Umstead honored with inaugural Kharen Fulton Diversity Graduate Award

MaKendra Umstead, a Laney Graduate School student in the cancer biology doctoral program, has been awarded the first Kharen Fulton Diversity Graduate Award.

Named to honor the legacy of Fulton, the longtime director of recruitment, diversity and admissions at the Laney Graduate School, the award supports graduate student diversity, inclusion and community. Umstead was presented the award at the annual Laney Graduate School Diversity Reception. A monetary prize accompanied the award.

Umstead says the award came as a complete surprise. “I found out that I received the Kharen Fulton Diversity Graduate Award on the same day that I passed my private dissertation defense," she says.

"In complete honesty, I was more excited to be presented with such an honor as the Kharen Fulton Award than I was about defending," Umstead continues. "The reality is that while I spent the last five years toiling through graduate school to earn my degree, Kharen Fulton dedicated her entire career to ensuring that I would have that opportunity.”

For Umstead, honoring Fulton’s legacy is a call to action.

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