Harford Community College Announces Equity Award Winners

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Photo credit: Lauren Raygor, Harford Community College Harford Community College's Equity Awards for 2024 were presented to two Harford employees and a community member at the 2nd annual Equity Summit, "Standing Together: The Culture of Allyship." Pictured (L to R) with Dr. Theresa B. Felder, Harford Community College President, are Melissa Bodrick, Student Development Specialist, John Donahue, Associate Professor of Sociology; and community member DeLane Lewis, the winners of the 2024 Harford Community College Equity Award.
Photo credit: Lauren Raygor, Harford Community College Harford Community College’s Equity Awards for 2024 were presented to two Harford employees and a community member at the 2nd annual Equity Summit, “Standing Together: The Culture of Allyship.” Pictured (L to R) with Dr. Theresa B. Felder, Harford Community College President, are Melissa Bodrick, Student Development Specialist, John Donahue, Associate Professor of Sociology; and community member DeLane Lewis, the winners of the 2024 Harford Community College Equity Award.

The Diversity, Inclusion, Culture and Equity (DICE) Committee at Harford Community College announced the winners of the 2024 Harford Community College Equity Awards at its 2nd Harford Equity Summit, held on June 11. Equity Awards were presented to two Harford Community College employees, Melissa Bodrick, Student Development Specialist, and John Donahue, Associate Professor of Sociology, along with community member DeLane Lewis. 

Melissa Bodrick is an advisor for the Multicultural Student Association (MSA). She mentors students from the MSA and helps to promote its activities to the campus community to enhance student awareness and inclusion. She has also traveled with students as a chaperone on numerous trips and alternative service learning breaks with the College’s Student Life Office. Melissa is an enthusiastic equity ally whose positive spirit promotes diversity and inclusion in her work on and off campus.

John Donahue demonstrates a heart for diversity, equity, and inclusion by his leadership in the Rainbow Alliance, focus on service learning in a variety of environments, extra credit assignments to places like the Holocaust Museum, and integration of diverse people and cultural practices in curriculum. His teaching and assessment strategies promote inclusion and equity and create a classroom culture with an open and accepting environment. Professor Donahue presents information that may go against what a student previously believed but doesn’t require them to change their belief, but rather to consider the information and how it might impact others. His commitment to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion has been a hallmark of his time at Harford.

DeLane Lewis was a founding member of UCBPride, which began as an LGBTQIA+ festival that she and other community members launched on a tight timeline and budget. The 501(c)(4) organization evolved to offer scholarships, social opportunities, advocacy, and education. DeLane also founded the separate 501(c)(3) UCBPride Foundation that focuses on fundraising and education. Funding the upstart costs on her own, she initially served as president but recognized that the organization should be queer-led and now serves as vice president. As a fierce advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community, she attends Board of Education meetings and speaks against homophobic and transphobic policies. DeLane is a deeply kind person who makes you feel seen and heard.

“I want to congratulate all the recipients of the well-deserved awards presented during the Equity Summit. Your tireless passion and commitment to fostering an inclusive community are deeply appreciated. I was thrilled to see the outstanding attendance at the Equity Summit, one of the most significant events we host as a College community,” said Dr. Theresa B. Felder, President of Harford Community College.

The 2nd Harford Equity Summit, Standing Together: The Culture of Allyship, that took place on June 11 in the College’s Darlington Hall, was a well-attended day of discussion, reflection and action. It opened with an introduction by the Equity Summit Committee members:  Susan Muaddi Darraj, Associate Professor of English and award-winning author who has served on the DICE Committee for 12 years and as its chair for almost eight years; Suzanne Gallihue, Assistant Director of Financial Aid and member of the DICE and SafeZone Committees; and Sharoll Love, Student Diversity Specialist and member of the DICE Committe and co-chair of the SafeZone Committee.

Dr. Theresa Felder welcomed everyone to the summit. Following Dr. Felder’s remarks, Dr. Mejdulene Bernard Shomali, a queer Palestinian poet and associate professor in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a published author, gave a presentation.  Another presenter was Jeannie Gainsburg, an award-winning educational trainer and consultant in the field of LGBTQ+ inclusion and effective allyship and author of The Savvy Ally: A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ+ Advocate, the 2023-24 Book Club Selection by Harford’s DICE Committee. 

In addition to the presentations, there was a faculty/staff panel from Harford that included Dimetrios Jelen-Joy, Manager for Athletic Compliance & Eligibility and Men’s Head Basketball Coach; Jennifer Myers-Smith, Academic Success Coach; Dr. Kurt Doan, Special Assistant to the President and Board of Trustees and President of the Upper Chesapeake Bay Pride Foundation, who also serves on the Governor’s Commission for LGBTQIA+ Affairs; and Dr. Olivia Rines, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, a member of the SafeZone Committee and an advisor to the Rainbow Alliance student club. A panel of four Harford students was moderated by Suzanne Gallihue.

Harford Community College’s Equity and Inclusion Statement

As the anchor institution for higher education in Harford County, Harford Community College embraces equity and inclusion as guiding principles in our mission to best serve ALL of our students and ALL Harford County residents. Collectively, we benefit from the collaborative learning environment that is fostered when everyone’s unique voices and life experiences are welcomed, shared, and valued. Our policies, practices, and pedagogies are designed to create a pluralistic environment that is free from intolerance, that honors our College’s values, and that includes all voices and viewpoints. We believe that such a diverse, inclusive environment contributes to student success by providing equitable access to education and learning opportunities. It is our goal and responsibility to eradicate barriers to student success to ultimately ensure our students’ needs are addressed and positioned at the forefront of all that we do. Through education, awareness, and equity-mindedness, we empower members of our community to contribute to the advancement of social justice in our global society.

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