EIS Recognition Week

Equity, Identity, & Success Recognition week is an opportunity to honor faculty and staff who are contributing to an affirming & welcoming community at Kent State. These individuals promote inclusion and student success for populations served by the Equity, Identity, & Success (EIS) pillar of the Division of Student Affairs.

The Equity, Identity, and Success pillar consists of: Center for Adult and Veteran Services, LGBTQ+ Center, Office of International Student Affairs, Student Accessibility Services, Student Multicultural Center, and Women’s Center.

The winners are nominated by students who feel their Kent State journey was positively impacted by removing barriers, providing a welcoming environment, and/or supporting their identity as a student of color, LGBTQ+ student, student with a disability, an adult or veteran student, an international student, and/or a woman or non-binary student.

Congratulations to our 2022 winners & nominees!

Sonya WilliamsSONYA WILLIAMS (she/her/hers)
Executive Director, University Outreach & Engagement

WHAT THEIR NOMINATORS HAD TO SAY: "For me, she has served as an advisor, mentor, friend, and motherly figure in so many different ways. Her genuine demeanor and warm personality has played a major role in my matriculation because she has always been an individual I could lean on for anything."

"Not only did Ms. Sonya guide me through college with resources, she was also there mentally to help me consider the different paths I could choose and ultimately being a trustworthy, loving person with open arms to talk to."

"Before stepping onto campus for the first time as a freshman, Sonya Williams had already changed my life. My college tuition had been paid in full by the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation Scholarship.
Ever since then, Sonya has helped make Kent a home during my time here."

"Sonya Williams undoubtedly does so much for this university. She has has done so much for [high school] students through Upward Bound."

Tasnim Al-Naimi HeadshotTASNIM AL-NAIMI (she/her/hers)
Doctoral Fellow of Translation Studies, Modern and Classical Languages

WHAT THEIR NOMINATOR HAD TO SAY: "As an international student myself, Professor Al-Naimi has been extremely helpful to make me feel at home at Kent State. With her passion inside the classroom, her amazing leadership in campus organizations (she is the President of the International Student Council), and her welcoming nature Professor Al-Naimi changed my life. I feel she actually cares about me and is helping everyone to improve each day. I hope I can find more professors like her!"

Ayham Abuzeid headshotAYHAM ABUZEID
Associate Lecturer and Student Advisor,   

WHAT THEIR NOMINATOR HAD TO SAY: "Mr. Abuzeid always takes the time to ask us how we are doing. Since day one he reminds us in class how to be confident in ourselves, our opinion, while he also encourages us to grow. Personally what makes me happy to be in his class everyday is that I never feel sorry for my accommodations in his class. Mr. Abuzeid tries to make it natural and enjoyable as possible. For example he will basically be a talk show host and carry around my phone recorder so I can hear everyone in class since I need to record the lecture due to my hearing loss. Even some of the shy people in class have started participating and I believe this is really reflective of his personality and ability as a teacher." 

Tricia Niesz headshotTRICIA NIESZ (she/her/hers)
Professor and Program Coordinator,   
School of Foundations, Leadership, and Administration, EHHS

WHAT THEIR NOMINATORS HAD TO SAY: As the coordinator for the Ed.D. program Dr. Niesz has been immensely supportive of me as a student. She is available to listen as I navigate the journey from coursework to dissertation. Further, she has advocated for me - and other students - as adult learners, helping our faculty recognize our converging lives as learners and employees in conjunction with our multiple other roles (family member, friend, etc.). She has focused on removing barriers as we (I) embark on the journey as part of the inaugural cohort in the Ed.D. program, educating our program members about the problems of practice and dissertation in practice, always taking care to ensure our feedback is heard and that we feel supported. Even as I continue to await my upcoming defense of my portfolio with anxiousness, I know I am OK because of her.

Lauren Vogel headshotLAUREN VOGEL (she/her/hers)
Associate Lecturer,

WHAT THEIR NOMINATOR HAD TO SAY: "Ms. Vogel teaches my honors colloquium class about social justice. She always includes topics that pertain to people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and religious groups. In each lesson, she makes sure that all of her students have a chance to express their feelings and help us have an open mind. She also highlights the importance of these groups and why we need to be learning about these topics. Ms. Vogel also makes sure that her students are comfortable in the classroom and give us an opportunity to voice our concerns. She is by far the most supportive professor I’ve ever had and I will be sad to leave her class at the end of the year."

Christina Collins headshotCHRISTINA COLLINS (she/her/hers)
Part-time Faculty,
School of Foundations, Leadership, and Administration, EHHS

WHAT THEIR NOMINATOR HAD TO SAY: "Christina Collins is an outstanding educator and person. As a disabled older learner, Dr. Collins recognized my situation in a welcoming way and pledged her support in any way she could help. During the first semester with Dr. Collins as my instructor, my health was stable. During my second semester with her however, my health took a significant turn for the worse and I considered dropping out of my doctoral program. Dr. Collins worked with me to help me complete the course, while at the same time respecting and supporting my identity as a disabled learner. Observing how she interacted will my fellow students, there is no question that Dr. Collins represents our inclusive ideals here at Kent State. At a university with world-class educators, Dr. Collins has distinguished herself through her unwavering commitment to all students."

Profile imageKRISTEN MARCUSSEN (she/her/hers)
Sociology, A&S

WHAT THEIR NOMINATOR HAD TO SAY: "Dr. Marcussen has been one of the primary reasons I have been able to succeed as a disabled graduate student. As my advisor and as a professor, Dr. Marcussen has worked with me to create a graduate experience that enabled me to fully participate. She always puts my unique needs and well-being above trying to put me into a “standard” box, whether in the classroom or in structuring my degree progress.  Without Dr. Marcussen’s constant support, flexibility, and willingness to work outside the box, I doubt I would have completed my Master’s thesis, let alone my doctoral dissertation, which I look forward to defending in Spring 2023! She has made all the difference in my ability to not just complete graduate school, but thrive in it."

Congratulations to our nominees!

Rebecca Basar
Loubna Bilali
Lo Denmon
Chi-Hua Groff
Shana Lee
Eileen Mlachak
Adam Nowicki
Cassie Pegg-Kirby
Sydney Rondeau
Adam Santavy
Anthony Tosi
Ikram Toumi
James Trombka