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2008.03.05 > For Immediate Release
contact: Becky Bohan Brown - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2243 - email: rbrown@mail.unomaha.edu

Six UNO Women of Color Award Recipients Honored at Sixth Annual Luncheon

Omaha - University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken and 420 luncheon participants congratulated the 2008 nominees and recipients of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Women of Color (WOC) Awards at the sixth annual luncheon.  Today's event, sponsored by UNO, State Farm Insurance, ConAgra Foods and a grant by the Nebraska Humanities Council, was held at the DC Centre.  Washington, D.C., strategist Esther Aguilera presented the 2008 luncheon keynote which addressed three themes of civic engagement, inclusion and advocacy. Voter registration was also available at the event.

The WOC Awards acknowledge outstanding contributions and leadership by women of color in the Omaha area.  Organizations and individuals were asked to nominate women of color for the awards in six categories: arts and humanities, business/entrepreneurship, community service, education, science and technology, and youth leadership.

"We are proud to provide an opportunity to recognize the achievements of this diverse group of women for their selfless contributions they make as role models, mentors and engaged leaders in the metropolitan community," said Sharon Ulmar, chairperson of the UNO WOC Awards Recognition Planning Committee and assistant to the chancellor in the UNO Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity.  "It is important that the diverse perspectives, insights and solutions of these outstanding women be highlighted and celebrated in an effort to encourage continued and future involvement of women of color."

The 2008 award winners are as follows:

Arts and Humanities - Mary J. Goodwin-Clinkscale

Dr. Goodwin-Clinkscale has been a humanitarian in the Omaha community for more than 33 years. She discovered her life's work while serving at the Greater Bethel Temple in Omaha.  "Dr. M.J.," as she is affectionately called by many of her mentees, received her Ph.D. in theology and a second Ph.D. in administration organization from the International Apostolic University of Grace and Truth in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Goodwin-Clinkscale received the United Way of the Midlands 2007 Leota G. Norton Community Service Award for establishing the Growing and Building Together Children's Academy (GBT) of the Arts.  GBT is a nonprofit child development center and preschool that seeks to develop the whole child.  She is passionate about fostering a new generation of future leaders and is dedicated to positively contributing to the well-being of the youth in the metropolitan community.

Business/Entrepreneurship - Jacqueline R. White

White has made significant contributions to Union Pacific Railroad by increasing the company's visibility within the Omaha community and with her recruiting efforts at historically black colleges and universities. White serves on the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters, where she is instrumental in fund development for such programs as Bowl for Kids Sake.  She is the driving force behind the development of the On Track Leadership Development Conference designed for high-potential students of Tuskegee University.  Through her dedication to diversity, White has effectively linked Union Pacific Railroad to Tuskegee by building partnerships that ensure Union Pacific becomes an employer of choice for people of color.  She is respected in the community as a visionary and credible role model for the growth and development of women and people of color.

Community Service - Paulette Dillon Gomez 

Dillon Gomez is the representative and coordinator of the Harambee Afrikan Cultural Organization, a program that strives to build bridges between the North Omaha Community and incarcerated men and women who have made positive changes in their lives during their incarceration.  She donates her time selflessly and is relentless in her efforts to advocate for those who have been or are incarcerated.  Dillon Gomez is a committed leader who many see as a role model for women of color and those who want to create positive changes in their life.

Education - Theresa Barron-McKeagney

Dr. Barron-McKeagney, Ph.D., is an outstanding leader who has improved the quality of life for women of color in the metropolitan area.  As the director of the UNO School of Social Work since 2004, she has created numerous internship opportunities for female students of color and secured funding for scholarships.  She is a mentor for the UNO Emerging Leaders Program and has served on the board of directors at the YWCA and Goodwill Industries.  Dr. Barron-McKeagney published her dissertation, "Telling Our Stories," about the lives of Midwestern Latina Women and received the YWCA Tribute to Women Award for Leadership and Education in 2005.  Dr. Barron-McKeagney has committed her life to creating inclusion and the advancement of people of color.  

Science and Technology - Ashira Jones

Jones graduated from UNO with a bachelor's degree in information management systems she works as a local area network engineer at INROADS, as well as serves as the president of the INROADS Alumnae Association.  She is committed to placing talented minority youth in business and industry internships that prepare them for the corporate and community leadership opportunities.  Jones is passionate about empowering students to achieve their professional, academic and personal goals, and is committed to community involvement.  She currently mentors a Sacred Heart Middle School student and volunteers at the Open Door Mission and Rebuilding Together Omaha.

Youth Leadership - Anayeli Martinez Real

Martinez Real is active on the UNO campus and in the metropolitan community.  She has been an academic trailblazer and, as the youngest daughter of immigrant parents, she is the first to attend college.  She is a role model not only for her siblings but to other young people of color in the Latino community.  She is pursuing a degree in construction engineering and has excelled academically in a challenging, male-dominated career field.  Martinez Real a Kiewit Scholarship and has been selected for a Kiewit internship.  She serves as the vice president of the UNO Student Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America.  Martinez Real is committed to the Latino community and is seen as a role model for young women of color who may not otherwise have considered a career in construction engineering.

Keynote Speaker - Esther Aguilera
- is president and CEO of Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI).  CHCI is a nonprofit and nonpartisan leadership development organization established in 1978.  The program opens doors for young Latinos and enables them to participate, hands-on, in the American policy-making process in Washington, D.C.  CHCI offers summer internships, fellowships and scholarships to Hispanic students.  Aguilera has held the position at CHCI since November 2004.  A native of the state of Jalisco in Mexico, she grew up in a poor Latino immigrant family.  Her Washington, D.C., career consists of serving as a policy analyst for the National Council of La Raza, executive director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, various positions at the Department of Energy and principal with the Dewey Square Group.  She holds a B.A. in public policy from Occidental College in Los Angeles.  Aguilera has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America, presented with Hispanic Magazine's 2006 Latina Excellence Award in Education and was featured in the Latino Leaders Magazine's 2007 women's issue for her positive impact in the Hispanic community.

For more information, visit the Web at http://www.unomaha.edu/woc or call (402) 554-2243.

***

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) will celebrate its 100th anniversary beginning Oct. 8, 2008.  This celebration will recognize the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community.  The centennial theme is "UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908."  This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come. http://music.unomaha.edu/jazz_festival.html

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