Excellence in Diversity

A College of Arts & Letters student was recognized for exhibiting diversity and inclusion in extraordinary ways as a recipient of one of the 2016 All-University Excellence in Diversity Awards. 

Joyce-Zoe Farley, a second-year doctoral student in African American and African Studies and University Fellow, received this year’s Making a Difference Through Artistic Expression Award by using her creative talents to artistically express civil and human rights.

She earned the award for her digital photo project, titled “EnVISIONing and Remembering Sankofa in NYC,” which includes almost 600 pictures dedicated to remembering the African American story in New York City.

We will go above and beyond to figure out how to create a solution to a problem that is way bigger than us, and that’s just the beginning of where 'Spartans Will' will lead you.

“It is a memory project about African American history in New York City. It’s all about time, memory and setting within the city and what it really means to the African American historical canon,” said Farley, who completed the project in her Memory in Transdisciplinary Perspective’s class at Columbia University, where she earned a master’s degree in oral history. 

“EnVISIONing and Remembering Sankofa in NYC” was scaled down to 50 photos for the website. The digital photo exhibition, Farley said, utilizes the ideas of national forgetting, but on a local level as it relates to the African American experience in New York City.

The goal of the project is to add to the general memory and oral history, and in some instances, to dispute long-held notions about the city’s history. 

“There’s no pleasantries when you talk about diversity…You have to be aggressive,” Farley said. “Because I’m a basketball coach, (I say) you literally have to box out. You have to have the ball with your elbows out. You’re literally doing full on body contact to protect the ball, to protect your culture, to protect who you are as a person.” woman with brown hair and blue glasses accepting award from woman with glasses

Farley is working on the first non-traditional dissertation in AAAS, producing a documentary film instead of a conventional book. She also is pursuing graduate certification in Digital Humanities and Advanced Journalism.

Farley is a 2015-2016 Cultural Heritage Informatics (CHI) Fellow, an initiative hosted by the Department of Anthropology in partnership withMATRIX: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences to encourage and support interdisciplinary collaboration among scholars in the scope of the digital cultural heritage at Michigan State. She also is a 2016 Pulliam Journalism Fellowship recipient and will work at theArizona Republic this summer.

Since 1990, the Excellence in Diversity Awards have been award by MSU as a way to demonstrate its genuine support and appreciation for the exceptional and innovative work being done by students, faculty and staff in the areas of diversity and inclusion.

“As a Spartan, I feel that Spartans Will,” Farley said. “We’re dedicated beyond dedicated. We’re up 24 hours a day trying to figure out how to make something right that has been wrong for too long. We will go above and beyond to figure out how to create a solution to a problem that is way bigger than us, and that’s just the beginning of where 'Spartans Will' will lead you.”

The 2016 Excellence in Diversity Awards were presented by President Lou Anna Simon and Provost June Youatt during a special ceremony at the Kellogg Center on Feb. 15.