Josiah Hester and Charla Wilson have received the 2022 Daniel I. Linzer Award for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Equity.
Given annually by Northwestern University’s Office of the Provost, the award celebrates individuals or groups who work collectively to build a more diverse, inclusive and equitable climate on campus and enhance diversity across the spectrum, including race, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, age and political affiliation.
The recognition comes with a $5,000 award, and Hester and Wilson will be honored at a reception in the spring.
Hester is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and computer science at the McCormick School of Engineering. He is recognized for his “tireless work to build a more diverse, inclusive and equitable climate…especially in a field in which women and people of color are underrepresented.”
To help advance diversity and inclusion across his department, school and the University, Hester helped create Code-N-Color, a new support group for BIPOC Ph.D. students who are in computing and coding-related disciplines. As a part of ongoing mentorship, Hester meets with Code-N-Color students on a regular basis. He also plans speakers and events that promote conversation around equity, diversity and coding and conducts research addressing challenges that people in the Ojibwe Nations and his own Native Hawaiian community face today.
“He is a consistent positive force for change — always ready to brainstorm ideas, spearhead initiatives and help others achieve more,” Hester’s nomination said. “I have had a chance to witness first-hand the wonderful positive energy that he brings, the ideas he provides and his tireless commitment to doing the actual work to effect positive change.”
Wilson is the Archivist for the Black Experience at the University Libraries. She is recognized for her deep commitment to “promoting diversity, equity and inclusion across campus, far beyond her role as archivist” and for her “tireless activity in support of a more inclusive campus.”
Immediately after joining Northwestern, Wilson developed historical exhibits, videos and events related to the 50th anniversary of the Bursar’s Office Takeover. In 2021, she partnered with the Northwestern Community Ensemble and alumni to coordinate the 50th anniversary with virtual programming, an online exhibit, oral history project, documentary, commemorative book, and to build upon NCE’s archival collection. Wilson also joined the Curating the Space Committee in support of the Black House renovation project, ensuring the safety and security of important cultural assets during the renovation and research into the origins of significant artifacts including the building’s artwork. She co-developed The Black Student Experience at Northwestern University Audio Tour of campus and the Walking Through Northwestern University Audio Tour. Wilson also partnered on the creation of the Social Justice Tours of Northwestern.
“Charla’s impact on life at Northwestern, particularly student life, is profound and will have an enduring impact on how we reflect on this moment in the future,” Wilson’s nomination said. “Her enthusiasm and persistence for engaging with this work on campus demonstrates her intentional pursuit for a more inclusive Northwestern community.”