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January 16, 2018

Informatics Professors Promote Inclusiveness

Two Informatics professors have each received an Inclusive Excellence Spirit Award for their work in promoting equity, diversity and inclusion at UCI. Assistant Professor Bonnie Ruberg, along with Ph.D. student Amanda Cullen, received the award to help diversify esports, while Assistant Professor Aaron Trammell, along with graduate student Sarita Rosenstock, undergraduate student Grace Wood, and Library Event Coordinator Daniel Gilchrist, received the award for efforts to promote feminism and the politics of inclusion. UCI’s Office of Inclusive Excellence offers the awards, which include funding for related campus activities.

Diversifying the Face of Esports
Ruberg and Cullen applied for the award to support their efforts to better diversify livestreaming at the Esports Arena. In the application, Ruberg argues that livestreamers are the “faces of video games” at UCI, so she and Cullen hope to “promote a broader culture of diversity around video games” by developing “resources for women, LGBTQ folks and people of color who livestream.” They plan to study factors contributing to the lack of diversity in livestreaming at the Esports Arena and, based on the study’s findings, organize events that promote inclusivity in livestreaming.

Ruberg concludes the award application by saying that “with the help of the Office of Inclusive Excellence and the Inclusive Excellence Spirit Award, we have the opportunity to enact real and immediate change as the presence of competitive gaming at our institution grows.”

Promoting Intersectional Feminism

Funding from the second award will cover the speaking fee to bring Samhita Mukhopadhyay to a media-sharing event being held Thursday, Jan. 18, at 5:30 p.m. in the Student Center. The event is aimed at exposing the UCI student body to inspirational feminist media curated by the leaders of the Feminist Illuminati group here on campus. The group’s leaders, Rosenstock and Wood, worked with Trammell to apply for the award. Trammell notes, “As their faculty advisor, I saw the opportunity to help them fund an awesome event. I view supporting community outreach as a necessary part of my feminist research and practice.”

Rosenstock and Wood have been working with the UCI Langson Library to develop an exhibit focused on intersectional feminism, which they define as “an emancipatory network of ideas, people, and movements aimed at dismantling intersecting oppressive systems of gender, class, race, sexuality, nationality, ability, religion, and privilege more broadly.” Two of Mukhopadhyay’s works are included in the exhibit — Outdated and Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s Americaand Mukhopadhyay will help promote the exhibit by speaking about how print and online media can engage young people in feminist activism. The goal is to encourage students to support and join the Feminist Illuminati, which is “devoted to sustaining UC Irvine’s reputation as a diverse campus by being an outspoken and visible voice for feminism and the politics of inclusion on campus.”

— Shani Murray

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