Rosa Parks, Cesar E. Chavez & Janice M. Gould Undergraduate Scholarship Descriptions


Rosa Parks, Cesar E. Chavez & Janice M. Gould Undergraduate Scholarship Descriptions

Rosa Parks, Cesar E. Chavez and Janice M. Gould have dedicated their lives to fighting for human rights and social and/or environmental justice.

Rosa Parks is best known for her refusal to relinquish her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, despite the Jim Crow laws that were then in effect. Her refusal would have a dramatic impact not only on Alabama but on the entire country. Park's actions led directly to the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955-1956, a successful mass movement that propelled Martin Luther King to national fame. Parks died in Detroit, Michigan in 2005.

The Rosa Parks Undergraduate Scholarship Competition was established in 1989 by Dr. Vivian García, a former colleague of Dr. Andrea O’Reilly Herrera’s during her tenure at SUNY, Fredonia. With Dr. García’s permission, O’Reilly Herrera established the first Rosa Parks Undergraduate Scholarship competition at UCCS in 2000. The first scholarship awards were generously funded by her parents, Hubert and Teresa.


In 2004, a group of Dr. Herrera’s students in her Introduction to Social Justice Studies class requested permission to establish a scholarship competition that would focus on undergraduate research and critical writing, and thereby distinguish the Rosa Parks Undergraduate Scholarship Competition, which would from that time forward exclusively feature creative work. With Dr. Herrera’s encouragement, these students consequently secured permission to use the official logo of the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, and thereby honor the civil rights activist. As a result of these dedicated students’ efforts, the first Cesar E. Chavez Scholarship Undergraduate Competition was held in the spring of 2005.

Cesar E. Chavez (1927-1993) was a farm worker who established himself during the Civil Rights Movement as a labor leader and civil rights activist. Chavez co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (later branded the United Farm Workers union, UFW) in 1962 with Dolores Huerta. His approach to unionism and nonviolent tactics made the farm workers' struggle a moral cause that spread nationwide. By the late 1970s, Chavez and Huerta's activism pressured growers to recognize UFW as the bargaining agent for 50,000 field workers in California and Florida. Cesar Chavez received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994.

The Janice M. Gould Undergraduate Scholarship—which was originally established in 2015 by professor Eileen Skahill (Sociology) and dedicated to environmental justice activists Mary and Carrie Dann—was rededicated in 2019 to honor UCCS faculty member Dr. Janice Gould. A member of the Women’s and Ethnic Studies faculty since 2009, Janice Gould is of mixed European and Concow (koyangk'auwi) descent and grew up in Berkeley, California. She is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, where she received degrees in Linguistics and English; and the University of New Mexico, where she earned her Ph.D. in English literature. She also has a Master's degree in Library Science from the University of Arizona.

Janice's poetry has seen publication in many journals and anthologies, and she has won awards for her writing from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Astraea Foundation. She served as the Pike’s Peak Poet Laureate for 2014-2016. Her books of poetry include Beneath My Heart, Earthquake Weather, Alphabet (an art book/chapbook), as well as Doubters and Dreamers, which was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. She also authored The Force of Gratitude, a finalist for the Charlotte Mew Poetry Prize; and Janice is the co-editor of a volume of essays on Native American poetry, Speak to Me Words. Her newest book of poetry, Seed, has just been published. Janice has worked as a professor in English, Creative Writing, Native American Studies and Women's Studies; and served a three-year term as the Hallie Ford Chair in Creative Writing at Willamette University. While working on her MLS at the University of Arizona, she served as a Research Assistant in the archives at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. Janice is also a musician (guitar and accordion), a birdwatcher, hiker, photographer, and folk dancer. She regularly posts her photographs on her blog:

The Rosa Parks, Cesar E. Chavez & Janice M. Gould scholarship competitions have provided a unique forum to showcase UCCS undergraduate students’ scholarly and creative talents. The scholarship competitions are designed to give students an opportunity to explore and research both domestic and/or global issues regarding social and/or environmental justice, human rights, and injustice or discrimination in all forms; and express their thoughts regarding the ideals that Rosa Parks, Cesar E. Chavez and Janice M. Gould represent.

All entries are judged according to the following criteria: 1) quality and execution; and 2) relevance to the scholarships’ central themes. The competition is open to all undergraduate students matriculating at UCCS; during the spring semester student award winners are feted at an annual award ceremony and reception, which is open to the public.