Inclusive Excellence Grants and Awards

LMU's University Intercultural Council (UIC) aims to identify and fund higher education research and inclusive excellence projects that help LMU achieve its mission by way of infusing diversity and interculturalism throughout the campus community.
UIC Membership includes staff and faculty who represent various departments and units across campus.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and LMU's UIC invites campus constituencies to submit proposals for Inclusive Excellence Grants. Inclusive excellence re-envisions both quality and diversity. It reflects a striving for excellence in higher education that has been made more inclusive by decades of campus and national work to infuse diversity into recruiting, admissions, and hiring; into the curriculum and co-curriculum; and into administrative structures and practices. It also embraces newer forms of excellence, and expanded ways to measure excellence, that take into account research on learning and brain functioning, the assessment movement, and more nuanced accountability structures. In the same way, diversity efforts move beyond numbers of students or programs as end goals.  Instead, diversity and inclusion together, become a multilayered process through which we achieve excellence in learning, research and teaching; student development; institutional functioning; local and global community engagement; workforce development, and more (Clayton-Pederson, O’Neill & Musil, 2009). 

Information about other internal grant opportunities can be found here.

Grants and Awards Offered:

  • The Project Grant is designed to: promote the development of new and sustainable recruitment, retention, and campus climate projects that help LMU achieve its mission and support the university’s inclusive excellence goals.

    To view LMU’s Strategic Plan, visit: 

    Members of the LMU campus community are welcome to apply. Proposals are sought from the following constituencies:

    1. Full-time Faculty
    2. Full-time Staff
    3. Institutional Departments or Units
    4. Student Organizations
      (must maintain at least 2 of the executive board members that were involved in the grant application process
      during the academic year the grant is awarded)
    5. Full-time Graduate Students (with the approval from their faculty advisor)
    6. Staff and Faculty Committees

    Faculty must be full-time tenured/tenure-track; staff must be full-time professional exempt or classified employees; full-time undergraduate students must apply through a student organization that is registered through the LMU Student Leadership and Development Office; full-time graduate students must obtain approval from their faculty  advisor; and staff and faculty committees must be associated with the University.

    Call for proposals - TBA


    In collaboration with the Offices of Undergraduate Education and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Arrupe Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award is reserved for a graduating senior who has shown a record of explicit work with DEI issues. The award is named in honor of Jesuit Superior General Father Pedro Arrupe, S.J., who worked tirelessly for the promotion of justice in the service of faith. The awardee is selected by the University Intercultural Council (UIC) who selects a student who demonstrates both robust academic achievement and outstanding DEI academic contributions.



    Elsie Mares


    Elsie Mares, a Political Science major and Economics minor, personifies the Arrupe DEI Award through her courses, research, work, service and professional goals. Elsie has taken courses within and outside of her major and minor that focus on privilege and civil rights. She attended and participated in learning opportunities surrounding social justice and anti-racism throughout her time as an undergraduate. Elsie’s research focused on access to resources for domestic violence varies for Latina and White women, especially focusing on the experiences of undocumented immigrant Latina women in rural communities. Since freshman year, Elsie has served as an Intercultural Facilitator, where she assisted in facilitating difficult conversations related to diversity, equity and inclusion. This role has also helped her grow as an anti-racist advocate. She plans to pursue advanced degrees in public policy and law, focusing on gendered violence and immigration law. Elsie writes, “My DEI goals are unique because they are intersectional, focusing on issues of race, gender, and class. As I pursue my goals in policy and law, I know I still have a lot of learning to do and intend to continue growing as an anti-racist advocate and leader. I am eager and prepared to continue being shaped by new knowledge while working to promote diversity and inclusion through policy and social change.” Through everything she does, Elsie embodies the Arrupe DEI Award!


    Forty-three applications were received for the inaugural Arrupe DEI Award. A number of the applications exemplified what the award represents. In addition to the recipient, the UIC and DEI want to honorably mention the following students for their DEI contributions.

    Alexis Harris (Women’s Studies) wrote about "The Health Risks of Incarceration: Focusing on Solitary Confinement" for her senior capstone. Alexis also researches and advocates for disability rights. She plans to pursue a Masters of Education in disability studies, to work both as a special education teacher and policy advocate.

    Amshu Medapa (Film and Television Production) notes that “liberal arts education has equipped me with the perfect combination of creative skills and abilities supported by strong academic theory and to allow [Amshu] to revolutionize content that is created and produced.” Amshu’s “long-term goal is to visually create stories and content through a feminist lens redefining the roles played by people of color, women, and individuals who identify as non-binary in film and TV.”

    Ashton Clopton (Journalism) states that “journalism is the tool in which I can actually create change” She explored notions of community by creating two podcasts that focused on hurricane victims in Honduras and the Black Lives Matter protests. As a journalist, she aims to continue highlighting voices of marginalized groups, including the indigenous community.

    Camille Grundy (Sociology) researched the challenges that older lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults experience when it comes to their mental and physical health through a lens higher education lens. Camille plans pursue an advanced degree in sociology to learn about “systems and cultures that uphold demeaning stereotypes, such as the beliefs we have about black people, the elderly, or LGBT members” to create a more inclusive world.

    Charlotte Cheng (Political Science major; Chemistry minor) “majored in Political Science to learn about health policy and what my patients would need as a future physician.” Charlotte plans to pursue a medical career to serve vulnerable communities that have limited access to quality healthcare.

