Equity Champion Awards

feathers imageThe Equity Champions program was created to recognize and celebrate those who make significant contributions to inclusiveness at De Anza – and to advancing the college's vision of equity, social justice and multicultural education. The program is sponsored by the Equity Action Council, a shared-governance group at De Anza.

Five Categories!

Anyone can nominate someone on campus for an award. This year, awards will be given to one individual in each of the following categories, with a fifth award given for a team effort.

  • Student
  • Faculty member
  • Administrator
  • Classified professional (member of ACE, CSEA, POA or Teamsters)
  • Team

Here are the Winners!

 These individuals or teams demonstrate their commitment to equity. in the following ways

  • Equity Champion AwardPromoting a deeper understanding of equity by advancing best practices in their office or program
  • Showing leadership through collaboration, courageous conversations, inclusion through an intersectional lens and fostering accountability
  • Prioritizing student needs, while advocating for systemic and institutional change to address those needs and ensure equitable opportunities
  • Acting as a creative and equity-minded decision maker in the shared governance process
  • Fostering practices that help bridge student equity gaps

"Carolyn advocates and supports equity on all occasions: inspires the CAR project, Carolyn inspires the CAR project - inviting faculty to research pedagogy about equity, and / or people of color's achievements so students can identify. She promotes NCORE, and equity for online courses, and [supports] the men of color communities."

Carolyn holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Texas, Austin and a Master of Arts in Social Foundations of Education with emphasis in Cultural Pluralism from Stanford University.  In addition, she spent one year at the University of California, Berkeley studying Educational Administration and Policy, Organizational Theory, and Urban Education. She began her teaching career in higher education at Santa Clara University.  While teaching at Santa Clara in Ethnic Studies, she was appointed Director of the university’s Race Desegregation Training Institute funded by a U.S. Department of Education grant for the design and delivery of training to Santa Clara and San Mateo County superintendents, principals, counselors, teachers and students in multicultural curriculum, counseling and school climate.

In the early ‘90s, she taught multicultural curriculum and instruction to graduate students at Stanford University in the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) and directed a multicultural education lecture series for Mellon Fellows in STEP funded by the Mellon Foundation. Before coming to De Anza, Carolyn worked as an Account Executive for Genigraphics Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Electric, and an Account and Marketing Representative for Xerox Corporation, both in Silicon Valley.

She has been at De Anza College full-time since December 1989 where she served as Affirmative Action Leadership Chair for three and a half years and as faculty in the Intercultural/International Studies Division twelve years.  Working across campus in a variety of settings, she has been Vice President of Academic Senate, Co-chair of the Instructional Planning and Budget Team (IPBT), a member of College Council, General Education Review and the Curriculum Committee. For the past seventeen years, she has served as Dean of Social Sciences and Humanities with direct responsibility for nine departments, three career and technical education programs and the California History Center.

To promote student success and student equity at De Anza College, she designed Math Performance Success (MPS) and Conversation-Application-Reflection (C.A.R.).  As a fundraiser for the California History Center, she started “A Taste of History,” which now includes the Euphrat Museum as a beneficiary of the event. She has one son in southern California, a songwriter and founder of Common Objects, LLC, a commercial music company.

brenda carrillo 2

"Brenda inspires me because she is so passionate to make a difference for others ... She is an inspiration to many students and to me because she continues to strive to make this world a better place for others. She is empathetic to everyone and makes a real connection with people, then includes their needs in the events she hosts ..."Brenda is considerate of everyone's needs and provides a safe space where everyone can be in their full humanity."

Brenda Carrillo is a 23 year old aspiring artist, psychology major, working towards being an expressive art therapist; Their dream is to be able to combine their passion for art, social justice and mental health awareness in their future career to help as many people as they can feel less alone in the world.

          mari tapia                                                              

"Mari inspires me personally with her fighting spirit. She is extremely resilient and funny and compassionate and thoughtful, which means that when the battle gets tough, she keeps going ... Her curriculum in sociology also reflects back to students that people like them are sociologists, as well as relating to the challenges and struggles our students face in their own lives ... Mari knows how to bring people into the conversation ... I have attended many meetings she has led and uses strong communication in which everyone's voice is heard"

Maristella Huerta Tapia also known as “Mari” has been teaching sociology full-time with the Foothill De Anza district since 2004. She was born and raised in the Windmill Springs neighborhood of East San Jose along with her three siblings and hard-working, loving parents. The conditions of her neighborhood inspired early involvement in community organizing with People Acting in a Community Together (PACT) as a youth organizer, and she continued organizing with PACT into adulthood, working on campaigns such as the small schools initiative, affordable housing, restorative justice in public schools, and sanctuary policy in Santa Clara county.  Mari holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology and a graduate degree in Ethnic Studies, both from the University of California Berkeley. A former student at De Anza College, Mari feels fortunate to be able to return to her educational roots and play a role in building student leadership and ushering in the next generation of scholars of color.

 erika flores

"Erika really inspires me to want to help those students in need and to keep looking into finding resources for them. She is always trying to find new resources to bring to campus ... All of these services are available thanks to Erika and her hard work. She has made it easier on students to get the help they need ... Erika has dedicated her time and passion for helping others to the point of improving and expanding the services. She is creating a way for people to have food that they did not have before"

Erika Flores has worked with high school and college students for over decade. She served as program coordinator for a college access program in San Francisco for over four years supporting first-generation college-bound students of color pursuing STEM careers. Now at De Anza College, she continues to support student achievement as the Student Success Program coordinator. Erika holds a Master of Science degree in Justice Studies from San Jose State University.


"I have witnessed many occasions when people at that desk have welcomed students and visitors to the campus. The people at the front desk inspire me for their efforts to solve the problems of food insecurity that many people at De Anza face ... Mary Medrano, the division assistant of IIS, is the anchor, but there are several students who also often sit at the desk ... On a typical day, people at the front desk will direct newcomers to the campus to Registration and Student Services, inform them about how to avoid getting a parking ticket, and near the beginning of each quarter they often give directions about where classes are or how to contact a professor or counselor to help with registration. The activity area and the conference room are popular locations for clubs to meet, for workshops, and for students to study and hang out. Crucially, the building also contains one of the few gender-neutral bathrooms on campus."

The MCC department team is made up of Mary Medrano, Khristal Campos and Ana-María Vázquez Carrillo.

The Equity Action Council is a shared-governance body that helps facilitate campuswide development and support, engagement and implementation of programs, evaluations, policies and procedures that are in line with De Anza College's vision of equity, social justice and multicultural education. The council helps meet the goals and objectives of equity at De Anza and, in particular, the Equity Office. 

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