Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity (SEED) Awards

The Office for Equity and Diversity’s Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity (SEED) Awards program honors and acknowledges diverse students who are doing outstanding work at the University of Minnesota, both in and out of the classroom.



(For the Graduate student application instead, click here)


We are honored to present the 2016 SEED Award Recipients:


Amy CoriaAMY CORIA s a junior at the University of Minnesota Morris campus, majoring in elementary education and Spanish. She is an advocate of bilingual education and increasing the the numbers of teachers of color in schools. Her interest in being a culturally relevant educator informs her volunteer work and leadership involvement on campus and in the broader Morris community. In addition to being involved with student groups like Voces Unidas and Education Minnesota, Amy volunteers as a tutor in an afterschool program at a nearby elementary school.










Aravind BoddupalliARAVIND BODDUPALLI is passionate about social justice and economic empowerment. As a senior studying political science and economics on the Twin Cities campus, he works to bring that passion into the many “brave spaces” he occupies: as a participant in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) studying religion and social welfare; as a Community Advisor in a campus residence hall; and as an active member of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee in the Minnesota Student Association. Aravind plans to apply his learning about equity and diversity to his future work in nonprofit management and international development.









Charlie JohnsonCHARLIE JOHNSON is a senior on the Duluth campus, majoring in Professional Writing and minoring in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies. Charlie juggles academics with three jobs: an internship with UMD Engineering Support Services, a graphic design and communication position at a local company, and a paid research position focused on Trans* Aging. As a writing student, their work focuses on the diverse LGBTQ community of Northern Minnesota, LGBTQ elders, intergenerational trauma, and transgender health care throughout the Northland. Charlie’s plans for the future are to attend graduate school in the Twin Cities Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies program.









Diego Garcia-HuidobroDIEGO GARCIA-HUIDOBRO earned his medical degree from School of Medicine at the Pontificia Universidad Catótica de Chile, and is now a Ph.D. candidate in family social science. He is motivated by the desire to develop and implement evidence-based interventions and strategies that reduce some of the existing health and other social inequities faced by underserved Latinx communities. Diego’s work has led him to the 2013 Summer Institute on Translational Health Disparities, as well as to collaborative work with the Aqui Para Ti [Here For You] clinic and to his efforts to provide free supervised counseling to Latinx individuals and families in the Phalen neighborhood of Saint Paul.









Lydia NegussieLYDIA NEGUSSIE is a senior studying the sociology of law, criminology and deviance. She applies the ideas from her classes to her extracurricular involvement as the Vice Chair on the Board of Directors for the University Student Legal Services. She is also a mentor in the Emerging Leaders in the Law program, which serves as both a source of community legal education and support for underrepresented students who would like to pursue a legal career. As a McNair Scholar, Lydia studied gender-based violence, and plans to become a law professor and a researcher who explores the intersectionality of crime, gender and the social constructs that reinforce racial inequality.









Nicole PalmerNICOLE PALMER is a senior on the Morris campus, studying Disability Issues & Advocacy and Community Engagement. Nicole’s choice of major reflects her involvement on campus and in the community. She’s been a mentor in the Big Friend Little Friend (BFLF) program, a member of the BFLF board, and now oversees the daily operations of the program. Nicole was selected to serve on a Technology, Access, & Instruction Task Force, and helped to assess the needs for changes in facilities, available technology, training on universal design instruction, and accessible web based material. She is driven, through all of her experiences, to help move disability needs out of the margins and into the center of societal awareness.










Nitya ChandiramaniNITYA CHANDIRAMANI is a senior at the Rochester campus studying health sciences. Her work experiences, coursework, and her passion for addressing health disparities led her to her current research endeavor -- working with a faculty member to identify health barriers faced by Latinx immigrants. Using an ethno-relative lens, Nitya is focused on doing research with and not merely on immigrant communities, and wants to develop with them about potential tools and interventions to close the health care experience gap. Above all, she wants to continue learning, researching, and innovating so that everyone can receive quality healthcare.









Patricia Columbus-PowersPATRICIA COLUMBUS-POWERS is pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree, and also holds both a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Leveraging her past experience in design and fabrication at a Fortune 100 company with her current MBA work, Patricia created the high-end fashion house Siobhan Powers to empower Native designers to end cultural appropriation of Native American culture in fashion, provide employment to Native felons, and promote healing and self-expression through the creation of art. She is a recipient of the Sands Fellowship for entrepreneurs and was awarded first place in the Acara Challenge, a competition for students with ideas for financially sustainable social ventures that address social and environmental challenges. 









Raven ZieglerRAVEN ZIEGLER studies political science and the sociology of law, criminology and deviance on the Twin Cities campus. A senior whose “success has been motivated by her struggles,” Raven’s activism and leadership spans the campus, the state and the globe, and includes her work as a Youth Development Center Tutor at Little Earth of United Tribes, her participation in the American Indian Student Cultural Center, and her engagement with Students for Social Justice and Law at the University of Cape Town. In her own words, Raven’s work “will continue to serve underrepresented populations and provide them with opportunities to help them implement instrumental change within their own communities.”









Raven ZieglerZINEB ALFATH is a senior on the Twin Cities campus, majoring in neuroscience and Spanish studies, and currently working on an honors thesis on the topic of healthcare disparities among underprivileged groups in Latin America. Zineb’s experiences have helped to inform her goal to pursue a career in preventive medicine and public health; for instance, she serves on the National Council of the UNICEF Campus Initiative, works as a clinical research associate at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital, and volunteers for Hennepin County Medical Center’s Sporty Saturdays program.