote her co-nominators; Mindwell Egeland of the UIHC patients' library, M. Patricia Donahue of the Department of Nursing, and Christine Scheetz of the Patients' and Visitors' Programs department. "From the Amazon to the Iron lung, visitors to these exhibits leave with new perspectives on the past, present and future."

While goal of Drapkin's work is educational, ultimately she wants the presented material to be provocative. "I want people to have fun while they're learning" she said.

Some of Drapkin's recent exhibits have included those about body piercing and tattooing and another showing Latino lives at home and work. "Ideas for such exhibits are happenstance," said Drapkin. "They are usually sparked from something I have read or become aware of."

The idea for the exhibition on Latino health issues grew out of Drapkin's participation in a hospital diversity committee.

"Our mission was to increase awareness of the differences among people we encounter, and to heighten our own and others' appreciation of the benefits of a diverse society. The museum was the obvious venue for such pursuing this objective. The importance of the subject-health and culture- called for a comprehensive presentation, accessibility and continuous exposure" Drapkin said.

She hopes that by making information available to the public, she will not only make people think, but also that it will bring about change. " A change in attitude and change in behavior."

--Diana K. Davies, director, International Programs

Davies is responsible for working with UI and the community regarding international matters.

She not only served as director of International Programs last year, but also as acting director of the Office of International Students and Scholars during a time when student service oversight was undergoing significant changes as a result of the September 11 terrorist attacks. She was responsible for implementing new federal laws regarding processes and procedures that were passed in the wake of the attacks. All the while, Davies restructured International Programs into a more streamlined organization.

"She understood the need to provide information to very anxious international students and scholars, helping them deal with the anxiety created by the new environment for the international community, offering informational sessions, individual attention and guides to getting counseling," wrote of her nominators, Sandra Barkan, assistant dean of the graduate college.

"She has consistently been a compassionate advocate for the value and importance of international students on U.S. campuses," wrote two other nominators, Helen Jameson, program coordinator in the Office of International Students and Scholars, and Lois Gray, International Programs external relations director.

Davies suggests that her compassion and understanding for international students and scholars stem back to her own life experiences, including her own study aboard experiences in Russia. While there, she was greeted with the utmost kindness.

"They hardly knew me and yet they would bring out their very best for me -- in one case, the chocolate and champagne they were saving for a child's wedding. I think that was the first time when I was absolutely struck by the importance of what might seem to be, on the surface, a fairly trite concept: hospitality," said Davies.

Organization Award
--The Philip G. Hubbard Law School Preparation Program, UI College of Law

The Philip G. Hubbard Law School Preparation Program is named in honor of UI's first African-American professor and a long-time vice president. The summer program encourages undergraduate college students from groups underrepresented in the law to consider careers as lawyers. The students participate in a month-long series of intensive classes, skills training and other workshops, an intensive writing curriculum, and other activities intended to build skills in legal analysis, legal writing and the study of legal concepts.

Courses help develop critical reading, analytical and logical reasoning, problem solving, advocacy and listening skills. The program is funded in part by a $100,000 grant from the Law School Admissions Council.

"As we had hoped, a number of Hubbard Fellows sought admission to the College of Law as a result of their introduction to UI's long tradition of reaching out to students from historically underrepresented groups and providing them with an excellent education in a comfortable and diverse environment," said N. William Hines, dean of the law school, who co-nominated the program with its director, Marcella David, professor of law. "The Hubbard Program now has an established record and reputation. We are able to recruit high-caliber, highly motivated students from as far away as New York, Puerto Rico and California," David said. "Not only has the intimate environment of our summer program provided a fantastic learning experience, it has also helped foster strong bonds among the students and between the students and instructors. I have contact with two or three Hubbard Fellows a week, and that's terrific."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010, tom-snee@uiowa.edu; Writer: Rebecca DeCourcey