The College of Education is proud to announce that Cydney Caradonna, PhD student in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy (ELP) and graduate assistant in the division of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), has been inducted into the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) Future Leaders Society.
A first-year graduate student, Caradonna applied to the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award and beat out hundreds of other applicants to become a finalist. Each year, the finalists for the K. Patricia Cross Award are inducted into the Future Leaders Society. As an inductee, Caradonna will enjoy access to an online professional development platform, opportunities to share her work internationally through AAC&U presentations and publications and other AAC&U resources. “The AAC&U Future Leaders Society is a mechanism of recognizing and supporting future academic leaders who seek to advance education that empowers individuals. I am proud to be recognized as such and to be representing not only the ELP program at the U, but also my family and home community in the Southern Bay Area of California,” says Caradonna.
Caradonna demonstrates the qualities of a future higher education leader, especially in the areas of “equity, community engagement and teaching and learning.” In October, she was a panelist on the Reframing the Conversation: Decoding The X, which explored what the x means at the end of Latino/a identity-based terms. “From our first divisional meeting Cydney brought invaluable insight and raised questions that reminded me that communication and invitation is a key component we have to practice repeatedly. She continuously learns more about navigating the complex institutional landscape and wants to contribute to the growth and success of the division,” says Mary Ann Villarreal, Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. “I nominated Cydney because I see in her a leader in the making.”
Becoming a leader isn’t something Caradonna is falling into, but something she is actively pursuing. She joined EDI’s nationally recognized New Leadership Academy immediately after becoming a graduate assistant. In this role, she is able to support research and scholarship with a special focus on educational leadership. In spring, Caradonna will transition into a position with the Utah Prison Education Project (UPEP) in conjunction with the Journal for Higher Education in Prison (JHEP) as a Student Editor. “UPEP is committed to social transformation and advances educational equity by way of their on-site higher education program, empirical research, and advocacy. JHEP is committed to contributing to the creation and facilitation of a community of praxis for those involved in higher education in prison. Both missions directly align with the emancipatory work I hope to contribute to as a scholar-practitioner,” says Caradonna.
Amy Fulton, Director of the EDI New Leadership Academy and fellow nominator, stated that Cydney is a leadership scholar and a graduate student who will “meet the moment as a future leader in higher education.” And no doubt that the AAC&U Future Leaders Society experience will provide valuable learning opportunities and help shape Caradonna into the future leader she is steadfastly becoming.