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OHREA Awards Recipients

Accessibility Awards

Sarah Hughes (2021) is a student at the University of Windsor in the Faculty of Social Work. Currently she is a 2nd year representative and Discord Coordinator with the Disabilities Studies Student Association. She is also a member of the planning committee for the University’s Accessibility Awareness Days Event. Sarah is deeply passionate about supporting students as they deal with challenges related to accessibility, accommodation, and mental health. In addition to her formal volunteer roles on campus, Sarah has done so much for other students. Through her own time and effort, she has successfully created an online community and network of support for students to provide tips for success, information about resources, encouragement and to share coping strategies. Sarah demonstrates how students helping students contributes to a stronger, inclusive, and a compassionate community. Sarah has a passion for increasing accessibility on campus and in Windsor-Essex County. 

Sarah Richards (2020) is a dedicated University of Windsor student. In 2019, she devoted her final year in the Drama in Education and the Community (DRED) program to researching accessibility in theatre. She is committed to normalizing Relaxed Performances so that live theatre can be accessible to everyone. A Relaxed Performance is a sensory-friendly theatre experience that is meant for people with disabilities or anyone with diverse sensory needs. The house of lights stay up during the performance to encourage patrons to move around as needed. Also, the lighting and sound cues are toned down to avoid being too harsh or overstimulating. This research gave her the oppourtunity to work on creating a Relaxed Performance of Beauty and the Beast at the University of Windsor by the University Players. This provided greater access to theatre creating an inclusive oppourtunity for many people to enjoy the performance alongside their friends and family.

Joyceln Lorito (2019) has worked tirelessly since her start at the University in 2012. She has devoted her time to bettering the experience on campus for students in need of service animals. She is committed to making sure there is an equitable, humane, transparent, and seamless process for our students with service animals in the University. Joyceln is an active member of the Accessible Employment and Customer Service Committee which supports our University community by identifying and exploring the issues surrounding barriers for those with disabilities, helping to remove them where ever possible.

Sandra Ondracka (2018) has been the Campus Recreation Coordinator at the University of Windsor for 25 years. Over the course of those 25 years, she has served on the Faculty of Human Kinetics Equity Committee, working towards improving accessibility and inclusivity. As a coordinator of Campus Recreation, Sandra leads the delivery of Intramural, recreation and fitness opportunites to over 5000 students annually. Through all this activity, Sandra has been a champion for inclusivity and accessibility to recrecreation programs. She has been a proponent for diversity, eqality, social justice, mental wellness and healthy active living.

Nicolas Harris (2017) while completing his undergraduate studies in Political Science, Nicholas carved out time to actively participate in a variety of ways to improve accessibility across the University of Windsor campus. For instance, he volunteered with the Accessible Built Environment Committee for several years. As a part of this committee, his focus was on identifying and exploring the issues surrounding barriers experienced by people with a range of disabilities in the areas of the built environment and facilities of our campus. Outside of our campus community, Nicholas has also served as the Chairperson of the Kingsville Accessibility Committee where his responsibilities included ensuring that various town projects complied with the Accessibility of Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Dr. Don Leslie (2016) developed and taught the first Social Work and Disability Studies course in the School of Social Work. He collaborated across disciplines and with the greater Windsor community to establish an Undergraduate Disability Studies Degree program at the University. Furthermore, in collaboration with Employment Equity Services, he developed the University’s plan to implement the goals of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Dr. John Cappucci (2015) is a sessional instructor in the Department of Psychology, as professor Dr. Cappucci strived to make his classroom inclusive and accessible to all students. For example, he made sure that all of his teaching materials, including PowerPoint lectures, assignment guidelines and rubrics are placed on the CLEW site at the beginning of the semester.

Mr. Richard Dumala (2014) has been instrumental in creating a more accessible and inclusive campus from presenting on Web Accessibility at the Universities Computer Conference, to creating the website for Accessibility Awareness Day.

