M. Regina Apodaca M. won the "Upstander Award" from the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics where she is a doctoral student. The Upstander Award recognizes a student, staff, faculty, postdoc, or researcher who: speaks or acts in support of an individual cause that aligns with our values of leading through excellence in research & education; creates an inclusive environment; and/or fosters ethics, integrity and success.
One of her Nominators said: “She is a consistent, knowledgeable, and empathetic advocate for self-care and de-stigmatizing conversations around mental health. Through her service work in dREFS, GA^3, and GWAE, she has assisted in and led multiple efforts (from CALL events to Office Hours to proposing and gathering feedback on new initiatives) that aim to educate and engage all members of the department around key issues of mental health, conflict resolution, and inclusivity. For myself, I feel the tangible outcomes of these efforts: more honesty and less conflict in research meetings, more empathy and sympathy from colleagues, and for myself, more patience, understanding, and respect for others. “
A second nominator shared: “She strongly advocates for a better culture in the department. She has led the efforts of many CALL events, has lead the "Is it just me?" events, and is now leading an initiative to improve the mental health of students in the department. Through all these initiatives, she is doing all she can to ensure students feel welcome, don't become the receivers of micro-aggressions, and are encouraged to look for help when they need it. She is part of GA^3, GWAE, and dREFS and greatly uses her roles in these groups to bring attention to important issues and stand up for people who wouldn't speak up otherwise.”