In 2013, the University of Michigan Women in Science and Engineering office established the annual Willie Hobbs Moore awards to honor faculty, staff, and students who demonstrate excellence promoting equity in science, technology, engineering, and math. U-M WISE celebrates outstanding advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM with four awards bestowed annually at the Willie Hobbs Moore award ceremony. The ceremony is named to honor the accomplishments of Willie Hobbs Moore, the first African American woman at Michigan to earn a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering and the first African American woman in the country to earn a PhD in physics.

Willie Hobbs Moore

Willie Hobbs Moore Achievement Award

Awarded to individuals whose achievements in STEM (e.g. academics, research, discovery, practice, etc.) are particularly inspirational in light of the challenges or roadblocks they have faced in their pursuit of a STEM degree and/or career.

Sister Mary Ambrosia Fitzgerald

Sister Mary Ambrosia Fitzgerald Mentoring Award

Awarded to individuals who have served as an exemplar of formal or informal mentorship of STEM students.

Claudia Joan Alexander

Claudia Joan Alexander Trailblazer Award

Awarded to an individual or team for the development or implementation of a program, innovation, or intervention (within the last 3 years) that supports equity in STEM at UM.

White woman wearing half frame glasses and fuchsia jacket
Cinda Sue Davis

Cinda Sue Davis STEM Equity Leadership Award

Awarded to an inclusive leader who has, throughout their time as a member of the University of Michigan community, worked consistently to make STEM an accessible and equitable path for learners from marginalized groups who want to pursue degrees and careers in science, engineering, or math.

These annual awards honor Wolverines who promote equity in STEM through scholarship, mentorship, innovation, or leadership.

2024 Winners

Willie Hobbs Moore Achievement Award

Roya Ensafi, Associate Professor, Computer Science Engineering

Ann Jeffers, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Cynthia Nunez, Graduate Student, Physics

Sister Mary Ambrosia Fitzgerald Mentoring Award

Debby Covington, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Equity Initiatives, Michigan Engineering

Yulia Hristova, Associate Professor, Mathematics and Statistics

Katie Emery, Graduate Student, Neuroscience

Claudia Joan Alexander Trailblazer Award

BME GAAP (Biomedical Engineering Graduate Application Assistance Program), Project team: Donia Ahmed, Kelly Crumley, Samantha Schwartz, Emily Thomas, Irene Zhang, Firaol Midekssa, Meagan Brucker-Hahn, Jyotirmoy Roy, Yuru Chen, Margaret Stanley, Karin Jensen

Tandem, Project team: Laura Alford, Jess Anders, Kate Barr, Caroline Carter, Anna Feeny, Robin Fowler, Kristen Greco, Ilkka Kuisma, Dennis O’Reilly, Stephanie Sheffield

Cinda Sue Davis STEM Equity Leadership Award

Tim McKay, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Physics, Astronomy, Education, and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education


Previous Winners

2023 Winners

Willie Hobbs Moore Achievement Award

Hafiz Sheriff, Graduate Student, Physics

Michele Appledorn, Graduate Student, Integrative Systems and Design

Sister Mary Ambrosia Fitzgerald Mentoring Award

Bahaar Chawla, Graduate Student, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Meera Kumar, Undergraduate Student, Computer Science

Claudia Joan Alexander Trailblazer Award

Alexa White, Graduate Student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

ROB102, Jana Pavlasek and Chad Jenkins, Robotics

Cinda Sue Davis STEM Equity Leadership Award

Susan Cheng, Staff, Mechanical Engineering

2022 Winners

Willie Hobbs Moore Achievement Award

Oluwami Dosunmu-Ogunbi, Graduate Student, Robotics

Lisa Walsh, Undergraduate Student, Neuroscience

Sister Mary Ambrosia Fitzgerald Mentoring Award

Joi-Lynn Mondisa, Faculty, Industrial and Operations Engineering

Mariam Mahmoud, Undergraduate student, Computer Science

Claudia Joan Alexander Trailblazer Award

commUNITY, Taylor Bramlett

ENGR 101, Laura Alford, James Juett, Laura Burdick, Blair Beuche, Heather Rypkema