Employment Equity Awards

Daniella Beaulieu (2021) was first hired as an Employment Equity Assistant in the department of Human Resources in 2005. Since then, she has held a variety of roles throughout her University career, including Sessional Instructor in Women’s Studies, Employment Services Coordinator, Employment Relations Associate, Employment Equity and Human Rights Manager, Executive Director – Academic & Staff Labour and Employee Relations, Executive Director – Academic Initiatives and currently as Acting VicePresident, Human Resources. In addition to the many roles Daniella has held, she also serves on many University committees such as Sexual Misconduct Policy Review Committee, Human Rights Policy Working Group, the former chair of the Accessibly Employment Committee, Campus Accessible Coordinating Committee, Employment Equity Coordinating Committee, Review Committee on Employment Equity, President’s Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Racialized Data Collection Implementation Committee, Sexual Violence Task Force, and more. For over 13 years Daniella has served as a member and/or Employment Equity Assessor on numerous hiring committees, including staff, managerial and executive searches. With her strong employment equity background, she has raised awareness and shared her expertise to further advance employment equity within all roles she has held at the University.

EDI Committee of Human Kinetics (2020) has benefited from having a longstanding Equity Committee which has existed from its very early stages as a Faculty at the University of Windsor. The Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Committee (EDI) was created initially to address issues of gender inequity in sport, and has evolved over the decades to facilitate a safe, productive, educational environment for all faculty, students and staff in the Faculty of Human Kinetics, through practices designed to eliminate discriminatory barriers regardless of gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity, race, status, and ability. The committee offers many training opportunities for the faculty and staff to develop the knowledge and skills to work effectively within a diverse environment. In addition, they have prioritized educational equity within the Kinesiology curriculum by actively enhancing course content to value alternative ways of learning, teaching and translation.

Shirley Knight (2019) joined the University in 1986 with a passion for equity and inclusion. She joined the President’s Commission on Traditional Prejudices and Discrimination Committee in 1993 to help make important changes here in our University community. Since its inception in 1995, Shirley has been part of the Employment Equity Coordinating Committee; EECC for short, and has been the Vice Chair of the committee for over 10 years now. Shirley is the current chair of the EECC Inclusion and Retention Subcommittee, a committee that devotes their time to helping our University community be an inclusive environment every student, faculty, and staff member would love to be a member of. Shirley was a member of the Accessibility IQ Poster Project Team in 2009. She had also joined the Accommodation Facilitation Panel for a one year term; this panel made recommendations to explore all relevant activity under the workplace accommodation regulations. In 2002, she was given special mention as part of the individuals whose efforts respecting employment equity should be acknowledged. She had also been a part of the Diversity Action Committee in 2005-2006.

Purita Bristow (2018) is a retiree and former Assistant Director of Enterprise Information Systems Services in I.T Services.  She has a proven track record of promoting employment equity within the University, as well as her overall contribution to diversity and inclusion in the work place. In May 2007, the University of Windsor successfully streamlined the process of generating electronic Curriculum Vitae (eCVs) for internal and external academic review. Today, faculty members in all disciplines can enter career information online into a standardized CV template which is “effective yet simple”. Pritz provided IT support for Employment Equity for many years and was a founding member of the Employment Equity Coordinating Committee from its inception in 1995 until retirement. She served as an acting Employment Equity Manager in 1994, and in 2014 was the project consultant for the Employment Equity Process and Procedures project.

Dr. Karen Roland (2017) has held a variety of positions on our campus throughout her career, including Coordinator of Co-Operative Education with the Co-Op Education & Career Services team, the Employment & Education Equity Co-ordinator with the Department of Human Resources, as a Learning Specialist with the Faculty of Education and as Acting Dean of the Faculty of Education. Throughout her career, Karen’s research interests have focussed on restorative justice, equity and peer education. She actively consults and collaborates with teacher candidates, faculty, and school partners as an impartial resource, assisting in the development of strategies and programming to address equity and social justice issues in teacher education.

Ms. Gwen Ebbett (2016) concluded her term as the Dean of Library in 2015. She contributed to advancing equity throughout her career as the University Librarian. She was a founding member of the Employment Equity Coordinating Committee (EECC). Ms. Ebbett also served on the Legal Defense Fund Committee in 2003 and the Accessibility Planning Group (APG) from 2007 to 2012. As an active advocate for equity, she exemplifies someone who integrates employment equity throughout her everyday practice.

