Faculty Diversity Award: Tony Capomacchia
Tony Capomacchia, associate professor of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences, received the Faculty Diversity Award for his work to recruit and retain a diverse student body in the College of Pharmacy. Capomacchia developed and currently directs the largest externally funded graduate program for recruiting minority students into the STEM disciplines at UGA. The funding for his program comes from several sources, including the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the UGA-NCAT Bridges to the Doctorate program, and the UGA Graduate School. Capomacchia has made more than 180 recruiting trips to historically black colleges and universities across the Southeast, as well as other major institutions. In addition to his recruiting efforts, Capomacchia oversees the visitation process of students who are accepted into graduate programs. Capomacchia retains 95 percent of graduate students due to his hands-on approach to graduate student recruitment and development.
Diversity Research Scholarship: Anita Thompson
Anita Thompson, a sociology doctoral candidate, researches the motivations, job stresses, and coping strategies of social workers who confront HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy issues in African-American communities. Her methodology involves in-depth interviews with more than 40 social workers in three Southeastern communities. Thompson’s research explores the similarities and differences between the two groups of activists. Her results show that HIV/AIDS social workers encounter more obstacles and often have less funding from civic agencies than teen pregnancy activists. Her dissertation also identifies effective methods to combat teen pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. Thompson will use the diversity scholarship to finish the final draft of her dissertation.
Graduate Student Diversity Engagement Award: Jason Whiting
Jason Whiting, a natural resources recreation and tourism doctoral student, received the Graduate Student Diversity Engagement Award for his efforts to improve cultural diversity on campus and on public lands. Whiting increased the ethnic diversity of recreational trips and clinics conducted by the UGA Outdoor Recreation Program. He recruited students by attending international student coffee hours, promoting the program among racial and ethnic student organizations, and recruiting a diverse staff to guide outdoor trips. Whiting’s dissertation research examines how to increase the visitation and use of public lands by minority populations. Whiting, who lived for two years in Venezuela and is fluent in Spanish, distributed surveys, conducted site interviews and held focus groups in English and Spanish. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has used his research to increase visitation by minority populations on public lands.
Graduate Student Diversity Engagement Award: Sarah Himmelheber
Sarah Himmelheber, a social work doctoral student, received the Graduate Student Diversity Engagement Award for her volunteerism and research on promoting a more food-secure community in Athens. Himmelheber is currently establishing the UGA branch of Campus Kitchens Project. A nationwide program, the Campus Kitchens Project gives students a leading role to provide healthy food for undernourished community members by using surplus food from campus kitchens. Himmelheber recruited students from around UGA to participate with the project, began working relationships with other local service organizations, and engaged the Greek life community by giving them a place to donate excess food. Himmelheber plans to conduct a case study on the development of a Campus Kitchens Project branch for her dissertation research.