Faculty member, graduate honored with Universities of Wisconsin awards

Duo recognized for their advocacy on behalf of others 

Nov. 10, 2023 - A University of Wisconsin-River Falls faculty member and a recent graduate of the university have been recognized among their peers statewide for their advocacy on behalf of underrepresented populations.

Youngmi Kim, associate professor of agricultural engineering and engineering technology, is one of 13 people among Universities of Wisconsin universities to receive the Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award. Linnea Milner, of Columbus, Ohio, who graduated in May with a psychology degree is among 13 recipients of the Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ+ People. She is currently studying for her master’s degree in psychology at the University of Minnesota. 

Youngmi Kim HeadshotAward winners from each of the Universities of Wisconsin 13 four-year campuses were recognized Thursday during a ceremony in Madison. 

Letters of support for Kim and Milner regarding their work on behalf of others noted their commitment to helping people and groups that are often overlooked along with their determination to enact positive change for others. 

At UW-River Falls, Kim has helped advance engineering studies in numerous ways and has helped recruit science students. She also has advocated for students of color and worked to help them feel more included on campus. 

As a person of color, Kim said she struggled when she began working at UWRF. But that sense of struggle transitioned to success as colleagues supported her, she said. 

“This award represents my resiliency, persistence, and perhaps most significantly the invaluable support I have received from my colleagues,” Kim said. “I feel deeply humbled and grateful to be the recipient of this honor.” 

While attending UW-River Falls, Milner was an outspoken advocate for various forms of social justice and worked to raise awareness of and support for the university’s LGBTQ+ community. As a resident assistant on a gender inclusive floor of a residence hall, Milner supported fellow students and worked to combat issues of misgendering and homophobia. Linnea Milner Headshot

She also sought to address instances of violence that LGBTQ+ people face and was involved with numerous efforts to improve student mental health, including leading Dan’s Bandana project which raises awareness and support for suicide prevention efforts among the LGBTQ+ community.

The Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ+ People honors the memory of UW-Whitewater faculty member Dr. Paula B. Poorman, who played an instrumental role in the foundation and development of LGBTQ+ inclusivity initiatives.

“Honorees are helping build a better experience for our students, faculty, and staff,” Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman said of the award recipients. “This award recognizes their achievements in creating a safer and inclusive climate at our universities.”

Photo 1: Youngmi Kim
Photo 2: Linnea Milner

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