JOHNSON CITY – Dr. Rosalind Gann and Veronica Limeberry, the 2012 winners of the Patricia E. Robertson Diversity Leadership Award at East Tennessee State University, will be honored during a reception and award presentation on Thursday, Nov. 15.
This free public event will be held from 3:30-5 p.m. in the East Tennessee Room on the third level of the D.P. Culp University Center.
Individuals chosen for the Robertson Award have demonstrated sustained commitment to diversity, education and/or social justice efforts; are outspoken advocates in the effort to combat bigotry, discrimination and oppression; and are either currently employed faculty or staff or currently enrolled students.
Gann, a specialist in literacy issues, is an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education. She began her career as a social worker with the Brooklyn Bureau of Child Welfare, where most of her clients were of African American or Hispanic heritage. Later, during her time in Cincinnati, she served as a classroom teacher and reading specialist who designed materials for at-risk populations.
By the time she came to ETSU in 2002, Gann had taught at Sabanci University in Istanbul, stirring her interest in international literacy issues. She then taught a course in Morristown that introduced her to the growing Hispanic population there, and she developed three consecutively-funded Tennessee Higher Education Commission grants to support the teachers and students who had captured her attention.
Gann’s focus on internationalism and literacy led her to accept an invitation to work in Nanjing, China, in 2006 as part of an English language training grant. In 2007, she served as project director for an English language immersion summer experience for faculty from North China University of Technology. Next came a faculty exchange in China as a summer lecturer over the last few years. Her China blog allows her to help ETSU’s students better understand Chinese language, culture and education through service.
In recognition of her work, Gann received ETSU’s 2012 Distinguished Faculty Award in Service.
Limeberry has held a graduate assistantship as program coordinator in Women’s Studies at ETSU for the past two years, organizing diversity and social justice events on campus and mentoring the undergraduate student workers in her office. She is also planning and will facilitate a staff retreat for the Women’s Studies student workers; advises the Women’s Studies honor society, Tri-Iota; and serves as a teaching assistant and substitute teacher in various courses within the program.
Last year, Limeberry won the first ETSU Feminist Activist Award for her campus, community and global activism. She is the founder of “Build It Up Tennessee,” which creates and implements programs, including fundraising projects and events, in support of “food justice” in the region. In 2009, she completed an environmental sustainability internship with noted ecological activist Dr. Vandana Shiva at Bija Vidyapeeth (Earth University), Dehra Dun, India. And, in the summer of 2011, she participated in a research travel trip called “Market Lives, Street Lives: Women’s Creative Resistance for Alternative Economic Production in Andean Peru.”
In the spring of 2012, Limeberry was one of 20 women students chosen from across the nation to participate in the Practicum on the Commission on the Status of Women, where she had an opportunity to observe how the United Nations works to address issues requiring multilateral engagement and coordinated action. During this trip, she advocated for rural women, networked with international organizations and planned a related civic engagement program that she could implement at ETSU.
Currently, Limeberry is writing her thesis, “Eating in Opposition: Strategies of Resistance through Food in the Lives of Andean and Appalachian Mountain Women,” which is the culmination of her academic and community engagement experiences while at ETSU.
For more information or special assistance for those with disabilities, call the ETSU Office of Equity and Diversity at (423) 439-4444.