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RIC's Kessler, Pittman honored for winning Kingston-Mann Awards

Photo (l-r) Associate Professor Maria Lawrence, Assistant Professor Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur, award winner Julie Kessler,  RIC President Nancy Carriuolo, award winner Jamilah Pittman and Assistant Professor Gerri August

Photo (l-r) Associate Professor Maria Lawrence, Assistant Professor Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur, award winner Julie Kessler, RIC President Nancy Carriuolo, award winner Jamilah Pittman and Assistant Professor Gerri August

Rhode Island College students Julie Kessler and Jamilah Pittman were recently honored for winning Kingston-Mann Student Achievement Awards for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship.

The awards are named for Esther Kingston-Mann, former director of UMass Boston’s Center for Innovative Teaching and founding director of the New England Center for Inclusive Teaching.

The awards “acknowledge the work of students who make a valuable contribution to diversity and inclusion scholarship by expanding our understanding of ideas and experiences that have not always been acknowledged or recognized by traditional disciplines,” according to the program’s website.

Kessler and Pittman were among nearly 30 students from several colleges throughout New England who competed for the 2012 awards. They were among seven students chosen for cash awards up to $300.

The awards were announced in November, and Rhode Island College President Nancy Carriuolo recently honored Kessler and Pittman during a small ceremony on campus.

Kessler, a senior sociology major with minors in creative writing and gender and women’s studies, wrote an essay called “What’s in a Constitution? The Act of Covering in United States Society.”  It focuses on the gap between the Constitution’s alleged social justice and the experiences of non-dominant groups. Her essay also reports on the growth of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and classism in spite of the Constitution and why members of non-dominant groups are forced to hide their differences.

Pittman, a senior majoring in management and social work, were among seven award winners from throughout New England, submitted an essay called “Biracial Identity Development and Online Communities.” It presents original research of how mixed race people describe themselves online and reports on the meanings attached to these descriptions. Pittman hopes to conduct further research on family and peer influences on biracial identity formation.

Each was praised during the ceremony “for representing Rhode Island College with such scholarly distinction.”

For students interested in participating, the submission deadlines for this year’s awards are May 25 and Dec. 30, 2013. Click here for more information on Kingston-Mann Awards or contact patricia.peterson@umb.edu