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The Southern Association of Allied Health Deans (SAAHD) has awarded its inaugural Student Leadership, Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Award to Julia Yi, a PhD student in the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences. The award recognizes students pursuing a degree in a health science profession who demonstrate leadership and promotion of diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Julia Yi with Stephen Hooper and Brenda Mitchell.
Julia Yi with Stephen Hooper and Brenda Mitchell.

Yi is interested in language and literacy, particularly as it pertains to closing the achievement gap and is mentored by Karen Erickson, the director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies in the Department of Allied Health Sciences.

“It is truly an honor to be the first recipient of this award, both as a minority and a speech language researcher who wants to continue working for culturally and linguistically diverse and underserved communities,” Yi said. “I am proud to be at a university that is part of a network of schools that acknowledges diversity, inclusion, and equity in this way.”

Stephen Hooper, chair of the department and associate dean of medicine echoed this sentiment said Yi is deserving of this award. “We are extremely proud of Julia for her heartfelt application to this competition and her dedication to serving culturally and linguistically diverse communities,” Hooper said.

Yi was one of three graduate students selected from a highly competitive field of nominees from the 20 schools/programs representing the SAAHD. The SAAHD also selected one undergraduate student for this $1,000 award.

The division is housed in the Department of Allied Health Sciences. Erickson, PhD, is the David E. & Dolores (Dee) Yoder Distinguished Professor of Literacy and Disability Studies. Hooper, PhD, has served as associate dean and chair since 2013.