Florida State University has announced the winners of the Latinx Distinguished Faculty and Staff Awards, an honor that recognizes faculty and staff members for their service and dedication to students and the Latinx community.
The Latinx Distinguished Service Awards are intended to celebrate pillars of the FSU community who demonstrate a commitment to fostering growth and diversity among the Latinx cultural identity through teaching, research and/or service. While the award is an honor, it also carries a $1,000 stipend for the recipient.
Winners of the 2021 awards include College of Nursing faculty member Eugenia Millender and two Division of Student Affairs staff members, Carlos Gomez and Charlotte Souffront-Garcia.
“The recipients of this year’s awards are doing innovative and impactful work to serve the FSU community as a whole and the Latinx community in particular,” said Sierra Turner, director of the Office of Student Equity and Inclusion. “They are utilizing best practices in their respective fields, and in some cases, creating best practices, to help foster an environment on campus that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Eugenia Millender is an associate professor at the FSU College of Nursing, where she also serves as the graduate coordinator for the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner certificate program. An indigenous Afro-Caribbean Latina nurse-scientist, Millender’s career has been dedicated to increasing mental health equity for vulnerable and underserved populations. Through her research and work, Millender explores ways to reduce mental health disparities that are the result of stress and trauma among indigenous and vulnerable populations. She works closely with community-based organizations and provides expertise in mood disorders, stress, trauma and substance abuse and how these are expressed through gene-environment interaction.
Carlos Gomez has served as director of Counseling and Psychological Services (formerly the University Counseling Center) since 2014. In this role, Gomez oversees the delivery of crucial mental health services, crisis management, outreach and programming to students. In addition to leading one of the top 20 counseling centers in the country, Gomez has proven to be a champion for student wellness across all divisions of FSU.
Charlotte Souffront-Garcia is the program director of Business Relationship Management and serves as the liaison between Information Technology Services (ITS) and the Division of Student Affairs. She’s responsible for building and maintaining relationships at both the tactical and strategic levels and facilitates decision-making to support ITS while also supporting initiatives related to student support and diversity, equity and inclusion. Souffront-Garcia has made it a priority to support students directly, and in summer 2020, she became the adviser to the Puerto Rican Student Association, providing both guidance and support for student efforts.
Gomez and Souffront-Garcia co-chaired a student life task force that was established by the Vice President for Student Affairs in response to events in 2020 that sparked a worldwide movement for racial justice. Task force co-chairs engaged students through meetings and discussions, often virtual, to develop practices effective in supporting and guiding students through challenging times.
Gomez and Souffront-Garcia also co-chaired the Hispanic/Latinx Student Life Task Force from November 2020 through February 2021, where they facilitated meetings with a group of 15 stakeholders that included undergraduate and graduate students, staff and alumni. The task force successfully developed a comprehensive list of recommendations and presented it to the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Student Affairs Leadership Team in April 2021.
For more information about the Latinx Distinguished Service Award, visit thecenter.fsu.edu.