Brenda Dao, a Graduate Assistant at the Women’s Resource Center, is the 2016 Pursuit of Inclusion Student Award recipient. She is being recognized for her work in “cultivating an environment that embraces and promotes a broad scope of diversity through collaboratively creating and carrying out diversity trainings.” As described by her peer, she is “a change agent” who is “a tireless activist and advocate for students of color."
In her understanding that diversity begins at multiple levels including the individual, institutional, and societal; Brenda is “attentive not only to issues surrounding Asian American and Pacific Islanders, but also to other communities of color” who have been historically marginalized.
Locally, she has been active in different educational contexts, providing workshops for underrepresented students in middle school, from grades 6 up to high school in grade 12. She focuses on issues of access to higher education, while centering the idea of empowerment through the avenue of education.
On the national scene, Brenda continually expands her understanding of diversity through her service with the NASPA Asian Pacific Islander Knowledge Community and has successfully been accepted to present at the 2017 NASPA National Conference. She has presented at NASPA Western Regional Conferences and has served in many roles with the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program, where she routinely seeks to apply a critical lens and think of meaningful ways to create a safe and welcoming environment for all.