An instructor and professor from UW-Stout have been named special award recipients by the University of Wisconsin System and were honored at a ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 10, in Madison.
Senior Lecturer Alexandra Hall, M.D., is one of 12 honorees for the Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ+ People. Hall teaches in the biology department and is the prehealth pathway adviser for students in the applied biochemistry and molecular biology and applied science programs.
Professor Masako Onodera is one of 13 honorees of the Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award. Onodera teaches metals and contemporary art jewelry in the art and art history department in the School of Art and Design.
“We are delighted to celebrate the valuable contributions of Professor Onodera and Dr. Hall to UW-Stout and their work to help create a more inclusive learning environment for students, faculty, staff and the broader community,” said Chancellor Katherine Frank.
UW System universities submitted nominations for the annual awards.
Dr. P.B. Poorman Award
The Dr. P.B. Poorman Award is given to people in the LGBTQIA+ community who have helped to create a safer and more inclusive climate. It celebrates the memory and legacy of Paula B. Poorman, a faculty member at UW-Whitewater who dedicated her life to improving the lives of LGBTQIA+ people.
“Honorees are helping build a better experience for our students, faculty and staff,” said UW System President Jay Rothman. “This award recognizes their achievements in creating a safer and inclusive climate at our universities.”
Hall received the award for her contributions to LGBTQIA+ advocacy, activism and scholarship that enhances the experiences of and improves the climate for people.
“The work for LGBTQIA+ students that I am proudest of is my accomplishment of making transgender medical care available not only here at Stout but also at many of the other UW System campuses,” Hall said.
Before her arrival at UW-Stout in 2012, Hall trained the first physician to provide hormone therapy for transgender students at a student health center in the UW System. She was working at Cornell University in New York and trained Dr. Becky Byers, who was at UW-Madison at the time.
At UW-Stout, Hall trained and consulted with many other UW System student health center clinicians, mental health providers and student affairs personnel. She also held workshops and presentations at other campuses and for area community health care providers.
“I felt really fortunate to be supported by Stout in that work, and we created a good, integrated system here on campus to provide trans-inclusive health care,” Hall said.
When UW-Stout’s Student Health Services began its partnership with Prevea Health in January 2022, Hall no longer worked at student health but continued teaching in the biology department. Hall trained the university’s new provider, Physician Assistant Marissa Talmadge, so that Talmadge could continue to provide trans-inclusive health care on campus.
Hall feels that there is a misperception by many students that with her departure, student health no longer provides trans care. “That is entirely false,” she said. “I feel really proud that we were able to work together with Prevea to make sure that trans care remains available for students here.”
Hall also provides LGBT-inclusive health care in general, including PrEp for HIV prophylaxis and other services not commonly offered at Student Health Services. And among her many biology courses, she teaches Human Sexual Biology, where students learn the science behind sex, gender, sexual orientation and reproductive health content.
“I feel very honored to receive this award and find it a lovely end-note to the clinical chapter of my career here at Stout,” Hall said.
The Dr. P.B. Poorman Award was founded in 2008.
Outstanding Women of Color Award
The Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award has recognized more than 400 women of color for their transformational work since the award was founded in 1995.
The honor is given to faculty, staff, students or community members to recognize their achievements in advancing equity and inclusion for people of color within the UW System as well as communities across the state.
Onodera was awarded for her contributions to improving the status and climate for women and people of color and to advancing the work of diversity, equity and inclusion.
“I believe in the power of the act of making art and have taught it in and out of my classes for over 15 years. As a professor of art, it is a great honor to be named as an Outstanding Women of Color in Education,” Onodera said. “It sometimes feels as though art isn’t appreciated as a teaching subject in higher education. That makes this honor even more meaningful.
“Although I appreciate the recognition, I hope that women of color in education someday will not need to be given a special status in the UW System,” she added.
“The UW System has a longstanding commitment to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion at our universities," Rothman said. “We are proud to honor these women of color whose achievements in advocacy and scholarship have transformed our campuses and communities to be more equitable and inclusive.”
UW-Stout’s Focus2030 strategic plan includes five goals, including inclusive excellence by investing in, and ensuring access to, equitable, diverse and inclusive learning, student living and work environments that reflect the university’s regional and global connections; and fostering employee success through an equitable environment that invests in, supports, encourages and values diverse faculty and staff development opportunities.