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Arla Mistica of Wheatland, a University of Wyoming senior in microbiology and physiology, is the recipient of the 2012 Willena Stanford Commitment to Diversity Award.
"Since her first semester at UW in fall 2008, Arla has been an active member of many different organizations that focus on diversity and social justice," according to her nominator. "She is a student who, by her demonstrated leadership around diversity issues and academics, has provided a model of excellence for all students at UW. Furthermore, she has shared her success by reaching out and mentoring other students."
Through the Multicultural Student Leadership Initiative (MSLI), she developed leadership skills and developed networks with students, faculty and staff members. Mistica has given back to the program by being a peer mentor since fall 2010, meeting regularly to guide students on how to be successful with academics and leadership.
Additionally, she has served as the vice president of the Asian American Pacific Islanders Association. In this role, she has organized cultural awareness events that include field trips with exchange students, sushi workshops twice annually (2008-2011), and bringing an Asian-American comedian to campus (spring 2011).
Since 2008 she has been the events coordinator in the Circle K Club, an organization dedicated to volunteer service. Through the Angel Tree project, she collected gifts for children in need; organized bingo games for residents at Laramie Care Center; led a food drive; and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity.
Over time, Mistica has embraced new leadership responsibilities at UW. She now serves as an ASUW senator, providing a voice for diversity within UW's student government. Since spring 2010, she has co-chaired the United Multicultural Council, which provides representation in ASUW for traditionally underrepresented student populations such as domestic ethnic minority, international and GLBTQ students.
Mistica accepted the award at the annual Willena Stanford Community Supper following the Martin Luther King Jr. march Jan. 16. Stanford was an inspirational UW instructor in African-American and Diaspora Studies and past member of the MLK March and Days of Dialogue Steering Committee.
Last year's recipient was Sydney Ezell, and previous winners include Zanyaille Lyons, Helen Changthongthip, Adriana Magana, Jeremy Joseph and Tracy Montanez.
For more information about the Stanford Award, call John Nutter in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs at (307) 766-5123.