Cinda Sue Davis STEM Equity Leadership Award

Debbie Taylor, Staff

2021 Winners

Willie Hobbs Moore Achievement Award 

Dr. Miki Banu, Research Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering 

Selected for her impressive work mentoring students in STEM, creation of the CO2 Neutral Research Group, and multidisciplinary research to solve urgent complex world problems such as achieving carbon neutrality and alleviating poverty. Her research combining plant biology, materials, and manufacturing has successfully demonstrated the potential to save millions of tons of CO2 emissions per year. Dr. Banu is a welcoming presence for all students, regardless of their underrepresented or majority status, discovering talents and skills of her students and guiding them to realize their potential. Her CO2 Neutral Research Group is a magnet and a home for students underrepresented in mechanical engineering, including women and Black students. Her students are pioneers in promoting social inclusion within undeveloped areas through manufacturing supply chains for advanced green products.

Aspire, Advance, and Achieve Mentoring Award    

Dr. Eleni Gourgou, Assistant Research Scientist, Mechanical Engineering

Selected for her support for the professional advancement of her many graduate and undergraduate student researchers and commitment to students underrepresented in STEM. Dr. Gourgou has mentored students from across the university (from CoE, LSA, Stamps, UMSI) with a variety of student research projects (wet lab, dry lab, art installation) and actively recruited students to pursue research (UROP, ME-RISE, directed studies, ME450, ISD503, ArtsEngine, FEAST/MDP, independent hiring, summer internships). Dr. Gourgou has mentored 50 graduate and undergraduate students as a faculty member at U-M, over half of which have identities underrepresented in STEM. Because of her outreach efforts and the fact that she really encourages students to participate in research dissemination activities, many of the students she supervised have received recognitions for their efforts, including local and national awards and scholarships.

Jule Schatz, PhD Candidate, Computer Science Engineering

Selected for her outstanding efforts to support undergraduate students in the major with a low proportion of women and commitment to precollege students in the community.  She is lead GSI for a section of the introductory computer science course that targets students in the Comprehensive Studies Program who historically haven’t felt as welcome in the computer science community. Jule goes above and beyond when helping her students and doesn’t only focus on the course content but also on helping students feel welcome by designing specific content to encourage a growth mindset and foster community. Jule also volunteers at a Detroit high school CS class and helps with summer educational outreach program AI4ALL.

Claudia Jones Alexander Trailblazer Award

Dr. Ariangela Kozik, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

Selected for her outstanding research and innovative work in the spirit of Alexander’s legacy of radical and fearless work for equity. Dr. Kozik combines translational research on the impact of the lung microbiome on health and disease with leadership of multi-disciplinary advocacy groups. She founded the Postdoctoral Family Association, advocating for and representing the needs of 60% of U-M postdocs, those with dependents. To further support postdocs, she serves on the COVID Disparities Research Committee and as the President of the Michigan Medicine Postdoc Senate. Her far-reaching impact extends to teaching bioinformatic skills with Software Carpentry, reviewing for SACNAS, and speaking for Skype a Scientist, the Association for Women in Science, and the NIH/SEPA Scientist Spotlight. In 2020, she co-founded the international Black in Microbiology Week, a vibrant celebration of Black microbiologists and needed platform for discussion and community building. After an overwhelming response, the Black in Microbiology community turned to promoting networking across career stages and sectors and equity in academe, industry, government, and beyond.

2020 Winners

Willie Hobbs Moore Achievement Award

Shanna Daly, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Co-Founder of the Center for Socially Engaged Design (CSED)

From a colleague: Professor Shanna Daly has made significant achievements in engineering research, education, and mentoring at Michigan. Her original scholarship, hybrid courses, and co-creation of the Center for Socially Engaged Design promote an engineering culture that clearly values, teaches, and rewards creativity. As a result, a diverse group of students – including women and students of color — feel connection and belonging within the field. This creative engineering culture fosters their engagement in engineering to solve important problems in the world. Dr. Daly is a tremendous role model who expands views of skills and careers in engineering, and promotes a more inclusive engagement for all students.

