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College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Award

Nominations Deadline:  Jan. 31, 2025

The Saint Louis University College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate DEI Champion Award is given to recognize a graduating SLU senior in the college who has made significant contributions to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in areas including (but not limited to) race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, language, culture, national origins, religious commitments, age, disability status, political perspectives within the university and/or in the broader community in categories including (but not limited to) advocacy, activism, community engagement and/or research.

The recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Award will receive a cash award and recognition from the College of Arts and Sciences. 

We encourage interested students to self-nominate. Faculty, staff, or fellow students are also welcome to nominate a student who demonstrates outstanding work in diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Nominations are open through the award portal.

Nominate Yourself or Someone Else


Eligibility Requirements
Must be a current undergraduate CAS major and/or minor student on the St. Louis campus. Must be a senior who has completed 90 or more undergraduate credit hours by the time of application.
Application Requirements

Once the student has been nominated, the award subcommittee of the CAS DEI Committee will reach out to the nominees to acquire the following application packet components: 

  • A cover letter from the student nominee on why the CAS Undergraduate DEI Champion award should be awarded to them. The letter should highlight the various activities in relation to the award description and include information regarding DEI activities (i.e., doing what, where, and for how long). Ideally, the letter will specify distinct accomplishments in DEI-related activity and describe the impact that these activities have had on the university and/or community.
  • A reference letter from someone who can speak to the student's DEI work in support of their award application. This person of reference does not have to be affiliated with SLU and can be a member of the broader community. The student nominee should request the letter of reference be sent directly to the award subcommittee.
  • A current resume, portfolio, and/or supporting materials from the student that illustrate their DEI work.
2024 CAS Undergraduate DEI Champion Award Winners
Abigail Prible headshot

Abigail L. Prible

Abby Prible is a passionate and dedicated senior majoring in political science and international studies, with a minor in Spanish. During her time at SLU, Abby has been committed to furthering LGBTQ+ inclusion on campus. Her biggest achievement was starting the New Orleans LGBTQ+ Social Action Trip Program, through the Center for Social Action. She developed, planned and served as the student leader of this trip. During this trip students developed a sense of community with other queer students, and they were able to meet with activists and organizers in New Orleans to learn about intersectional issues that impact the LGBTQ+ community. Abby has also served on the executive board of Rainbow Alliance for three years as treasurer and the coordinator of Queer Closet, a space where students and community members can access gender-affirming clothing and items. She is also a student leader of IgnatianQ, a conference humanizing queer students and expressing the intersections of queerness and spirituality.

In Abby’s time at SLU, she has also been focused on the rights of the immigrant community. For three years, she’s been co-leader of the immigration policy pod. Through this role, she has hosted events to amplify immigrant voices, engaged in policy advocacy in Jefferson City, and hosted advocacy days on campus. Abby has also served as a student leader for the Mass at the Border Trip. Mass at the Border, sponsored by the Archdiocese of St. Louis, is a program where high school students are able to learn about injustices in the immigration system through a trip to the border.

In the future, Abby looks forward to attending law school and pursuing a career as an attorney. She is particularly interested in criminal law and immigration law. She hopes to continue to  advocate for DEI efforts through her career in law.

Anuj Gandhi headshot

Anuj Gandhi

Anuj Gandhi is an undergraduate senior majoring in psychology with a minor in biology. He has made a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout his undergraduate career by being an advocate for the Asian American community and a changemaker for student mental health along with raising awareness about mental health in marginalized communities. As the former co-director of We Are Saath - St. Louis, he helped organize the third and fourth annual Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American Mental Health Conferences which hosted panels, events and activities reclaiming Asian cultural practices for collective healing and cultivating discussion around the stigma of mental health. It was through this position that he began his larger mission in mental health advocacy. He served as the wellness chair for the Student Government Association and spearheaded the now-annual SLU Wellness Fair, which includes an array of activities and handouts related to wellness for students to enjoy as a break from studying for finals. He became further involved in developing and improving mental health resources for university students as a student representative on the JED Task Force. One notable project has been his capstone practicum project with the National Alliance on Mental Illness – St. Louis, which is a peer-to-peer mental health and well-being training designed for college students to learn mental health awareness, mental health awareness, coping skills, and peer support. He hopes to expand this training beyond the St. Louis area to create a larger network of peer support advocates, and he plans to start a non-profit surrounding this promising intervention.