Dr.  Bruce Tucker (2015) is a retiree who began his career as a faculty member in 1988. He served as an Equity Assessor from 1997 through 2006 and held many positions such as President of WUFA, Director of Interfaculty Programs, and the Associate Vice-President, Academic. Throughout his career, Dr. Tucker contributed to promoting equity at various levels at the University.

Dr. Lois Smedick (2014) was the first female Graduate Dean in Canada. She was the first Chair of the Review Committee on Employment Equity at the University. Dr. Smedick was instrumental in importing the idea of Equity Assessors (EE/PA) to the University of Windsor.

Human Rights and Social Justice Awards

Jasleen Dayal (2021) is involved in Human Rights and Social Justice around the University of Windsor community in many ways. She is involved in the University of Windsor Student Alliance, was the Vice President of Student Life, and was the Womxn’s Centre Coordinator. To name a few of the many achievements that Jasleen was a part of, she coordinated live sessions with the Hiatus House to educate students about women’s shelters and domestic violence, hosted live streams with the Office of Sexual Misconduct, hosted #BellLet’sTalk events, and donated to several organizations around the community. In addition to Jasleen being actively involved in various groups and committees, she knows advocacy and grows allyship not only through the promotion of inclusivity, but also by skillfully leveraging financial support towards strengthening a culture of inclusivity and shining a light on human rights while working to reduce barriers. Jasleen is dedicated to Human Rights and Social Justice, not only at the University, but well beyond our campus community.

Katrina Bahnam (2020) is a fourth-year student in the Law and Politics program. Aside from her outstanding academic excellence, she is recognized for her great achievements as an ambassador for the University of Windsor and in the Windsor-Essex community. Katrina dedicates her free time to mentoring fellow students, assisting with social justice research projects, taking on leadership positions at the university, participating in many philanthropic tasks, and advocating for Human Rights causes. Katrina began a leadership role within the university during her first year. She was the president of the Society of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the president of WE Students United, and President of the Model United Nations Club. She continues to be acknowledged for her outstanding engagement in charities and community volunteer work.

LGBTQ+ in STEM Conference Committee (2019) began working on this national conference in the summer. They were propelled into action by a desire to address challenges faced by LGBTQ+ in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In addition to creating an engaging programme from the ground up, a tremendous amount of effort was required to solicit funding from both internal and external sources. The diverse group of speakers tackled issues such as visible and invisible social barriers, the need for more representation and role models, experiences of microaggressions, the role of allies, and much more. Overall, the conference achieved the vision of the committee by creating meaningful connections to build a community that both highlights and uplifts achievements in the STEM fields, presents role models for younger STEM generations, and promotes concrete change within universities and their surrounding communities. This conference committee was able to put together a high-quality event that was one of the first if not the first of its kind in Canada in just three short months. They clearly demonstrated that they are committed to spreading awareness of issues pertaining to equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM fields, which are generally less likely to be addressed.

Dr. Kathy McCloskey (2018) is an adjunct associate professor in the University of Windsor’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology. She has won awards in recognition for her research into the culture of the Diné people, commonly known as Navajo. Many Diné endure extremely poor living conditions and were dramatically affected by rapid transformations occurring in agriculture and textiles. Her analysis challenges anthropologists’ support of unauthorized reproduction of Diné designs by Zapotec weaver’s rights to protection. Kathy has advocated for the rights of Diné weavers who have encountered competition from the investment market and knock-off textiles not only by campaigning in the justice system, but also by her forthcoming book Why the Navajo Blanket Became a Rug: Excavating the Lost Heritage off Globalization. She is described as someone who is “ahead of her time” by students around her and she has a demonstrated dedication to human rights and social justice through her scholarship over the past twenty years.  

Professor Beverly Jacobs (2017) joined Windsor Law for the Fall 2017 semester, Beverly Jacobs has already made an impression, sharing her vast experience specializing in the rights of Indigenous peoples and inspiring law students to advance issues of human rights and social justice. In 2008, Beverly received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case which recognized her contribution to the advancement of Aboriginal women’s equality. She is the recipient of the Circle of Honour Esquao Award from the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women in Edmonton, Alberta. Beverly received a Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law from the Governments of France and Germany for her human rights fight for the issues relating to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada. One of fifty women recognized by Canadian peace organizations for her work to further a culture of peace in Canada she has also held the title of President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada and is an Aboriginal Advisory Member with Save the Children Canada.

