Student Named Outstanding Woman of Color

Nikki Shonoiki 020811-11Feb. 11, 2011—University of Wisconsin-River Falls student Nikki Shonoiki, a senior intercultural communication major from Minneapolis has been named a University of Wisconsin System Outstanding Woman of Color.

One recipient of the award is chosen from each UW System campus. Students, faculty, staff and community members can all be considered for the award.

Among Shonoiki’s vast list of leadership experiences are working as: the co-diversity programmer for UWRF’s Falcon Programs, a Young People For fellow with People For the American Way in Washington, D.C., an intern with the Women’s Economic Agenda Project in Oakland, Calif., and as the Diversity and Women's Initiatives Director on UWRF's Student Senate.

“I’m an idealistic person. I hope I’m leaving some ideas at UWRF for someone else to mold into something new,” notes Shonoiki. “You aren’t here just to go to class. Experience outside the classroom will develop your passion into concrete actions.”

Shonoiki was nominated for the award by Greta Gaard, associate professor of English whom Shonoiki works closely with. Shonoiki is a co-founder of the campus organization Rise Up For Women’s Rights, and Gaard is the group’s advisor.

“Over the years she has studied at UWRF, her leadership and vision have inspired others to take action for social and environmental justice,” wrote Gaard in her nomination letter. “UWRF has come alive with the vitality and leadership of Nikki.”

Shonoiki will formally receive her award at the annual Wisconsin Women’s Studies and LGBTQ conference, on March 26 at UW-Madison. Her father, step-mother, and a close friend will all accompany her to the ceremony.

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