“It means a lot. Being a woman of color in America is tough, having those different intersectionalities, different ways of being oppressed, it feels good to be recognized,” said Brittany Sherman, the recipient of the 2022 University of Wisconsin-Platteville Outstanding Woman of Color Award. “It feels good to be recognized by my peers, to know what I’m doing is making an impact.”
The Outstanding Woman of Color Award recognizes women of color on campus who have shown passion for their work, outstanding university and community service and dedication to creating an inclusive and respectful environment. Sherman, who began her tenure at UW-Platteville in 2020, works in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) as a multicultural advisor, where she supports students as they navigate their collegiate career.
“I have the ability to empathize with my students,” said Sherman. “As a first-generation college graduate myself, being a woman and a woman of color, my students can connect with me on a different level. Through my role, I’m able to create programming to support my students whether it’s socially or academically.”
As Sherman shares her personal journey with her students, she explains how it brings a sense of ease between herself and her advisees.
“Students can relate to me on being a first-generation college student,” she said. “It’s a more comforting situation for them. It’s also more comforting to me because they can tell I have been through it; I can understand their experience. It makes the relationship stronger and real.”
Prior to her current position as a multicultural advisor, Sherman worked on campus as an administrative assistant and program administrator for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Sherman emphasized how her goal is to always make a difference.
“I was on a team tasked by Angela Miller [Assistant Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer] and Sarah Vosberg [Assistant Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services and Chief Human Resources Officer] to create an implicit bias training for all search and screen committees at UW-Platteville,” she said. “It was a great project. I appreciate Angela Miller and Sarah Vosberg trusting me and my team.”
As UW-Platteville continues to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of the university community, Sherman encourages everyone to be open to different ideas and perspectives. She acknowledges the importance of having representation.
“Are our intentions matching our impact? We can think we’re doing well with being diverse, equitable and inclusive, but we have to make sure the message is being received properly,” said Sherman. “Listening to the students when they’re coming to the university with issues. To understand, yes, education is important, but these students are facing a lot of real-world problems.”
While Sherman prepares for summer programming and the upcoming school year, she wants this to be known about OMSA.
“This is a supportive and open office,” she said. “You don’t have to be a student of color to be in here. This is an open space for those who may want to learn about race or culture other than their own. Students can ask questions. This is a safe space for all students. It’s a great office. I love working here.”