In regard to his future, he has been named an alternate for the Fulbright-Nehru Student Research Grant, which recognizes his work in researching mental health in South Asian communities. He hopes to be promoted to finalist to conduct his independent research study in India, but if this is not the case, then he will continue to research interventions to uplift the mental health of marginalized communities.

2024 Honorable Mentions 
Hebron Bekele headshot

Hebron Bekele

Hebron Bekele, a computer science senior at Saint Louis University, has been committed to advancing DEI throughout her undergraduate career. Through academic engagement and community initiatives, she has fostered diversity and inclusion. As a researcher, she utilizes audio-machine learning to understand insect signals, advocating for equitable environmental policies. She volunteered at trauma hospitals in Ethiopia and co-founded the Ethiopian-Eritrean Student Association, supporting underrepresented groups. Hebron, an MLK Scholar and Taylor Geospatial Institute Diversity Fellow, is dedicated to social justice and increasing representation in geospatial fields. Her commitment to DEI is apparent through her various endeavors.

Margaret Cotner headshot

Margaret Cotner

Margaret Cotner is a senior at SLU graduating with a double major in theological studies and history. While at SLU, she has been committed to advocating for the LGBTQ+ community and for international students. She is involved with Campus Ministry as an undergraduate intern and helped to facilitate spaces where all identities are seen, listened to, and valued including at retreats, social gatherings, and at Masses. She is passionate about inclusion in religious spaces, and currently pursues research into LGBTQ+ responses to the Catholic Church, with the goal of implementing her research ministerially.

Shruti Punnachalil headshot

Shruti Punnachalil

During her time at SLU, Shruti made it a point to incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging into everything she accomplished. During her first year, Shruti chaired a committee to overhaul the Presidential Scholarship rubric and interview practices to reach low-income or minority students. She served as the second president of Audre Lorde Scholars, the only affinity space on campus for women of color. There, Shruti facilitated mentorship for the women in our group, community-building through social events and meaningful discussion in our weekly meetings. Currently, Shruti serves as the chair of the Diversity Leadership Cabinet under the Student Government Association where she revitalized “Oath Week” during Fall 2024 in celebration of the Oath of Inclusion. 

Sindhu Ragunathan headshot

Sindhu Ragunathan

Sindhu is a biology major and healthcare ethics minor with a passion for serving those in her community. She led the nonprofit mental health organization, We Are Saath (WAS – St. Louis Chapter) for two years as a co-president. There she worked to break down the stigma of mental health in South Asian communities and create safe spaces for discussion on allyship and connection. She also dedicates her time to the Adams Compassionate Healthcare Network which is a low-cost healthcare clinic that provides primarily for underserved communities. Sindhu works to reduce socioeconomic disparities by creating programs to make healthcare more accessible.

Laurine Shoki headshot

Laurine Shoki

Laurine Shoki, a senior majoring in biology and sociology at SLU from Jefferson City, Missouri, merges her East African roots and her studies to drive her passion for dismantling health disparities. As president of the African Students Association, she spearheads events that promote African culture. She volunteers at The Bomas of Thairu, an African cultural farm, where she leads discussions on medicine to improve health-literacy among African immigrants. She partnered with SLU medical students for a project on culturally informed healthcare in the St. Louis area. Her multifaceted DEI work promotes cultural understanding and empowers marginalized communities.

Cameron Wolfram headshot

Cameron Wolfram

Cameron is a graduating senior studying psychology and sociology with a minor in criminal justice. She is on the executive boards for Beyond Ability, Alpha Phi Sigma and Psi Chi in addition to volunteering and tutoring at Griscom Juvenile Detention Center. Cameron has dedicated herself to advocating for people with invisible illnesses, like herself, and understanding other marginalized and often ignored populations. She is also a research assistant for Liz Chiarello, Ph.D., who has challenged and supported her since 2021 in Chiarello’s lab studying the opioid crisis. Cameron is determined to further research in understanding marginalized populations and creating change.