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Dr. Winnifred Bryant receives UW System’s Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award

| Gary Johnson

Photo caption: Dr. Winnifred Bryant, professor and chair of the biology department, is a research mentor to many students of color through the diversity mentoring program. (Photo by Shane Opatz)

Dr. Winnifred Bryant, department chair and professor of biology, is the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award from the UW System.

The award is given annually to faculty, staff, students or community members to recognize their achievements in advancing equity and inclusion for people of color within the UW System and communities across the state.

Bryant says she is honored to be included among the 14 award winners this year.

“I'm pretty low key,” Bryant says. “I come to work and just do my best in the capacity of a teacher/professor, a researcher and a chair. Embarrassingly, I don't often self-reflect on what impact I have by occupying the space that I do on this campus. So, I'm deeply flattered that someone did and thought enough to nominate me. Definitely a reminder that how you live, how you are and how you work influences others.”

Recipients were recognized on Nov. 4 in Madison. The ceremony and reception were held in conjunction with the UW System’s presentation of the Dr. P.B. Poorman Awards for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ+ People. 

“The UW System is proud to recognize the tremendous achievements of this year’s award recipients," said Dr. Warren Anderson, UW System senior equity, diversity and inclusion officer. “They are enhancing opportunities for our students and benefiting our communities through their leadership, scholarship and outreach.”

This year is the 26th anniversary of the award through which more than 400 women of color have been recognized for their transformational work.

“Dr. Bryant has made substantial contributions to our campus, scholarship in her field, and the students she teaches and mentors,” according to nomination documents from UW-Eau Claire. “Colleagues have tremendous respect for Dr. Bryant and seek her out for advice and counsel.”

Bryant’s research focuses on environmental estrogens and the role they may play in the progression of breast and uterine cancer. She authored the textbook "Human Sexual Biology," designed for non-biology majors, that is used for UW-Eau Claire courses.

During her time at UW-Eau Claire, Bryant has engaged in student-faculty collaboration to advance future scholars and scientists. She also serves as a research mentor to many students of color through the diversity mentoring program.

In addition to teaching and research, Bryant leads students in international learning experiences such as the “Medical Breakthroughs in London” travel seminar course she facilitates during Winterim.