The University of Windsor chapter of Engineers Without Borders (2016) connects, educates, and empowers people through humanitarian efforts to end poverty around the world. The chapter hosts an annual Run to End Poverty to raise money for water filtration systems in Kenya with their venture LishaBora Hydroponics. They have numerous teams working to implement initiatives around the community

The Bystander Initiative’s Drs. Anne Forrest, Charlene Senn, and Dusty Johnstone (2015) are the cornerstones of the Bystander Initiative. These professors were instrumental in adapting the initiative from the University of New Hampshire’s Bringing in the Bystander - In Person Prevention workshop and creating a powerful approach to sexual assault prevention for the University of Windsor campus.

Dr. Manu Sharma (2014) initiated and organized the Annual Social Justice Conferences at the Faculty of Education and Academic Development. As an active member on the University’s Accessible Employment Committee and as a member of her Faculty’s Curriculum Development working committee, she incorporates social justice in her practice.

Mental Health Champion Awards (established in 2017)

Clementa Stan (2021) has had several roles during her time at the University and is currently a Career Advising Coordinator in the Odette School of Business. Clementa has been recognized for going to great lengths to assist the campus community in many ways, which includes providing a tremendous amount of support to students in her program and others on campus who may be dealing with their mental health. Besides supporting colleagues and students, Clementa has been a driving force in Windsor-Essex County to raise awareness and understanding of matters related to mental health and how it affects not only those living with the condition and its stigma, but also the family and caregivers of those impacted. She has been a board member of the Hotel Dieu Grace Health Care Advisory Council for Mental Health since 2015. She recently launched the Caregiver Initiative to help and support caregivers of individuals with mental illness or addictions. This type of initiative is essential to overcoming the stigma that individuals, family members, and loved ones live with every day. Over Clementa’s time at the University she has earned the respect and gratitude of students, colleagues, and community partners that she serves. Clementa truly embodies all of the key elements of a mental health champion, making her perfect for this award.

Frank Renaud (2020) was an athlete for the University of Windsor football team prior to playing professional football with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger Cats. He has been involved with the University and the Windsor-Essex community to promote mental health and well-being and to remove the stigmas around mental health. While working on holistically healing himself, Frank engages in many public speaking opportunities to shed light on his experience. He intends to continue sharing his experiences with mental illness and spread positivity throughout the community by viewing his diagnosis as a gift. Frank embodies all the key elements of a mental health champion.

Name withheld (2019)

Jessica Tetreault- Fazio (2018) completed an Honours, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Family and Social Relations degree at the University of Windsor in 2018. She is a founding member of the UWindsor Jack.org chapter, speaking publicly as a “Jack Talks” speaker.  She was also featured in the Canadian Mental Health Association’s “Get Loud” campaign.  Jessica has contributed to many initiatives, such as working on the Shinerama fundraising campaign. She raises awareness as a public speaker by giving safe and engaging talks in high schools and at various events. She works to break down stigma, prompting the importance of mental health and well-being. In 2015, she was awarded a University of Windsor GEM award for her dedication to mental health and anti-stigma.

Snakes and Lancers (2017) at the Faculty of Law invites all Law Students to come together, socialize and decompress by playing board games in an alcohol-free atmosphere. The club was created with a simple premise in mind, “Make space for play.” The board-game nights are strategically scheduled throughout the semester in the weeks leading up to midterms, on-campus interviews for law students, intensive assignment periods and final exams. By doing so, the Snakes and Lancers events model balancing work and play, an important lesson and essential component to long-term professional success and personal mental well-being.

OHREA Awards

Shuzhen Zhao (2021) graciously partnered with the International Student Center and used her personal experiences to help International Students at the University of Windsor. She also has been leading the English Conversation Group for 8 years. The English Conversation Group meets once a week and gives students the opportunity to speak and practice their English in a safe and supportive environment. To enhance this experience, Dr. Zhao has created a team of staff and librarians who bring their expertise to the groups every week. The English Conversation group has expanded outside of Leddy Library and is also offered in the Faculty of Social Sciences to allow more opportunities for students to join.

