Pay It Forward Diversity Awards at Champlain College

The Champlain College Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) has announced the latest round of it "Pay It Forward" award winners. Launched in the fall of 2011, the Pay It Forward awards recognizes excellence in the four dimensions of Champlain's diversity and inclusion framework: Access and Success, Climate and Intergroup Relations, Education and Scholarship and Institutional Viability and Vitality.

It is recognition with a twist, according to Ame Lambert, director of ODI. The award recipient is expected to then find someone else doing great diversity and inclusion work, preferably in the dimension they were recognized for, and pass along the award to them. "These awards allow multiple voices across campus to define who a champion is and ensure that all of our champions across campus are recognized," Lambert explained. "So if you know someone who is doing really great work, feel free to bring them to the attention of a current award recipient."

The following organizations have showcased their unparalleled inclusion to the Burlington community.

Access and Success: Removing barriers, creating pipelines, retention and development activities, support

Voices for Vermont's Children's Parents for Change project supported by the Nellie Mae Educational  Foundation is nominated by previous winner United Way of Chittenden County. Voices received a Lead Community Partner grant to engage marginalized parents and community members in the high school transformation efforts taking place in Burlington and Winooski school districts.

Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) Family Room is nominated by the Association of Africans Living in Vermont. The VNA Family Room provides free services to parents and their children from birth through five years including preschool, playgroups, and parent education and support programs.

Sara Holbrook Center is nominated by the Burlington Boys and Girls Club for supporting New American children and families for decades in Burlington. Sara Holbrook Center was formed in the 1930's to help support new arrivals to America find the resources needed to succeed in Burlington and in Vermont.

Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity or CVOEO is nominated by the King Street Center. The agency encompasses 11 programs that seek to serve those living in poverty. As our community shifts and changes, so does CVOEO. Its mission is to addresses fundamental issues of economic, social, and racial justice and works with people to achieve economic independence.

Climate and Intergroup Relations: Creating a welcoming and inclusive climate

Community Justice Center is nominated by ECHO for all the good work they do providing a safe environment for members of the community to come together and listen to one another and resolve conflict.

The Pay It Forward awards are also presented to programs, staff and faculty at Champlain College: Winners in this latest round are:

Access and Success

Kristi Jovell, director of  Financial Aid office nominated by Danelle Berube for her dedication to understanding each students' individual scenario and working diligently to explore all options that create financial paths of access to Champlain for our students.

Felicia Messuri, senior advisor, Single Parents Program, and Bernadette Wagner, case manager, Student Health and Wellness,  nominated by Ellen Zeman. According to Zeman,  this year, Felicia and Bernadette have started working with disabled students on campus to help ensure their success. It is important that disabled students and employees are fully integrated into the workplace and community, and Felicia and Bernadette set an excellent example for Champlain College. Increasing the visibility of disabled students, workers and neighbors helps us to become more aware of barriers and to create a more inclusive society.

Bernie Dee, senior academic specialist, Registrars Office, is nominated by Scott Baker for his unwavering support of students through his role in the Registrar's Office.  He is an incredible resource for students throughout their careers here at Champlain, his attention to detail and his advice are always appreciated by students, faculty and staff, and there's no doubt in my mind that his constant and thorough support of students helps provide access and success for them.

Maggie Magdalene, assistant director of Community Service & Civic Engagement and the team at the Center for Service and Civic Engagement, is nominated by Sandi Earle for the their great work of serving fresh homemade meals to the Way Station two weeks a month. She works with the Sodexo team that prepares the meals and delivers them hot and ready to serve.

Education and Scholarship


Miriam Horne, assistant professor, Core Division nominated by Kerry Noonan for creating opportunities for students to do service learning abroad, usually connected to her COR 320 Globalization & Human Rights course. Dr. Horne encourages students to study theories of global interactions and human rights, and then apply those theories to their experiences and encounters when working abroad, in the weeklong class trips she constructs and leads as part of her class.


Betsy Beaulieu, dean of the Core Division nominated by Marlee Ford for having the vision to bring Rula Quawas, a Jordanian feminist as a guest lecturer.

Faith Yacubian, adjunct faculty - Core and EHS division, nominated by Valerie Esposito for being a tireless champion of human rights, diversity and inclusion. Faith exhibits courage and intelligence to push back against the status quo with a strength-based approach, transforming challenge into opportunity to promote growth in students, faculty and staff in the Champlain community and beyond.

Institutional Viability and Vitality


Mary Margaret Lee, AVP of HROD, nominated by David Provost for her leadership in the Human Resources and Organizational Development efforts to support the Diversity and Inclusion Council.  In just her first 18 months at Champlain, Mary has demonstrated her commitment and support of this important strategic initiative of the College. Her efforts to fight for and achieve the funding for a Diversity Recruiter for the HROD office has demonstrated her commitment to achieving the Champlain 2020 Strategic Plan.

For more information about the ODI and other programs focusing on diversity and inclusion at Champlain College, please visit the Office of Diversity & Inclusion website.

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit