Graduate Student Diversity Committee Honors Outstanding Student and Faculty/Staff Ally

awards winners smile with Kirsten HelmerThis April, Adaeze Egwuatu was chosen by the Graduate Student Diversity Committee as the recipient of this year’s Wendy L. Helmer Memorial Graduate Student Award. Egwuatu's fellow graduate students recognized her important contributions across many levels including in PBS, the Neuroscience and Behavior Program, and at UMass Amherst more broadly. She has also been an active mentor of students from underrepresented groups, and a member of several student organizations and outreach committees. Egwuatu is a strong advocate for inclusion and social justice, and has been a powerful, respectful voice for graduate students. 

The Wendy Helmer Memorial Graduate Student Award is a peer-nominated award that is presented annually to a graduate student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences who embodies Wendy’s sprit and positively influences the PBS community. Longtime Psychological Services Center secretary, Wendy was a proud supporter and friend of the PBS Graduate Student Diversity Committee.

The winner of the first Faculty/Staff Ally to Graduate Students Award is Professor Lisa Harvey. A compassionate ally to graduate students, she constantly goes out of her way to attend to student needs and support student well-being. Harvey is an active supporter of the Graduate Student Diversity Committee, sharing the community's ideas for student advocacy throughout the Department. She dedicates herself to initiatives that create a welcoming environment where all students can thrive. In her teaching practice, Harvey values the individuals goals of each of her students, also incorporating literature and discussion of themes related to people from diverse backgrounds. 

Recipients of these awards work to foster an environment of collaboration and support and improve the overall quality of life for graduate students and the Department. The awards recognize passionate individuals who challenge the status quo and actively contribute to an environment that embraces inclusion, community, collaboration, mentorship, and social justice. 

Pictured left-right: Adaeze Egwuatu, Kirsten Helmer (Wendy's wife), and Lisa Harvey