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Graduate Studies Program Honors Two Members for Inclusive Excellence

Christina Bruno

The School of Graduate Studies Award for Inclusive Excellence

Two members of the Western Colorado University graduate studies community have been recognized for their promotion of inclusive excellence.

Outdoor Industry MBA student Christina Bruno and Master of Science in Ecology Program Director Jennie DeMarco, Ph.D., have been awarded the School of Graduate Studies Award for Inclusive Excellence. The award honors its recipients for demonstrating a number of qualities, including a focus on student intellectual and social development, and attention to the cultural differences learners bring to the educational experience that enhance an enterprise.

Christina Bruno

Bruno is recognized for innovating with Burton Snowboards and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI) to create a new, stand-alone, adaptive snowboard manual replacing the outdated 2013 AASI Adaptive Snowboard Guide. For the first time, she will create e-learning content, video and online resources to connect and support a digital and physical community of adaptive sports centers, instructors and students. A supplemental adaptive snowboard resource for Burton will be created to demystify adaptive snowboarding for customers and future riders.

“Almost every resort in the country has some type of adaptive programming. Christina’s project will teach the teachers, expanding her reach substantially,” said Outdoor Industry MBA Director Scott Borden, Ph.D., who nominated her. “Bruno is helping open doors and increasing the inclusiveness and accessibility of the places and activities to those that otherwise could not enjoy them.”

Jennie DeMarco

Those who nominated DeMarco expressed extremely high praise and gratitude for her unwavering commitment to instilling a program culture of inclusive excellence. Her efforts, they noted, have directly led to a wide range of program initiatives and innovations. The most prominent of these innovations is the Master of Science in Ecology’s new Diversity, Equity, Innovation, and Internationalization and Justice (DEIIJ) full-tuition scholarship for an incoming master’s student. Additionally, she has incorporated evidence-based best practices for ensuring fairness and inclusivity in all student selection processes and extended this approach for teaching assistantships, research grants, and scholarships.

“Her purposeful development, guided by the standards of national societies, and DEIIJ peer-reviewed literature, has led to systemic and sustained changes within the School of Environment & Sustainability and provides inspiration to other departments on the campus,” said the professor Jonathan Coop, Ph.D., who nominated DeMarco. “Her exemplary work clearly warrants the recognition that this award will bring.”

Jennie DeMarco


The Honorees

The winners will be honored at the School of Graduate Studies Reception on May 7, at Western’s Borick Business Building south lawn tent, and they will receive $1,000 each.



Author Credit: Chris Rourke

Photo Credit: Carley Clegg and courtesy

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