Students, faculty lauded at Evening of Black Excellence

From left to right: Blair Alyse Baker, Quinton Stroud, Nelson Zounlome, Dean Lemuel Watson, Dionne Danns, Sarah Lubienski, Kerrie Wilkins-Yel and Carl Darnell

School of Education students and faculty were well represented at this year’s Evening of Black Excellence. Themed “Black Oscars,” the event was organized by the Black Graduate Student Association as a way to honor achievements of faculty, staff, students and community members.

Nelson Zounlome, a fourth-year doctoral student in Counseling Psychology, was a recipient of the Leading the Way Award, given to those who illustrate personal commitment to diversity and inclusion leadership.

“I know there are a lot of amazing Black students in the School of Education doing great diversity and inclusion work, so I feel truly honored to be selected for this award,” Zounlome said. “Black students’ service work and accomplishments often go unrecognized. The Evening of Black Excellence is important as it highlights the multitude of amazing work these students do to uplift and advocate for communities of color on campus and in the larger Bloomington community.”

Kerrie Wilkins-Yel, an Assistant Professor in Counseling and Educational Psychology, won the Mentor of the Year Award, while Literacy, Culture, and Language Education Ph.D. student Simon Munyaneza was presented with the Timothy L. Womock Excellence and Service Award. Donte Miller, a Ph.D. student in Higher Education and Student Affairs, won Doctoral Student of the Year. 

Carl Darnell, Director of the Balfour Scholars Program, even had an award named after him – the Carl Darnell “For the Culture” Award honors a black staff member who has been politically engaged in social justice causes.