The University of Wisconsin-Superior has named Kat Werchouski, Assistant Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the recipient of the Women of Color in Education Award.
“I do what I do for others, not for recognition, but for the betterment of our students, staff, faculty, and community members,” said Werchouski. “This is usually done behind the scenes and very quietly. Though I enjoy what I have the privilege of doing every day, and the results for others, I don’t ever put myself on the consideration list. It is great for the work itself, and what it stands for, to be recognized and celebrated.”
The Women of Color in Education Award is given annually to faculty, staff, students or community members to recognize their achievements in advancing equity and inclusion for people of color within the UW System as well as communities across the state.
“I want this to show others to see that change is possible, especially when you approach it from doing ‘the right things, the best way you can,’” said Werchouski. “Eventually it will get recognized and hopefully inspire others. I want people to see my department as an exemplar not only in the UW System, but also in higher education – regionally and nationally. The world we work in every day is not easy, but there are plenty of people, stories, and challenges that keep us motivated and moving in positive directions. The ability to help people, no matter their background, is one of the biggest honors one can be handed in this world – and should not be taken lightly.”
Werchouski is a member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe with ties to the Leech Lake and Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe tribes as well as the state of Jalisco, Mexico. She earned a B.S. in Environmental Studies (Environmental Public Law and Policy) and a B.A. in Native American Studies from Northland College in Ashland, Wis., and a M.S. in Environmental Studies (Written Communications) from Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vt. Werchouski is currently pursuing a doctoral degree (Ed.D. Student Affairs Administration) from UW-La Crosse. Previously Werchouski served as the Director of the Indigenous Center at Northland College.
“I would like to thank Dr. Jerel Benton for being a phenomenal colleague, mentor, and friend during my time here at UWS,” said Werchouski. “He has inspired me to take on new leadership roles, dream bigger than ever, and to continue to better myself. The same goes for those I have come to see as allies, partners, and friends all across campus.”
Regents, chancellors, provosts, and UW System Leaders will recognize Werchouski at a ceremony November 7 in Madison.