Jen Skidmore, director of student development in the College of Engineering, was recognized as a recipient of the 2020 Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community.
Skidmore was recognized by Chancellor Ronnie Green during a virtual ceremony on April 22.
The award comes with a $1,000 donation by the Chancellor’s Office to support the work of a program on campus to further that unit’s work in support of the LGBTQA+ community. Skidmore has chosen that gift be given to the Pat Tetreault & PFLAG Lincoln LGBTQA+ Student Support Fund, which is run by UNL’s LGBTQA+ Resource Center.
"It’s important to me that resources go back to students directly, especially those facing hardship and other obstacles preventing them from focusing on their education,” Skidmore said.
They serve as a commissioner on the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Gender and Sexual Identity and serves on a system-wide Nonbinary Gender Values Steering Committee working on implementing and educating around Executive Memorandum No. 40: Policy on Chosen Name and Gender Identity.
Skidmore, who works with students on both the City (Lincoln) and Scott (Omaha) Campuses, has been part of the University of Nebraska Omaha’s LGBTQIA+ Task Force and Safe Space training team since 2015; is co-advisor for oSTEM@Nebraska (Out in STEM) student chapter; facilitates TRANScend, a support group for trans spectrum students at UNO; conducted a College of Engineering focus group on queer and trans student experiences on Scott Campus; and facilitated a focus group for nonbinary students at UNL to understand ways in which the campus climates can be improved.
Additionally, Skidmore has conducted Active Ally training for local organizations, such as the Nebraska AIDS Project, and the City of Omaha, and volunteers time with Proud Horizons, a local support group that connects queer and trans youth ages 13-23 in Omaha.
“It is a privilege to work in a place where I feel safe enough to be out – not every queer or trans person has that experience,” they said. “This award makes me feel seen, valued, and celebrated around my sexual orientation and gender identity. I haven’t always had that even in my personal life, so it’s really fulfilling and meaningful to be recognized like this by my supervisor, a colleague, and the students who nominated me.”
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