The Mountain Lion spirit is strong in Colorado Springs.
Sandy Ho, Assistant Dean and Director of Student Affairs for the College of Education, was named the winner of the 2021 Colorado Springs Independent Pikes Peak Transformational Award. And Jesse Perez, Director of the Excel Languages Center, has won the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award. Both awards celebrate the Colorado Springs community’s transformational changemakers and diversity, equity and inclusion leaders.
“These individuals enact changes that will leave lasting legacies, ensuring that all people have powerful voices into the future,” the Colorado Springs Independent states. “By taking bold initiatives, a nominee builds and promotes the best practices to bring social change.”
In addition to holding staff positions, both Ho and Perez are three-time graduates of UCCS.
Ho earned a bachelor’s in Communication in 2009, a Master’s in Leadership with an emphasis in Student Affairs in Higher Education in 2010 and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Research and Policy in 2016. She draws upon her own experiences as a student in the College of Education to help students chart their own paths to successful futures.
Perez earned two bachelor’s degrees in Geography and Environmental Science and Communication, then a Master’s in Student Affairs in Higher Education. He is now pursuing a Doctor of Education in Leadership for Educational Equity at CU Denver.
Read more and listen to Ho and Perez speaking about their work below. Videos provided by the Colorado Springs Independent.
Sandy Ho, Assistant Dean of the College of Education
Sandy Ho focuses on operations for the College of Education, including overseeing academic specialists for the college’s three departments and the student resource office. An advisor to the Women’s Student Association and mentor for the Asian Pacific Islander Student Union, Ho is also a Gateway Program Seminar instructor and serves on committees across the university.
When she describes her involvement in campus efforts to advance diversity and inclusion, representation and student support, Ho says, “I want to make sure that our students are feeling accepted, affirmed and cared about. I want them to know I will advocate for them. That’s my job. I tell students, ‘Ask me questions. Let me support you.’ I want each of our students to have a moment where they realize, ‘This school cares about me, and I am valued here.’”
Jesse Perez, Director of the Excel Languages Center
Jesse Perez has a long-standing commitment to achieving excellence in diversity and inclusion at UCCS and in the wider community. On campus, he has helped build bridges and spur collaborative efforts between campus departments, administrative committees, groups and initiatives aiming to enhance equity and social justice. Perez has also worked with nonprofit organizations to provide resources for underprivileged and marginalized communities of southern Colorado.
“Jesse is one of the most significant leaders on our campus and is looked to by departments for guidance on some of the most complex and controversial aspects of creating an inclusive environment,” read Perez’s nominating materials for the 2019 CU President’s Diversity Awards, which he won. “He is able to bring people together, listen with compassion, and then provide feedback in a way others can really hear it and act upon it.”
The full list of award finalists included:
- David Prosper
- Sandy Ho
- Rodney Gullatte, Jr.
- Erik Huffman
- Jesse Perez
- Moni Hernandez
- Jordan McHenry
Congratulations, Sandy! Learn more about the award, finalists and criteria on the Colorado Springs Independent website.