Karwacki named 2009 Robinson Equal Opportunity Award winner

March 19, 2009

Marianne Karwacki, program coordinator of ONE (Opportunity Network for Employment) in the Office of Human Resources, has been selected to receive the 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.

ONE was established to facilitate and coordinate employment opportunities at the University Park campus for a diverse population of qualified individuals with disabilities. As program coordinator, Karwacki develops relationships with hiring managers and supervisors throughout the campus and with job seekers and their representative agencies to facilitate successful placements.

She expanded services to high school students with disabilities by securing funding from the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in 2004 for the first Vocational Mentoring Day program, which brings local high school students to campus for a day to participate in job shadowing and career exploration activities. The program continues annually through support from school districts and private donations, including funds raised by an annual bike ride organized by Penn State alumni.

Beyond the ONE program, Karwacki acts as a mentor for other University staff to raise awareness and acceptance of persons with disabilities through activities such as workshops regarding interviewing and hiring persons with disabilities. She also makes presentations at statewide conferences and participates in local events and University-sponsored programs to raise awareness.

"Marianne’s leadership and contagious enthusiasm, a nominator wrote, "have resulted in the Penn State University being held up as an example to other employers, both educational institutions and otherwise, as to how a commitment to equal opportunity should be carried out."

Last Updated March 19, 2009