Five UNM faculty awarded the prestigious Frederick Douglass Award

Poster provided by: NM Black History Month Organizing Committee
Poster provided by: NM Black History Month Organizing Committee

Five faculty members who recently received tenure and professorships at UNM have been selected for 2019 Frederick Douglass Award.

The award was created in 2011 by members of the Albuquerque Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., in collaboration with NM Black History Organizing Committee.

The purpose of the award this year is to recognize the accomplishments of African American educators in New Mexico. The award ceremony took place March 2.

“The five recipients of the 2019 Frederick Douglass Award represent everything that Frederick Douglass stood for as a fierce advocate for individualism and freedom. Born a slave in 1818, Douglass escaped to freedom, taught himself to read and famously remarked, “Once you learn to read, you will really be free,” said Cathryn McGill, Founder/Director NM Black History Organizing Committee. 

“If history is accurately recorded, Frederick Douglass would be listed as important as the founding fathers of this nation. As one of America’s foremost intellectuals, Douglass set a high bar that withstands scrutiny today. If Douglass were alive today, he would be as proud as we are to bestow the award in his name to these five women whose intellectualism and passion for acquiring and disseminating knowledge makes them true education champions.”

Four of the five recipients this year are in STEM fields at UNM. The recipients are:

— Dr. Melanie Moses, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and associate professor in the Department of Biology. Moses research focuses on understanding complex biological systems including the adaptive immune system and ant colonies. Moses also focuses on understanding engineering systems, such as autonomous robots, according to her UNM faculty profile.

— Dr. Nancy López, a UNM professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology. Lopez directs and co founded the Institute for Study of “Race” and Social Justice and is the founding coordinator of the New Mexico Statewide Race,Gender,Class Data Policy consortium and is currently a UNM faculty senator and serves on the operations (executive) committee, according to her UNM faculty profile.

— Dr. Claudia B. Isaac, a professor at UNM in the School of Architecture and Planning. Isaac conducts community engaged scholarship and practice, that focuses on community education, local organization development, and scholarly civic engagement, according to her UNM faculty profile.
— Dr. Myra S. Washington, an associate professor at UNM in the Department of Communication and Journalism. Washington’s research interests include critical media,cultural studies, rhetoric and both Asian American and African American Studies. Washington’s work revolves around representations of race, gender and sexuality in popular culture, according to her UNM faculty profile.

— Dr. Sonia Gipson Rankin, an UNM assistant professor of Law from the School of Law. Rankin’s focus of teaching includes the fields of Torts, Constitutional Law, Family Law, and Race and the Law. Rankin research is focused on the law and its impact on the African American community particularly in the areas of technology, family dynamics, and race, according to her UNM faculty profile.

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