The University of Wisconsin System selected University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Lori Kido Lopez as a winner of its 2023 Regents Diversity Awards.
Other award recipients include UW-Stout Professor Rickie-Ann Legleitner for her advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community and UW-Riverfall’s Upward Bound Program for their focus in preparing underrepresented groups for college.
According to the UW System’s Website, diversity award recipients are decided based on the impact they have on inclusion, diversity and equity at UW schools as well as their abilities to promote change on campus. Winners receive a $7,500 prize.
Lopez was selected for her research focused on how Asian American communities utilize media to promote social justice, advocacy for Ethnic Studies requirements and numerous other involvements.
She is also the director of the Asian American Studies program, co-chair of the College of Letters and Science Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and co-chair of the Campus Diversity and Climate Committee.
“I’m extremely honored to have won this award because I have so many colleagues across campus who are also doing incredible things to advance diversity, equity and inclusion,” Lopez said in an interview with the Daily Cardinal.
While Lopez was happy to receive this award, she was also persistent in noting that the progress made would not be possible without the help of others.
“No progress can be made in DEI efforts by yourself, this kind of work always demands extensive partnership and buy-in at every level,” Lopez said.
Lopez plans on using the UW System prize to "support [her] research on how Asian Americans are responding to the boom in media representation amidst the rise of anti-Asian violence.”
Ultimately, Lopez is most inspired by her passion for education and research’s role in society.
“Whether I am advocating to expand the ethnic studies requirement, strengthen support for [Asian Pacific Island Desi American] students, or hire more faculty of color, those efforts are all centered around the idea that what we teach and research is important,” Lopez said. “It’s so easy to get cynical and feel like nothing can change, but the reality is that if you look closer, there are so many improvements being made all the time.”