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Awards Recognize Excellence in Public Engagement

by Maeve Reilly, UI News Bureau / Jun 5, 2023

Sara Benson, Tracy Dace, and Kevin Tan are 2023 Award Winners

Outstanding individual and group outreach efforts were recently recognized with the 2023 Campus Awards for Excellence in Public Engagement. The awards honor faculty and staff members, students, and community members who engage the public to address critical societal issues.

The recipients, as characterized by their nominators, are Tracy Dace, Kevin Tan, Sara Benson, and the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research.

Tracy Dace

Dace, the founder and chief executive officer of the Driven to Reach Excellence and Academic Achievement for Males Opportunity Center in Champaign and executive director of the Ujima Freedom School at Illinois, is the recipient of the Community Award for Excellence in Public Engagement. 

DREAAM is an early education intervention that promotes long-term educational pipelines through social emotional learning and STEM education opportunities available to community youth. The program partnered with units across the University of Illinois, including the College of Education, to create and implement the Ujima Freedom School at Illinois in conjunction with Champaign Unit 4 School District and the Office of Public Engagement, Office of the Chancellor. 

Dace mentored and supervised students in the School of Social Work and worked closely with engineering undergraduate and graduate students who participate in the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering outreach and public engagement program through the Grainger College of Engineering

Dace also led multiple focus groups that brought together public engagement specialists from across the university and the community to discuss ways to encourage more students from various racial and ethnic backgrounds to pursue STEM careers. In 2021-2022, Dace was a lead partner in the development of the Partnerships in Equity, Access, and Representation in STEM initiative funded by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Call to Action to Address Racism and Social Injustice grant.

Read more about the 2023 Excellence in Public Engagement award winners from the UI News Bureau...

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