Seballos to receive Robinson Equal Opportunity Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Danna Jayne Seballos, administrative support coordinator 4 and assistant director for the World in Conversation Center, has been selected to receive the 2015 Dr. James Robinson Equal Opportunity Award.

The award, sponsored by the Penn State Alumni Association, was established in 1988 and renamed in 1998 to honor the late James Robinson, a distinguished alumnus and former member of the Alumni Council. It recognizes a full-time faculty or staff member with at least two years of active service who has promoted equal opportunity through affirmative action and/or contributes to enhancing the educational environment of the University through improving cross-cultural understanding.

Seballos has spent years involved with the Race Relations Project, a cross-cultural program that has since morphed into World in Conversation Center for Public Diplomacy, which focuses on promoting diplomacy through peer-facilitated dialogues that expand perspectives and invite greater understanding between people.

As the center’s human resources manager, Seballos is responsible for an annual budget of $450,000 and oversees three full-time staff members and six two-thirds time staff members. This team, hired largely by Seballos, shapes the work of 80 student facilitators, supervisors, coaches, teaching assistants and office interns.

Seballos also saved a rare and valuable University course from extinction due to lack of enrollment. She revamped CED 497B: Exploring Indigenous Ways of Knowing in the Great Lakes Region, an award-winning course that takes students to the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota. It’s the only outside-the-classroom experience anywhere in the United States that actually enters the Ojibwe culture. Students interact daily with Ojibwe elders, medicine men, storytellers, artists and youths.

A colleague said Seballos is “a person who is deeply motivated by a desire to see all people thrive and prosper. She is a compassionate ally to people of all backgrounds including race, gender, class, sexual orientation and nationality. She understands that true equality is not built at the expense of any group, but rather with the cooperation of all groups.”

Another said “having been at Penn State for more than 25 years and, in particular, having navigated issues and offices related to diversity and equal opportunity for both women and people of color, I can think of no other employee who is more deserving of this award.”

Last Updated April 09, 2015