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Marlin Holmes Receives UW’s Stanford Commitment to Diversity Award

February 19, 2016
man standing in front of wind turbine
Marlin Holmes, of Charlotte, N.C., a University of Wyoming mechanical engineering graduate student, works in the UW Wind Tunnel Lab. Holmes recently received the Willena Stanford Commitment to Diversity Award. (UW Photo)

Marlin Holmes, of Charlotte, N.C., was named the recipient of the University of Wyoming’s 2016 Willena Stanford Commitment to Diversity Award.

Holmes, the son of Lisa and Roderick Holmes, is a graduate student pursuing master’s and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering.

Holmes received the diversity award at the annual Willena Stanford Community Supper in the Wyoming Union following the recent Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Dialogue week of events. More than 150 UW and community guests commemorated the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the dinner and honored Stanford, an inspirational former UW instructor in African American and Diaspora Studies. She also was a past member of the MLK Days of Dialogue steering committee.

According to one of his nominators, “Marlin has emerged as an important campus leader on issues of racial diversity and campus culture. Marlin quickly got involved with the UW Black Student Alliance when he first arrived to campus, resulting in him taking on a leadership role the following year as president.”

The nominator also added that “the organization grew from four active members to nearly 20 under Holmes’s leadership.”

Holmes also has a prominent role in broader campus initiatives to address climate and racial justice issues. Last spring, he helped facilitate a series of campuswide professional development workshops dealing with racial micro-aggressions in student services and in the classroom.

Holmes earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in 2013. He is in the UW Department of Mechanical Engineering, working under Professor Jonathan Naughton in UW’s Wind Energy Research Center. Last spring, Holmes received a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, one of 2,000 individuals selected from among 16,500 applicants. The fellowships support graduate studies for students “based on their demonstrated potential for significant achievements in science and engineering,” according to an NSF media release.

Through a separate NSF fellowship, he regularly works with young people around the state to encourage their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through activities, including building model wind turbines. He has taught mathematics during the summer in UW’s TRIO Program for students who are economically disadvantaged, from ethnic minorities, have disabilities or are first-generation college students.

He also is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans at UW.

In addition to Holmes, other UW students nominated for the diversity award were Garrett Cruzan, Carly Demple, Rida Fatima, Thushara Lankananda, Mikalah Skates, Kereston Thomas, Roby Valez and Robert West.

Last year’s recipient was Natawsha Mitchell, and previous winners include Ahmed Balogun, Jaryd Unangst, Arla Mistica, Sydney Ezell, Zanyaille Lyons, Helen Changthongthip, Adriana Magana, Jeremy Joseph and Tracy Montanez.

For more information about the Stanford Award, email or visit

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