Community Engagement Scholars Receive UC San Diego Inclusive Excellence Award


The 2020-2021 cohort of Community Engagement Fellows at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography are recognized for the vital service they have provided to the Scripps community during a time of societal upheaval across the country.

The group received the UC San Diego Inclusive Excellence Award for outstanding contributions to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion within the community throughout the calendar year 2021.

The Inclusive Excellence Award is given to faculty, staff, students, departments, and organizational units to celebrate UC San Diego’s commitment to inclusive excellence and its principles of community. These principles are intended to maintain an atmosphere of fairness, cooperation, and professionalism, and are essential for the university to value and respect the diversity of every member of the UC San Diego community.

The eight Community Engagement Scholars receiving the award are graduate students Julia Chavarry, Erica Ferrer, Danielle McHaskell, Ivan Moreno and Anaí Novoa, and undergraduate students Lily Jorrick, Carmen Lopez and Nilusha Wanniappa. These fellows have joined the Scripps Oceanography Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Team in 2020-2021.

“Given all that has happened nationally around anti-racism and social justice in 2020, the Community Engagement Fellows have demonstrated an incredible commitment to supporting the needs and interests of students, staff and faculty during this time,” said Margaret Leinen, Vice-Chancellor. for Marine Science and Director of Scripps Oceanography. “They shared resources and created opportunities for the Scripps community to feel connected, heard, and valued, and made significant progress in creating a more supportive climate at Scripps.”

Community Engagement Fellows are paid positions held by UC San Diego students who are dedicated to building relationships through mentorship and community representation, outreach, and equality with their peers. They work closely with Scripps Oceanography’s Director of Diversity Initiatives, Keiara Auzenne, to create diversity workshops, trainings and events.

“This award represents the hard work and commitment of the team of Community Engagement Fellows during the 2020-2021 academic year,” said Scripps graduate student and 2020-2021 Fellow Ivan Moreno. “I hope this award will serve as a beacon of hope for positive change for all future students, faculty, and staff who seek to help make our campus a better place and see Scripps as an institution they love. to be a part of. ”

Throughout the year, fellows promoted cultural inclusivity through various sessions and resources for the Scripps community, such as leading 19 weekly anti-racism reboot sessions and several bias training sessions. and writing content for the Scripps Community Awareness, Resources, Engagement and Support (CARES) internal newsletter that disseminated resource and community information. The training sessions brought together students, staff, and faculty from various Scripps divisions and units to educate each other about anti-racism practices and discussions. Students have also helped Scripps organize regular conferences on Community Conversations and Developing Engagement Through Existing Connections (DEEP) to highlight the scientific endeavors of underrepresented and marginalized scholars.

“In academia, EDI work is often underestimated,” said Julia Chavarry, graduate student and 2020-2021 fellow. “The Inclusive Excellence Award signifies the value of implementing strategies that enhance university spaces for students, faculty, and staff with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Furthermore, it highlights the importance of providing students from traditionally underrepresented groups with spaces that encourage the coexistence of their passion for science and their investment in their communities.

Fellows also organized an outreach program aimed at recruiting underrepresented students to apply to Scripps called ‘Chat with a Scripps Scientist.’ This series of four workshops, attended by over 120 prospective students, aimed to demystify the application and admissions process, and connect prospective students with potential professors and labs for introductory conversations.

Contributions and dedication to these programs have had a direct impact on structural improvements in admissions. In fall 2021, Scripps welcomed its most diverse cohort of incoming graduate students.

Previous recipients of Scripps’ UC San Diego Inclusive Excellence Award include Scripps’ Women and Minorities in Science (WMIS) group, who received the award in 2020Auzenne, oceanographer Jennifer MacKinnon and former graduate student Alyssa Griffin.

For more information about equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives at Scripps, visit


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