    Ivonne Franco (Psychology major; Women & Gender Studies minor; Political Science minor) sought courses that would expose the reality of human treatment. In winter 2019, Ivonne participated in an Alternative Break that focused on immigration, a trip that transformed her vision for a future career. Ivonne plans to pursue a career in law to play a role in created social justice.

    Lauren Morrison (Psychology major; Bioethics minor) chose a major and minor “to broaden my understanding of ethics, justice, and health care through courses focusing on sociological theories around health, or the bioethical implications of health and justice.” Lauren also serves as community leader and liaison in the #BlackatLMU student movement, identifying challenges related to inclusion, representation, and equity within a higher education context. Lauren plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology and focus on the mental health of Black children.

    Lucie Everett (Modern Languages (Chinese & French) major; History minor) has chosen courses that focus on “understanding and uplifting all people, including those that have been marginalized historically and contemporarily.” Lucie has served as in intercultural facilitator where she leads workshops related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Lucie states, “Whether I choose to first pursue an advanced degree, or seek employment in the nonprofit sector, the Jesuit values instilled in me at LMU will guide me.”

    Lucile Njoo (Computer Science & Animation) noted, through her coursework, “the importance of representation in film and entertainment, and the need for a greater sensitivity to stereotypes perpetuated by media” and “the urgent need for fair, inclusive, and socially-conscious software in a world increasingly dominated by technology.” She plans to pursue a PhD in Artificial Intelligence in order to continue developing technologies that contribute to a more diverse, equitable world.

    Madison Davis (Biology & Psychology) states that involvement in numerous activities have exposed her to social issues such as inequity in access to education, and barriers faced by individuals from disadvantaged communities. In Madison’s roles as an EMT, “[Madison] spearheaded the integration of a cultural competency workshop into the standard training of the LMU Emergency Medical Services program where EMTs are educated on implicit bias and its impact on quality of treatment.” Madison plans to become a physician, with a background in public health to properly diagnose and treat patients.

    Marley Ralph (Communications major; Journalism minor) integrates the concept of ubuntu – a phrase from the Zulu tribe meaning “I am, because you are” – into all courses. Marley has been teaching donation-based yoga classes at Los Angeles High Memorial Park every Sunday since the Black Lives Matter protests in summer 2020. Marley, along with two cousins, created an organization called “WalkGoodLA, which provides these yoga classes, 5k runs, and town hall meetings for people of color.” Marley aims “to open yoga studios across the nation dedicated to the betterment of Black people and people of color.”

    Mikayla Gingrey (Screenwriting major; History and Political Science minors) serves as the student director of the Intercultural Facilitators program, which is “dedicated to building bridges between communities of differing backgrounds, creating a platform to promote social justice and fostering an environment where students, staff and faculty can both grow and heal together.” Mikala intends to address DEI related issues within Hollywood, as an aspiring screenwriter and filmmaker.

    Miriam Admasu (International Relations major; Health and Society minor) has done “work with the Black Political Science/International Relations Committee of #BlackatLMU and for [Miriam] sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, by way of the Tau Delta Chapter.” Miriam’s DEI related work has “allowed me to advocate for the Black community, which is important to me, but exposed me to many things ranging from research experience to the work of various activists and academics in Black politics.” Miriam plans to work in public health, with a focus on Black women.

    Sere Takenaka’s (Communication Studies major; Women’s and Gender Studies minor) “research [on second generation Japanese Americans] used Communication theories of assimilation, cultural convergence and intercultural adaptation to explain how the word Nisei, takes on not only the meaning of second generation Japanese American, but also encompasses a narrative of survival, language, and community as a means of preserving their Japanese identity.” Sere plans to become a professor and focus research on later generations, like sansei and Yonsei.

    Taylor Pajunen (Individualized Studies (Anti-racism work) and Spanish majors) started a white affinity group, Together as Effective AccoMplices (TEAM). Taylor states “I’m navigating what it means to actively de-centralize myself and whiteness, all the while just sitting down and thinking hard about what it means to be white within the whiteness of the world.” Taylor adds, “Though I’m not sure of my post-grad plans, I hope to work with organizations that are committed to community healing and abolition of the inherently oppressive systems that structure our society.

    William Oxley (Finance major; Psychology and Classics and Archaeology minors) wants “to decrease income inequality in America and developing countries. Poverty is single handedly the most damaging disease to human beings, directly correlated to more mental health problems, crime, and stress, than any other disease in the world.” William adds, While I am not set on any one [future] path, I know that I will use my DEI experiences and academic background at LMU to steer me the right way and help decrease income inequality.”

University Intercultural Council

Joe Bernardo
Associate, DEI & Adjunct Faculty

Marne Cambell
Professor/Dept Chair, African American Studies

Alice Martini Doyle
Assistant Director, Office for Research and Sponsored Projects

Kim Misa (Chair)
Research Associate, DEI

Steve Nygaard
Director, Housing

Carol Raby
Events Manager, Hannon Library

Cynthia Ruiz
Assistant Director, Office for Research and Sponsored Projects

Ani Shabazian
Professor/Director, School of Education/Children's Center

Heather Tarleton
Professor/Associate Dean, Health and Human Sciences/CSE

Mia Watson
Director, Academic Resource Center