Leddy Library (2020) The Leddy Library staff have exemplified Human Rights, Equity and Accessibility through their participation in many projects. They facilitated projects to improve the experience of those with physical disabilities, support and advance indigenous resources, incorporate indigenous symbolism and architecture as an effect to create a more welcoming space, participated in the "Breaking the Colour Barrier" project which recognizes and promotes the successes of black athletes in Canada, and participated in the "UWindsor Digital Archive" project to highlight Queer stewardship and history. In addition, Leddy Librarians and staff participate in EDI programming, advocate leadership on EDI in Canadian libraries, and try to improve EDI efforts in librarian and staff hiring. This work is done locally, nationally, and internationally.

Vicky Paraschak (2019) joined the faculty of Kinesiology in 1984, and since then she has provided leadership, guidance, mentorship, and support to many students and colleagues. Vicky has been on a number of committees throughout the years, representing employment equity, accessibility, diversity, inclusion, and human rights. She also served as an Equity Accessor. She has been a member of the Faculty of Human Kinetics Equity Committee since its inception and became Chair shortly after. As a Human Kinetics Professor, she has taught many undergraduate courses, leading her to become a graduate student supervisor for multiple masters students within the faculty of HK. Her students primarily investigate situations of unequal power relations and how to address them through the critical analysis of existing situations and the creation of programs that allow for more equitable conditions. Vicky is very involved within the University community and beyond, advocating for equity and diversity in sport. She has facilitated several workshops using a “strengths perspective” to help improve conditions for Aboriginal Sport in Canada. Vicky exemplifies equity in all aspects of her life, all that Vicky does in and out of the classroom is viewed through an equity and diversity lens. Every moment of every day she is proactive in making students, colleagues and the community recognize the value in every individual regardless of our differences, with a goal of meaningful inclusion.

Chantal Kayumba (2018) has advanced human rights and employment equity both on and off campus.  During a field placement, she noted areas of discrimination that would have a negative impact on vulnerable populations.  Her advocacy and willingness to educate helped change the work environment to reduce discrimination and be a more safe and inclusive space.  In her on-campus participation with the student group the Young African Union, she was instrumental in assisting in integrating international students into the University community.  She led the development of a holiday initiative to alleviate homesickness over the holidays and was central in organizing a gala and awards event to recognize high achieving students of African descent.  Off campus, Chantal worked with a First Nations social justice group, where she advocated for those requiring mental health assistance and diabetes screening.  She is noted as being a strong voice and an important contributor to creating opportunities in the face of lacking resources.

Victoria Pedri (2017) focused on advancing and embedding inclusivity and diversity into the University of  Windsor culture. She created the Windsor chapter of the national “Get REAL” organization, a youth-focused, non-profit organization that energizes LGBTQ+ students and their allies to voice their stories. Through this chapter, she coordinates “Get REAL” events both on and off campus such as facilitating antibullying workshops for high school students which are aimed to break down prejudice, promote unity and foster compassion. On campus, Victoria has used her talents to create the Anti-Homophobia Poetry Night and has volunteered countless hours with the Womxn’s Centre and with the Campus Pride Centre where she has also lead a bi-monthly book club.

Dr. Erica Stevens Abbitt (2016) is a professor in Dramatic Art and the Director of the Humanities Research Group. She also served on the Women’s and Gender Studies Advisory Committee. Dr. Abbitt contributes to the advancement of culture, diversity, and inclusivity at all levels of her work such as through publishing academic articles regarding inclusive pedagogy. Furthermore, she incorporates and acknowledges the intersectionality between gender, sexuality, and race throughout her teaching and practice.

Aboriginal Education Centre—Turtle Island (2015) opened in 1992. The Centre serves as a valuable educational resource for students, staff, and faculty at the University, as well as engages in outreach to current/prospective university students, to elementary through high school students, and to the community.

Out on Campus (2014) is a student-run group that provides a positive environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer people and allies at the University. OOC runs several workshops for the University community and holds a number of educational events throughout the year such as National Coming Out Day.