Prior to hearing the reading of the nomination for Graduate Assistant of the Year, Multicultural Center Graduate Assistant Amanda Nelson didn’t think she was going to win when she attended the Benny’s. Benny’s is an annual award ceremony hosted by the Division of Student Affairs honoring those in student support roles. 

“They started reading part of the nomination before they said my name, and they mentioned the Asian Student Union, which I’m the advisor. And I remember thinking, ‘Wait, that’s me,’” Nelson said.  

Nelson was nominated for Graduate Assistant of the Year by her supervisors, Director of the Multicultural Center Gabrielle Lloyd, and Assistant Director of the Multicultural Center, Huy Huynh, for her work in developing the Multicultural Leadership Certificate.  

Amanda Nelson poses with her award in front of a red and white Ball State background.

Amanda Nelson poses with her award at the Bennys.

The certificate is a one-time three-hour workshop that introduces students to topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.    

According to an excerpt from her nomination letter shared by Lloyd, Nelson spent four months cultivating a workshop for Ball State students that focuses on topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The purpose is to introduce students to learn how to be inclusive leaders both during their time at Ball State and in their careers.   

“I won’t say it wasn’t a lot of work but it was also something I was very interested in because obviously, I work in a Multicultural Center, I like working with topics like justice continuums, but also I wanted to have some experience with working with students and teaching and while this is In a formal class for credit It is something where I get to kind of be a facilitator and an instructor,” Nelson said.  

The nomination letter also commended Nelson on her work as a graduate advisor for the Asian Student Union.  

Amanda Nelson poses with other Bennys Award winners.

Amanda Nelson poses with other Bennys Award winners.

In Lloyd’s nomination letter, she said, “Amanda impacts the Ball State community through her work as the graduate advisor for the Asian Student Union (ASU). There she serves as a positive role model and mentor for students. In this role, she advises students on matters such as budgeting, outreach, promotion, professional development, and program planning. More importantly, she helps students who engage in ASU’s programming feel seen and heard at Ball State University. Her leadership has helped the organization perform in a way it had not years prior. “Nelson urges students to explore the new Multicultural Center as well as its student organizations.  

“I definitely think that the big four organizations are good to check out. So those [organizations] would be Black Student Association, Asian Student Union, Latino Student Union and Spectrum, which is for LGBT plus students and allies,” Nelson said.  

Students, faculty, and staff can learn more about the Big Four organizations by visiting the Office of Student Life’s website