Bruna Menezes, PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering and President of the student club Movement of Underrepresented Sisters in Engineering and Science (MUSES)

From a staff mentor: Bruna Menendez has been an effective mentor and outstanding role model as the President of the Movement of Under-represented Sisters in Engineering and the Sciences (MUSES) as well as serving in many other student organizations. She has held her position as President since 2018. Her staunch, visionary approach has kept women focused on their academic paths and pushed them to kept moving toward their personal and professional goals. She does not view her service as a sacrifice. She views her service as a pleasure and a treasured responsibility. Her impact has included retention of students in a range of majors, forging of strong ties with peer-led organizations and the positioning of MUSES to prosper for the next twenty years.

Aspire, Advance, and Achieve Mentoring Award

Jessica Cote, PhD candidate in Neuroscience and Vice President of the Neuroscience Graduate Student Organization

From a mentor: Jessica Cote is always actively thinking about ways to improve the environment for graduate students. She identifies problems, figures out ways to improve things and implements potential solutions. She is extraordinarily conscientious, devoting a great deal of time to teaching her students research techniques and process, making certain they understand the science behind their projects, and career-advising. Her mentees have flourished, receiving competitive summer fellowships, desired research positions, co-authorship, high honors, and acceptances into highly competitive graduate programs.

Angela Violi, Professor of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering

From several of her students: Dr. Violi is not only an innovator in the combustion modeling field, but also a great mentor who gives her undergraduate and PhD students knowledge, insights, and directions. She shows tremendous care to her students and creates an atmosphere which always feels comfortable, welcomed, and inclusive.  While Dr. Violi’s range includes professor and scientist it also covers mentor and role model. She is a shining example of the best of us, demonstrating her dedication to students and education extends far outside the confines of lab and classroom, insofar as breaking down barriers for others like myself.

Claudia Jones Alexander Trailblazer Award

Brian Beckford, Research Scientist in Physics

From colleagues: Dr. Brian Beckford demonstrates exceptional dedication to mentoring and supporting students and young physicists. The efforts that Dr. Beckford has undertaken have been both through personal relationships with students as a mentor as well as through programs and other initiatives designed to support and mentor STEM students. He creates an open and welcoming environment for students of all backgrounds within the group and the department. For these students, the value of having a mentor who looks like them is extremely important as most undergraduate students in physics have never had a professor of color. It is clear that Dr. Beckford’s commitment to guiding these students on their paths to success has made a lasting impact.

2019 Winners

Claudia Jones Alexander Trailblazer Award

  • Dr. Anne J McNeil (Chemistry and Macromolecular Science and Engineering)
  • Dr. Anouck Girard (Aerospace Engineering)

Aspire, Advance and Achieve Mentoring Award

  • Cynthia Giffen (Comprehensive Studies Program)
  • Darryl Koch (COE)
  • Jill Harland (Chemistry)
  • Teanna Sims (Civil Engineering)

Willie Hobbs Moore Achievement Award

  • Dr. Susan Montgomery (Chemical Engineering)
  • Nisha Pillai (Computer Science)

2018 Winners

Claudia Jones Alexander Trailblazer Award

  • Dr. Sue Lepri (Climate and Space Sciences Engineering)
  • Dr. Allison Steiner (Climate and Space Sciences Engineering)

Aspire, Advance and Achieve Mentoring Award

  • Antara Afrin (Undergraduate Emergency Medicine and Transplant Surgery)
  • Dr. Joi Mondisa (Industrial and Operations Engineering)

Willie Hobbs Moore Achievement Award

  • Alvaro Malaga (Dentistry)
  • Aeriel Murphy (Materials Science and Engineering)
  • Amber Spears (Civil and Environmental Engineering)

