UAA Diversity Action Council announces Student Diversity Award recipients
by Matt Jardin |
Each year, the UAA Diversity Action Council awards the Student Diversity Award Scholarship to students who significantly enhance diversity at UAA by increasing visibility of diverse people, cultures and/or perspectives; creating a welcoming environment; and/or representing diverse student voices through their advocacy and participation in UAA student organizations. The council picks the top applicants to receive a tuition grant up to $1,000.
A big congratulations to social work student Jay Greene for being one of this year's top four awardees!
Social work master’s student Jay Greene (pronouns: they/them, he/him) believes in system reform through policy, as evidenced in their work with UAA’s LGBTQIA2S+ Committee and Gender Inclusive Housing Committee.
"The 2016 change in federal administration had me focused on the trickle-down effects of policy," said Greene, citing Indigenous activists and the Black Lives Matter movement as catalysts for examining their own privilege. "I became more aware of how intersecting identities factor into how people access society's systems, like the legal or health care systems. I knew I had to begin using my privilege as a white, middle-class person to advocate for change."
As a teenager in the foster care and mental health systems, Greene describes having a lot of experience with social workers and behavioral health staff. However, one social worker in particular continues to stand out for being particularly discouraging — something Greene hopes to minimize in their career.
“I knew the impact those professionals made in my life and thought, ‘You know, I want to be a social worker and work to improve those systems.’ Because when I was in them, I experienced discrimination,” said Greene. “It is never OK to put a kid through that, especially when you know they're struggling in life, and I didn't want other kids or people to experience that.”