CET award recipients show commitment to diversity

May 9, 2011

A demonstrated, continuous commitment to promoting cultural diversity has earned several faculty, staff and students at ASU’s West campus recognition from the Campus Environment Team. The CET on the West campus awarded its 2011 Excellence in Diversity Awards to Omayra Ortega (faculty), Bobbi Magdaleno (staff/administrator), Bruce Bale (student), Natalie Ohannessian (community servant), and the M.A. program in social justice and human rights (group).

“All of the nominees were extremely deserving, so it wasn’t easy to choose the recipients,” said Margot Monroe, West campus CET chair. “Each nominee models the type of behavior that promotes a positive, welcoming atmosphere on the West campus.” Download Full Image

Ortega, a faculty member in New College’s Division of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, served as chair of the MLK Planning Committee at West, coordinating the highly successful “March on West” event that brought 1,200 students from local middle schools to campus for the annual “I Have a Dream” speech reenactment. Her numerous other activities include serving as faculty mentor of the Black Students Association and mentoring student clubs including the Hispanic Honor Society, Black Student Union, and the Axe Capoeira at ASU, a group performing Brazilian martial arts, music and dance. Ortega is described as an individual who truly models respectful treatment of all individuals in her daily interactions with students, fellow faculty, staff and community partners.

Magdaleno, director of community relations in Public Affairs, received a special unanimous nomination from the CET committee. The committee cited her tireless work as an advocate of all West campus cultural programs. “Bobbi is a constant supporter, and is first to see and voice the value in working with a very diverse group of individuals across several cultural committees,” Monroe said. “Campus committees such as Native American, Hispanic, MLK Planning and the Black History Month Committee all know the value of her commitment to keeping the tenets of valuing diversity live and well on the campus. She also works hard to ensure there is a connection that keeps the West campus on the forefront of community visibility and participation.”

Bale received the student award for his regular support and promotion of campus and community cultural diversity and awareness. Bale volunteers for student and special interest group causes, and meets and befriends people of all cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds. He is described as relishing the opportunity to learn about any cultural different from his own, and has made a point of promoting awareness of different cultures in and around campus.  Recently Bale volunteered for a program called “Meals for Vegans,” which advocates and lobbies for greater vegan awareness and accessibility of vegan meals, although he is not a vegan himself.

Ohannessian is a community member who serves as advisor to the Teachers of the Future student organization. She has lent her assistance to several events at the West campus, including Winter Warmth, Book Bash and Fairy Godmothers, an event that collects prom dresses for girls who cannot afford them. Ohannessian is described as a kind-hearted individual who always puts others of all ethnic backgrounds before herself.

The faculty, students and staff associated with the master’s program in social justice and human rights received the group award for their success in fostering and enhancing diversity and justice. Founding faculty identified a need for a program of study focused on social change, including improving the status of marginalized peoples at all levels from the local to the institutional to global. From its outset the program has emphasized diversity, with a focus on women’s empowerment, outreach efforts, and activities on campus. The MASJHR program evolved out of the first-ever Border Justice event at ASU, which focused on femicides in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Since then the program’s major focus is on courses in transnational feminism, human trafficking, and sexual violence again migrant women.

Along with the award recipients, additional individuals and groups were nominated this year for the CET Excellence in Diversity Award in recognition for their commitment to the support and promotion of cultural diversity. Nominees included faculty members Akua Duku Anokye and Bel Winemiller and groups Kappa Delta Pi and Teachers of the Future.

CET is an advisory group to the Provost that promotes a positive, harmonious campus environment that celebrates individual and group diversity, promotes individualism, provides information to the campus community, and resolves issues in such a manner as to respect all people and their dignity.

For more information about CET at the West campus, contact Margot Monroe at (602) 543-8407 or margot.monroe">mailto:margot.monroe@asu.edu">margot.monroe@asu.edu.

Father-son duo compete for grades but help each other reach a goal

May 9, 2011

It was exciting when Anthony Vito Badalamenti and his father Anthony (Tony) first started going to ASU together, both taking classes in the College of Technology and Innovation. Then it became somewhat nerve wracking, as the grade competition began.

Both are thrilled to be graduating together, however, having survived job losses and cutbacks – as well as a heavy travel schedule, for Tony – to achieve their degrees at the same time. Download Full Image

Anthony Vito, 22, is graduating with a bachelor of science in engineering, and his father will receive a bachelor of applied science in operations management. The elder Badalamenti, 48, is graduating cum laude, barely edging out his son.

“At first it was exciting, but later down the road it became kind of stressful,” says Anthony Vito. “For instance, now I needed to graduate on time (in four years) to graduate with my dad. But luckily, we both made it.”

Sophomore year was particularly challenging, since he was taking 19 credit hours at a time and searching for work after his employer had closed down. His father also faced extra hurdles, job losses and a work schedule that took him out of town three to four days a week.

“It’s been a difficult four years for all of us,” says Tony. “I work as a regional sales manager in the building industry, and my territory is the west coast. I lost my job twice due to the economic conditions and cutbacks. But despite it all, I have continued to work in my field while attending school.”

Having always tried to teach his son the value of an education, he enrolled at ASU because he felt he had to practice what he preached. The first two semesters were the most difficult, because he had been out of school for more than 25 years.

“Doing everything from a hotel room at 9 p.m., away from the classroom setting, I couldn’t ask anyone for help or advice,” he says. “I actually did more work than I should have, and then ended up with C’s. Once I was in the groove and understood the syllabus, it was A’s from there.”

The two never had any classes together, but Anthony Vito helped his father by tutoring him in physics, algebra and calculus.

“It was a weird position for me, being the teacher and my dad learning from me, instead of the other way around,” says the son.

Anthony Vito, who used to build his own computers in high school, has been working for the University Technology Office for two years. He hopes to work in the solar industry or in computers. His stepmother, Liz Badalamenti, a nurse with the ASU Employee Wellness Program, is especially proud of both of them.

Both men plan to enter a master’s program after a short break.

Sarah Auffret
Media Relations

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering