Virginia Cumberbatch, marketing and public engagement manager in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and Dr. Kevin M. Foster, a DDCE faculty fellow and associate professor in the College of Liberal Arts and College of Education will be honored next Friday by the Austin Black Chamber of Commerce.
Cumberbatch will be honored as the Emerging Leader of the Year Award and Foster will be honored as Diversity Champion of the Year.
After attending Williams College in Massachusetts, Virginia returned to her home town of Austin and recognized the need for community innovators and passionate individuals of diverse backgrounds to have a platform and space for community engagement and advocacy. In 2011 Virginia assumed the role of president and the task of re-launching the Austin Area Urban League Young Professionals (AAULYPs) program. To date more 200 young professionals have joined her in the mission to raise the profile of the Austin Area Urban League and carry forth its mission to “empower communities and change lives.”
In 2012 she was recognized as a top 25 “Philanthropists of the Year” by GivingAustin Magazine and “10 People to Watch in 2013″ in Tribeza Magazine’s “People Issue” for her work in the community through the AAULYPs. She recently joined the board of Austin’s African American Cultural Heritage District, became a member of the Economic Forum’s Global Shapers, and after three years working in the world of public relations at Hahn Public Communications joined the public engagement efforts of The University of Texas at Austin’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.
In addition to teaching, Dr. Kevin Foster is also the Executive Director of ICUSP, Inc. which partners with universities, communities and schools to serve learners of all ages. and the founder of Blackademics.
Foster is the recipient of the Josefina Paredes Endowed Teaching Award from The University of Texas at Austin (2012), The Charles Akins Heritage Award from Austin ISD (2009), and the Faculty Volunteer of the Year Award from the LBJ Presidential Library (2006). In 2009, Dr. Foster took a leave of absence from UT Austin to serve as an Executive Branch Policy Fellow assigned to the National Science Foundation. He returned to Austin in 2010 to restart his student programs and launch Blackademics Television, a project that brings Black Studies scholarship to broad popular audiences and that currently airs on KLRU PBS-TV.