DEI recognizes student leadership 

Liz Flatum said they were shocked when they got the email saying they’d won an award at the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Awards in the CSU Ballroom Tuesday. 

“I was really excited. I didn’t know what categories were for the awards. It was interesting,” said Flatum. “It was like, ‘What am I gonna get? What’s gonna happen?’” 

They won the Women in Action award for their work at the Women’s Center. This award is given to a student who strongly commits to intersectional leadership and service on campus. This student’s efforts are consistently aimed at uplifting and empowering all MSU students, regardless of gender or identity.

The award ceremony recognizes student leadership within the DEI programs. Megan Heutmaker, the director of American Indian Affairs, said it has been going on since she was a student in 2007. 

“I won the Dean’s Award, which is on my wall here. That was a big honor to win that award,” said Heutmaker. 

Heutmaker said the awards help recognize and appreciate students’ work over the academic year or their time in the program. 

“To help them feel special, empowered and emboldened to keep doing more work as they continue here at MSU if they’re a first, second-year or third-year student,” she said. “If they are about to graduate, it’s to remember to keep doing amazing work as they go out into the world and make a change at different institutions that they may be a part of as they go out in the real world.”

Heutmaker also said it is important to recognize these students because they are making MSU more supportive of DEI’s mission: to have a diverse campus where students, faculty and staff can be engaged and productive members of a global society. 

“It’s always important to recognize students who are doing amazing things on our campus and making things better, making things more helpful for students across the entire university,” said Heutmaker. “What we do here in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for students are things that all students have access to.” 

One of the many programs under DEI is Accessibility Resources. They help coordinate accommodations for students with disabilities and serve as a resource for faculty, staff and the university community to ensure everyone has equal access to education. 

Katelyn Walz is the vice president of the Neurodiversity Club, which helps people with neurodivergent disorders like ADHD, dyslexia or autism. She won the Student Leadership Award for Accessibility Resources. 

“Winning this award feels very rewarding. It is a nice physical symbol of what I’ve been able to do over the past couple of years,” said Walz. “And just really shows I have made at least a little bit of a difference.” 

There were 16 award categories in total, and two had multiple winners from different programs. Students can participate in DEI by walking in the door of any one of the programs. 

“We’re always excited for people to come be involved in any of the work we’re doing and to be a part of any of our student organizations. Any of the events that we have were always excited for any student who wants to come and be a part of our work. All it takes is you stepping forward,” said Heutmaker. 

Header photo: Pictured above are twins Winona Williams and Ayasha Williams and Megan Heutmaker. The trio took home the Outstanding Recognized Student Organization Award for their efforts in the Native American Student Association. (DAVIS JENSEN/The Reporter)

Write to Lauren Viska at

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