News & Events


UWHEN 2021 Leadership Award Winners

UWHEN is excited to share the winners of the 2021 Leadership Awards!

Dr. Shalini Kesar, Distinguished Service Award Winner

Dr. Shalini Kesar
Southern Utah University

The Distinguished Service Award this year was given to Dr. Shalini Kesar, Associate Professor and Director of MS-Cyber Security and Information Assurance at Southern Utah University.  A nominator noted, “Dr. Kesar’s work and passion elevating women both in higher education and the field of technology is endless. She sits on many Boards to promote leadership and advancement for women. She is a mentor for women and is fearless in the face of gender equality.”

Linda Makin, Special Recognition Award

Linda Makin
Utah Valley University

The Special Recognition Award this year was given to Linda Makin, Vice President for Planning, Budget, and Human Resources at Utah Valley University.  A nominator noted, “During her tenure as Vice President, she has led efforts to implement a six-week paid medical maternity leave; introduce, fund, and expand Mamava Lactation Pods on campus for students and employees; measure, monitor, and publish UVU’s efforts related to the ElevateHer Challenge; publish an annual Human Resources report that includes data on women in UVU’s workforce; implement the Search Advocacy program to recruit and retain more female faculty and executives; and influence the revision and implementation of UBHE Policy R805 Gender, Race, and Ethnicity Representation Within the Utah System of Higher Education Workforce.”

Dr. Jessica Preece, Mentorship Award Winner

Dr. Jessica Preece
Brigham Young University

The Mentorship Award this year was given to Dr. Jessica Preece, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Gender and Civic Engagement Lab at Brigham Young University.  A nominator noted, “Jessica actively works with and mentors undergraduate students by involving them in central ways in her research projects. From providing valuable advice and a listening ear to spending countless hours helping students improve their research skills, Jessica has been an incredible mentor and role model to dozens of undergraduate students at BYU, inspiring many to pursue an academic career. She keeps in regular contact with former BYU students who have gone onto graduate school, to ensure they have the mentorship and advice they need to be successful through PhD programs and into their first jobs. Jessica is a truly exceptional mentor.”

Dr. Jennifer Johnson, Emerging Professional Award

Dr. Jennifer Johnson
Rocky Mountain University of Health

The Emerging Professional Award this year was given to Dr. Jennifer Johnson, Assistant Professor and Director of Simulation Education for the PA Program at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions.  A nominator noted, “[Jennifer] proved herself to be an ally and has supported our LGBTQ students in times of distress. Over the past several years, she seems to be the faculty member that female students report incidents of harassment to because she creates a sense of safety for students, they know they can trust her, and they know that she will take them seriously, be supportive, make sure that they are heard, and make sure that issues are dealt with swiftly and equitably. Jennifer is a constant strength in the university and a natural leader.”

UWHEN would also like to highligh all of the outstanding nominees this year. They include: