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Honors and Awards

Maria José Botelho, Amilcar Shabazz Receive Distinguished Community Engagement Awards

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Maria José Botelho receives the Distinguished Community Engagement Award for TeachingActing Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Laura Vandenberg and Interim Provost Mike Malone
Maria José Botelho receives the Distinguished Community Engagement Award for Teaching from Acting Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Laura Vandenberg and Interim Provost Mike Malone.

Maria José Botelho, professor in the Language, Literacy and Culture Program in the College of Education, and Amilcar Shabazz, professor and undergraduate program director in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, were honored with Distinguished Community Engagement Awards at the Faculty Honors Dinner held May 2 at the Student Union Ballroom.

The Distinguished Community Engagement Awards for Research and Teaching recognize and encourage superlative individual achievement in outreach as an incentive to further community engagement on the part of the academic enterprise. In recognizing excellence in engaged scholarship, UMass Amherst joins other universities that demonstrate commitment to the social, geographic, economic, cultural and environmental betterment of the communities they serve.

“Maria José Botelho and Amilcar Shabazz, you are outstanding examples of dedicated teachers and mentors, and I am pleased that you received this award,” Acting Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Laura Vandenberg said when bestowing the awards.

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Amilcar Shabazz receives the Distinguished Community Engagement Award for Service from Acting Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Laura Vandenberg and Interim Provost Mike Malone
Amilcar Shabazz receives the Distinguished Community Engagement Award for Service from Acting Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Laura Vandenberg and Interim Provost Mike Malone

Botelho, who received the Distinguished Community Engagement Award for Teaching, has taught in the Department of Teacher Education & Curriculum Studies since 2008. She is also faculty director of the Five College Doors to the World project, a collaboration between UMass, the Five Colleges and local organizations to provide a repository for teacher-made resources. The website provides resources to K-12 teachers, as well as students at the Five Colleges and across North America. In addition, Botelho has led multiple summer institutes for K-5 teachers and is in the process of developing a new summer institute on the representation of Black childhoods in children’s literature.

Shabazz, who joined the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies in 2007, received the Distinguished Community Engagement Award for Service. He has developed sustained community relationships Amherst, Springfield, and the wider Pioneer Valley area, and his community engagement has included working with local and state government as well as local cultural institutions. Through a longstanding relationship with State Rep. Bud Williams, Shabazz contributed to the enactment of state law declaring Juneteenth as a statewide holiday, as well as the legislation to develop the Black Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in Springfield. He is also deeply involved in the Town of Amherst’s African Heritage Reparation Assembly, and he co-hosts a local radio show “Black in the Valley,” interviewing guests and educating the community about African-American History.

As part of the award, Botelho and Shabazz each received a $2,500 monetary prize and a plaque of recognition. More information about the Distinguished Community Engagement Awards, including nomination guidelines, can be found on the Office of Faculty Development website.