Dr. Angela Dunn, YWCA Utah and Project Rainbow Receive MLK Unsung Hero Awards
January 21, 2021
SALT LAKE CITY – Westminster College is pleased to announce the community recipients of Westminster’s 2021 MLK Unsung Hero Awards: Angela Dunn, MD, MPH, lead epidemiologist for the state of Utah; Lucas Horns of Project Rainbow and YWCA Utah. The Unsung Hero Awards are given to individuals, groups and organizations who are committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive campus and community.
"This is an ideal time and opportunity to recognize this year’s cohort of Unsung Hero Award recipients as we celebrate and reflect on the life, work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a scholar, activist and advocate for civil rights and social justice," said Dr. Tamara Stevenson, chief diversity officer at Westminster College. "Each recipient of this award exemplifies what it means to show up and do their work with competence, compassion and commitment on a daily basis, and to do so during an unprecedented time in the history of this city, state, nation and the world. In spite of the challenges arising from the unpredictability of both a global pandemic and intensified social and civil unrest in the past year, they persevered to support and encourage those in their care without hesitation, to the benefit of their students, clients, classmates, peers and the communities where they serve."
2021 MLK Unsung Heroes
Angela Dunn, MD, MPH, lead epidemiologist for the state of Utah
Community Leader Award
Dr. Angela Dunn is the state epidemiologist for the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) where she works across the department to identify and address health concerns of all Utahns, with a particular focus on serving under-resourced communities. She came to UDOH as an epidemic intelligence service (EIS) officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and was involved in several infectious disease outbreak response and control efforts both in Utah and abroad. Dr. Dunn was selected for this recognition for her consistent dedication and tireless effort to provide sound scientific content in a complex sociopolitical context to inform Utah state leaders and its citizenry about COVID-19, its effects and proper personal and public protocols needed to protect the state and minimize community spread.
Lucas Horns, Project Rainbow
Community Leader Award
Lucas Horns was selected for this recognition for his work with Project Rainbow, an organization he started in 2018 that promotes LGBTQ+ visibility throughout Utah. After growing up queer in Utah, Lucas Horns spent much of his adult life striving to make the state more welcoming and affirming for LGBTQ+ people. In 2013, he joined the Utah Steering Committee for the Human Rights Campaign, where he has worked to elect pro-equality candidates and enact pro-equality legislation in the state.
Community Organization Award
YWCA Utah was selected for this recognition for its perseverance in sustaining its multifaceted operation during the COVID-19 global pandemic and intensified social and racial unrest. Westminster was one of thousands of participating individuals and organizations in last summer's YWCA Utah's 21-Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge, which helped raise awareness and understanding about race-related social issues.
YWCA Utah has been serving Utah women and their families since 1906, working towards its bold mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. For 115 years, YWCA Utah has championed services and initiatives which support Utah families, including nationally accredited early education, childcare, domestic violence services, women's professional development, race equity initiatives, public policy advocacy, affordable housing and so much more.
Frances Peacock, Assistant Director, Student Success and Retention
Westminster Staff Award
Academic advising at Westminster College helps Frances do what she loves best: communicate with and learn about human beings as they navigate their learning paths. She began her teaching and advising career at Indiana University, where she was active on campus committees, recognized for her service and earned several promotions during her nearly 20-year tenure as an advisor, adjunct instructor and senior lecturer in writing. After relocating to Utah to teach part-time at Salt Lake Community College and Westminster, she accepted a full-time position in academic advising at Westminster. Peacock was selected for this recognition for her dedicated work with students to ensure that they have supportive pathways to starting and continuing their Westminster education.
Joan Roque Peña, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Chemistry
Westminster Faculty Award
Joan Evaliz Roque Peña, Ph.D., born and raised in Puerto Rico, is an assistant professor of chemistry at Westminster College. Joan is passionate about increasing diversity in higher education. She serves as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Professional Development Faculty Fellow, is a McNair student mentor, co-leads the Faculty Racial Justice Reading Group at Westminster College and serves as the chair of the “POGIL Addressing Equity” recruiting group. Dr. Peña was selected for this recognition for her commitment to culturally responsive approaches to faculty development.
Eliza Van Dyk
Westminster Student Award
Eliza is the student-creator of the Environmental Justice program within the Environmental Center. She grew up on Hopi and Diné lands where her passion for Environmental Justice started at a young age. She studied environmental studies and gender studies at Westminster College, where she founded an Environmental Justice Team and coordinated a Food Justice Working Group. She is on the Leadership Committee of Uplift, a youth-led climate justice group in the Southwest, where she focuses on fundraising as a method of redistributing colonial and generational wealth. Van Dyk was selected for this recognition for her commitment to "building a culture of inclusive, justice-driven environmentalism on campus."
Computer Science: Helen Hu and Kathryn Lenth
Westminster Campus Unit Award
Helen Hu has taught computer science at Westminster College since earning her Ph.D. from the University of Utah and her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, both in computer science. She has always been passionate about broadening participation in computer science and has worked on several projects over the past 15 years to increase the diversity of K–12 computer science classes, undergraduate computer science departments and the tech workforce. Kathryn (Kathy) Lenth was raised in Iowa and holds degrees from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and the University of Wyoming. In 2018, she came to Westminster from Casper College, a community college in Wyoming, where she was the sole computer science instructor and was honored with the Phi Theta Kappa Terrific Learning Coach award. Hu and Lenth were selected for this recognition for their collective commitment to culturally responsive content in their classes where they dedicated a substantial amount of time to having students do activities that focus on racial equality, racial identity, systematic racism and bias in coding and computer science.
Westminster is a private, independent, and comprehensive college in Salt Lake City, Utah. Students experience the liberal arts blended with professional programs in an atmosphere dedicated to civic engagement. With the goal of enabling its graduates to live vibrant, just, and successful lives, Westminster provides transformational learning experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students in a truly student-centered environment. Faculty focus on teaching, learning, and developing distinctive, innovative programs, while students thrive on Westminster’s urban Sugar House campus within minutes of the Rocky Mountains.