The Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Equity honors a full-time WSU Vancouver faculty or staff member for excellence in building and expanding a community of equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging on campus. The award recognizes this individual’s outstanding and impactful service to WSU Vancouver through contributions to realizing one or more of the following objectives from Goal 4 of the WSU Vancouver strategic plan to ensure equitable opportunities and outcomes for all student populations; infuse equity-mindedness throughout the fabric of the campus structure and create capacity to work toward equity in all aspects of campus endeavors; and/or build and maintain a safe and welcoming environment for all students and employees.
Luz Rocío Sotomayor
Senior Instructor of Mathematics
With a vision and a voice, L. Rocío Sotomayor hopes to shine a light on the voices of others.
Sotomayor, who teaches statistics and probability, joined WSU Vancouver in 2014. Her efforts on behalf of students go beyond the classroom. Sotomayor often acts as a mentor for equity-minded student organizations and initiatives that promote a more welcoming and inclusive campus climate. “The best part about mentoring and teaching students is to see them grow and evolve—to see how far they can go given the right tools and support,” Sotomayor said. Last fall, as part of Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month, she led efforts to hold a vigil and dedication space honoring Hispanic and Latinx voices and roots. This event spurred Latinx student organizations to convene and create a new student group, Latinx Leads. Sotomayor was invited to collaborate with the group, and they hosted two events in celebration of Latinx culture, Día de Los Muertos and Noche de Familia.
Sotomayor’s ability to foster growth and responsibility within a welcoming and safe environment garners praise from her students. In nominating Sotomayor for the award, a student in her statistics class raved that she “goes above and beyond to make sure every student is keeping up with class and is learning the material. She strives to teach her classes as clearly and engagingly as possible while keeping students accountable.”
Working to make an equality shift campuswide, Sotomayor serves on the Council on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and is also a member of the Equity of Student Outcomes Council. The opportunity to leverage her voice and lift others up is something Sotomayor does not take for granted. “I feel very fortunate that I can use my own experiences in life and in academia to support and guide students, as well as my privilege as a faculty member to amplify their voices,” she said.
Sotomayor earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru and her master’s degree in mathematical methods in finance from Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She completed her Ph.D. in mathematical finance at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
Past award recipients