Onward Together!

Celebrating the 2023 Equity Champion Award Winners

We're celebrating these outstanding recipients of the 2021Equity Champion Awards to recognize the individuals and groups making significant contributions to inclusion at De Anza College and to advancing the college‚Äôs vision of equity, social justice and multicultural education.  

And the Winners Are ...

Student Award: Amrit Kaur Gill 

Amrit Kaur GillAmrit has been chair of Equity and Diversity for De Anza Student Government, where she has advocated for disabled students, created a more equitable and diverse senate, established student representative positions for student advocacy groups, and collaborated with HEFAS to advocate for undocumented students.

Outside of her work in DASG, she worked with VIDA to educate students about voting, organized the Student Voices United for Change conference, and worked to foster a campus community within the VIDA space.

Classified Professional Award: Bertha Sanchez

Bertha SanchezBertha is a veterans resource specialist in the Veteran Services office. She started her journey in education in 2002, working as a receptionist in post-secondary school, but she really her passion for helping students after she began working in De Anza's Financial Aid office in 2016. 

Her 14 years of experience in Financial Aid helped prepare Bertha for her current position in the Veteran Services office, where she has found gratitude and inspiration in helping Veteran Students.

Faculty Award: Cheryl Balm

Cheryl BalmCheryl is a Mathematics instructor and president of the Academic Senate. She grew up in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. After high school, she lived in North Carolina, Tennessee, New York, Texas, Illinois, Michigan and Kansas before settling in California in 2015.  

Cheryl earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Michigan State University.  She loves running (when not injured), hiking and generally being out in nature.

Administrator Award: Eric Mendoza

Eric MendozaEric is a longtime educator with 25 years of leadership experience in the California community college system. He has served as dean of Physical Education and Athletics at De Anza College since 2019.

In addition to serving on a number of campus and district committees, Mendoza created the Student-Athlete Advisory Council to give a voice to student-athletes and the Academic and Athletic Achievement Awards to celebrate their accomplishments. He continues to champion equity initiatives with colleagues in the division, including work related to FAST (Football Academic Success Team), Guided Pathways and Equity Gaps.

Eric is a member of the De Anza Latinx Association steering committee and the founder of the California Community College Athletic Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee (now named the Equity and Inclusion Committee). He is currently enrolled at Ferris State University, as part of the school's 12th cohort in the Doctorate in Community College Leadership  program.

Team Award: Social Sciences and Humanities Equity Core Team

  • Rich Booher
  • Laura Chin
  • Lori Clinchard
  • Steve Nava
  • Jim Nguyen
  • MyLinh Pham
  • Elvin Ramos
  • Ameeta Tiwana
  • Susan Thomas

SSH Equity TeamThe Social Sciences and Humanities Equity Core Team began organizing "Student Voices" events in 2015 to address safety and quality of teaching issues that were arising for students.

Team members found themselves strategizing with students on ways to improve the student to faculty and staff feedback loop towards equitable change.  Since then, the team has responded to issues that have come up from teaching modalities during the pandemic to mental health concerns. 

The team is indebted to Veronica Keiffer-Lewis, Carolyn Wilkins-Santos and Jim Nguyen for getting this work started.

Award Criteria

We recognize that there are multiple ways of demonstrating commitment to these values. The following are examples of ways that nominees may exemplify their commitment to equity:

  • Promoting a deeper understanding of equity by advancing best practices in their respective office or program
  • Exhibiting leadership qualities in their work through collaboration, courageous conversations, inclusion through an intersectional lens, and fosters accountability.
  • Prioritizes student needs and advocates for systemic and institutional change to address them to ensure equitable opportunities.
  • Serves as a creative and equity-minded decision-maker in the shared governance process
  • Fosters practices that help bridge the student equity gaps

The individual or team being nominated should also embody the spirit and principles reflected in the above criteria.

For more information, please contact Adriana Garcia at EquityOffice@deanza.edu or 408.864.5636.

Meet Last Year's Winners

Read all about our 2022 Equity Champion Award winners

Learn more about EAC

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