2017 Winners

Claudia Jones Alexander Trailblazer Award

  • Kim Kearfott (Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Science, Biomedical Engineering, and Radiology)
  • Karen Smith (Mathematics)

Aspire, Advance and Achieve Mentoring Award

  • Mariel Lavieri (Industrial and Operations Engineering)
  • Quan Zhou (Biomedical Engineering)

Willie Hobbs Moore Achievement Award

  • Aisha Bowe (Space Systems Engineering)
  • Holly Turula (Immunology)

2016 Winners

Claudia Jones Alexander Trailblazer Award

  • Christian Greenhill (Materials Science)
  • Lauren Guerrido (Nuclear Engineering and Radiology)
  • Jasmine Jones (Information)

Aspire, Advance and Achieve Mentoring Award

  • Dr. Christin Carter-Su (Molecular and Integrative Physiology)
  • Dr. Jose Diaz (Vascular Surgery)
  • Stacy Ramcharan (Chemical Engineering)
  • Jenna Walrath (Physics)

2015 Winners

Claudia Jones Alexander Trailblazer Award

  • Julia Bourg (Biophysics)
  • Ariana Mirian (Computer Science Engineering)

Aspire, Advance and Achieve Mentoring Award

  • Dr. Aline Cotel (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
  • Dr. Avery Demond (Civil and Environmental Engineering)

2014 Winners

Claudia Jones Alexander Trailblazer Award

  • Jamie Sanderson (IOE)
  • Dawn Tilbury (Mechanical Engineering, EECS)

Aspire, Advance and Achieve Mentoring Award

  • Christine Aidala (Physics)
  • Aditi Rajajopal (Computer Engineering)
  • Jennifer Wegner (Engineering)

2013 Winners

Claudia Jones Alexander Trailblazer Award

  • Kyla McMullen

Aspire, Advance and Achieve Mentoring Award

  • Lorelle Meadows

Willie Hobbs Moore Awards Nominations FAQ

When will the winners be announced?

All nominees will be invited to attend the Willie Hobbs Moore Awards Dinner where we will announce the winners. The 2024 dinner will take place on Thursday, April 11th at 5:30pm in Ann Arbor. Registration is required and the deadline to RSVP is April 1st.

Do you accept self-nominations?

Self-nominations are permitted and encouraged.

Are there eligibility requirements or restrictions?

Nominees must be a current or aspiring (*this means students!) Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math scientist/professional.

Previous award winners are not eligible to win the same award twice. They may, however, qualify for a different award for a new achievement.

Is there only one winner for each award?

We want to honor achievements at all levels. Thus, the Willie Hobbs Moore Achievement Award, Sister Mary Ambrosia Fitzgerald Mentorship Award, and the Claudia Jones Alexander Trailblazer Awards may have an “early career” winner (for students or professionals just starting out in their STEM journey) and a “late career” winner (for seasoned professionals). We encourage you to nominate any current member of the UM community, student, faculty, or staff.

The Cinda Sue Davis STEM Equity Leadership Award will only have one winner.

Is the nomination form open to UM Dearborn and UM Flint?

Yes, we accept and look forward to nominations from all three University of Michigan campuses!

Do award winners receive a prize or scholarship?

The winners will receive a small gift of recognition. There is not a monetary prize or scholarship associated with the awards.

Should I submit letter of recommendation along with the nomination form?

No. The selection committee will review the brief statement written about the candidate (300 words or less) in the nomination form. This statement is your opportunity to explain why the nominee should be considered for the award. Please note that this field and the impact question are not visible on the form until after a specific award has been selected.

Willie Hobbs Moore Awards Ceremony FAQ

Who can attend the ceremony?

The ceremony is open to all who are passionate about promoting equity in STEM!

Is there a dress code for the ceremony?

There is no required dress code. Most guests choose to dress business casual for the event.

Do I need to RSVP?

Yes, please! If you are planning to attend the ceremony you should register here by April 1st. If it is past the deadline and you would like to attend, please email Rachel Barnes at [email protected].

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