UM Students Receive Awards for Promoting Campus Diversity

March 17, 2014

MISSOULA – The Diversity Advisory Council at the University of Montana will honor the winners of this year’s DAC Student Achievement Awards at a ceremony to be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, in the University Center’s North Ballroom.

The campus community is invited to attend the ceremony, which will kick off with a welcome from UM President Royce Engstrom. Eric Gutierrez, UM’s director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, will deliver opening comments which will be followed by the keynote address from Steven Hesla, UM music professor and recipient of the 2013 Nancy Borgmann Diversity Award.

In his address, Hesla will share his story of growing up a gay man and how his gift for music became a refuge and safe zone for his sexuality. He will share his story of being raised in rural South Dakota in a religious family, his college experience, the trials he faced as he entered into the profession of teaching and his passion for gay rights and legal protections for the LGBTIQ community.

Following Hesla’s address, awards will be given to UM students to honor their leadership in promoting campus diversity. Nominations for the awards were accepted through March 1. Associated Students of UM President Asa Hohman will introduce the award recipients and Engstrom will present the awards.

Nominees must have attended UM for one full academic semester during the 2013-14 academic year and be in good academic standing. Students may receive this recognition more than once. A DAC subcommittee reviewed all nominations and selected students most worthy of the award.

From managing the International House to raising awareness and funds for children’s health and wellbeing around the world to working with deaf people, this year’s awardees are being honored for a breadth of diversity activities.

The following students will receive awards at the ceremony:

  • Turki Ismail
  • Shane Bartschi
  • Umut Arslan
  • Mastewal Seyeneh
  • Toan Phung
  • Saeed Alsaiari
  • Chelsea Newberry
  • Dakota Whisler
  • Erika Baldry
  • Chantanelle Marie Nava (“Chani”)
  • Francisco MacFarland
  • Zebah Burdeau
  • Priscilla Lekalkuli
  • Neil Bennett
  • Lacey Kvam
  • Yibo Fan
  • Sachi Mahendri
  • Lauri L. Lindquist
  • Jessi Cahoon
  • Mohammed Khamis Abdullah
  • Farzona Shukurova
  • Kamalashri Easwara Murthi
  • Hanan Omar

For more information call Juana Alcala, UM Diversity Advisory Council member, at 406-243-2049 or email



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Contact: Juana Alcala, UM Diversity Advisory Council member, 406-243-2049,