The Dr. Emily Culpepper Convocation Award 2023

Pictured: Professor Jennifer Nelson and Jordan Nobles in front of Larsen Hall.Pictured: Katie Thew (left), Elizabeth Beck (center), and Jay Arroyo (right).









This year (2023) we are honoring Katie Thew and Jordan Nobles with the Emily Culpepper Prize. Katie’s parents, Pam and Stephen, will accept the award for Katie.

The award is going to Katie for their outstanding activism at the intersection of LGBTQ and disability issues. One of Katie’s professors wrote of them: “They were a brilliant thinker, radical revolutionary, and led by example with such care. Katie was one of the most dedicated students I have ever worked with who was committed to engaging in praxis.” Another professor said of Katie, “Katie believed that activism wasn’t about awareness, good intentions, or just learning what disabled, trans, lgbtqia … people need to live and flourish, but about actually doing the things and making the changes that will make the world worth living in. I think Katie would want people to know that their work was a beginning, but that the rest of us have to take seriously what kind of a world we are making for queer disabled folx.” Katie was a member of DEFIANT a student-run organization committed to advocating for students with disabilities and differences. As part of this work, Katie organized a Disability Forum on campus to fight for greater accessibility for the disabled community.

The Culpepper award is also going to Jordan Nobles. Jordan, an HMS major and WGS minor, has worked as the WGS work-study student for two years. The most important part of this job is organizing the annual Social Justice Student Conference that occurs in March. Jordan worked relentlessly to make both conferences a great success. The event this March brought over 200 students and faculty to the Orton Center to participate in student panels, hear a keynote speaker on Prison Reform and Justice, share food together, and learn about local non-profit organizations such as Planned Parenthood, The Open Door, and Partners Against Violence. Jordan has also played a pivotal role in reviving the Planned Parenthood Next Generation Club on campus—a club dedicated to fighting to protect the reproductive rights of all individuals. Jordan is also an outstanding student. She plans to go to medical school and become an OBGYN specializing in reproductive health with a commitment to providing comprehensive health care for all.

Jennifer Nelson, Ph.D.
Professor & Director 
Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program
Public Policy Program
University of Redlands

If you'd like to read more about Katie and Defiant, please click here.