Rollins Announces 2023 Presidential Awards for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

June 08, 2023

By Office of Marketing

From top left: Stephanie Nieves, David Painter, Kyrene George ’23, and Juan Cabrera ’23.
From top left: Stephanie Nieves, David Painter, Kyrene George ’23, and Juan Cabrera ’23.

The award honors students, faculty, and staff for efforts aimed at promoting diversity awareness, representation, and inclusion within the Rollins workplace and student community.

Each year as the spring semester winds down, the College’s Diversity Council asks Tars to consider which students, faculty, and staff members have led the charge toward a more equitable Rollins. Since 2010, the Presidential Award for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging (DEIB) has honored individuals making significant contributions to the cause of promoting representation, inclusion, and awareness among the Rollins community. This year’s awardees include a social-media-loving library enthusiast, a communications guru, a passionate performer, and a budding biologist fueled by social justice.

Kyrene George

Presidential Award for DEIB, Students

Kyrene George ’23
Biology Major

During her time at Rollins, recent biology graduate and aspiring physician assistant Kyrene George worked tirelessly to cultivate community and a sense of belonging for her peers. From serving as an Admission Diplomat for DEIB recruitment efforts to holding leadership roles in both the Caribbean Student Association and Black Student Union, she has served the Rollins community with great compassion while embodying the College’s mission to develop global citizens and responsible leaders. As she leaves Rollins and moves forward in STEM as a Black female, she is committed to breaking the barriers of underrepresentation and gender equity in this field.

Juan Cabrera

Juan Cabrera ’23
Theatre Major

A champion for marginalized voices, Juan Cabrera has been instrumental in the creation and implementation of the Department of Theatre’s anti-racist policy. He has consistently advocated for the continual development of the department in its efforts to create an environment where practices in the classroom and on stage represent and embrace the cultural diversity of our community. Most recently, Cabrera presented at Rollins’ Global Diversity Symposium on the dilemmas faced by actors of color when training and auditioning in an industry led by predominantly white directors and producers. Thanks to Cabrera’s passion and dedication, BIPOC students who study in the theatre and dance department will have a safer and healthier place to learn and thrive.

David Painter

Presidential Award for DEIB, Faculty

David Painter
Associate Professor of Communication

In his roles both on the Diversity Council and as a communication professor, David Painter exemplifies the values of this award through both service and scholarship. He contributed significantly to the success of the College’s first annual Global Diversity Symposium, which showcased the DEIB scholarship, research, and initiatives of the Rollins community. An area of focus for Painter is the representation of minorities in the media, so not only is he contributing to the College’s advancement of DEIB but also to our students’ growth and development on these issues, regularly infusing the principles of DEIB into his teaching, with a focus on applied learning and experiential education. Through his myriad relationships with local nonprofits, he helps organizations better achieve their missions while also giving students the opportunity to hone their communication skills in a real-world setting.

Stephanie Nieves

Presidential Award for DEIB, Staff

Stephanie Nieves
Digital Services Specialist, Olin Library

Since joining the Rollins community last spring, Stephanie Nieves has overseen the website, social media, and signage for Olin Library, a role in which she has increased social media engagement by over 35 percent. A significant driver of this boost in engagement has been a dedicated focus on more DEIB content that aligns with the College’s strategic goals and is meaningful and relevant to the library’s diverse audience—everything from topics related to censorship and women in STEM to disability empowerment and Black history.

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