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Rieke Scholars

Rieke Scholars are students who advocate for diversity, social justice, and sustainability within their communities in partnership with the dCenter, Center for Gender Equity, International Student Services, and Campus Ministry.  Students who are accepted  into the Rieke Scholarship program have an interest in participating in a community of learners committed to individual professional development, group collaborations, and influencing systems for social change.  The Rieke Leadership Award was established in 1988 by President William O. Rieke to reaffirm the university’s commitment to inclusiveness and diversity. Recipients of the award are individuals of any ethnic background who demonstrate their leadership in promoting racial and ethnic diversity at Pacific Lutheran University and beyond.

'21-'22 Due Dates

March 22 – Applications due for new PLU students

May 2 – Applications due for Continuing students, Interfaith Advocates, & IPA

May 16 – Advocates & PLUS 100 TA

  • Explore their sense of self-awareness through reflection on one’s identity and values, development of an authentic leadership identity, examination of personal commitments to DJS.
  • Practice skills for collaborative leadership through reflection of the collective process required to enact positive social change, engagement in collaborative partnerships working towards a common purpose, and dialogue across differences for perspective taking.
  • Engage with the community through taking ownership of membership in our multiple communities, examination of the interdependence of diversity, justice, and sustainability in relationship, and practice active participation with The Diversity Center values and programs.
  • Commit to student success through developing a personal definition of student success, goals, and developing connections with peers, faculty, and staff.

Rieke Scholar Tracks


dCenter Rieke Scholars 

dCenter Rieke Scholars will volunteer weekly in PLU’s Diversity Center.  There is an expected time commitment of three hours per week for the academic year towards the Rieke Scholar role.  One hour is volunteering in the dCenter assisting Diversity Center staff with projects and programs.  The other two hours are participating in DJS events on campus in the greater community.  Through involvement in the Diversity Center, Scholars will enrich the fabric of university while increasing their own leadership skills.  New and Continuing PLU students are invited to apply to be dCenter Rieke Scholars.

Apply on the “Rieke Scholar Application” and select a Rieke Scholar type for supplemental questions

Contact: Nicole Juliano juliannh@plu.edu


dCenter, The CAVE, Community Garden Advocates

Diversity Center Advocates work as a team to develop opportunities on campus for critical reflection, perspective taking, community, and care.  Advocates design and implement programs, engage our communities in multiple perspectives, and serve as an advocate for themself, community, and the environment.  Click to learn more about each position:

dCenter dAdvocate, 10 hrs /week, 3 positions

CAVE dAdvocate, 10hrs/week, 1 position 

CAVE Community Advocate, 5hrs/week, 5 positions

Community Garden dAdvocate, 10hrs/week, 2 position

Apply on the “Advocate Application

International Peer Advisor

International Peer Advisors (IPA) assist in the development and implementation of International Student Orientation (ISO). IPAs also develop and implement separate activities for international students beyond orientation and promote increased participation in existing on-campus programs among international students. During the semester, each IPA will plan at least one on-campus or off-campus activity and invite new students to participate. Each IPA will collaborate with International Student Services Interns, Diversity Advocates and other student leaders to facilitate activities. Overall, IPAs are expected to be a role model for new students and facilitate a positive transition process to PLU.  IPA applicants must be continuing students.

View the full IPA position description.

Apply on the ” Rieke Scholar Application” and select “Current Student – IPA” for supplemental questions.

Contact: Heather Jacobson, Coordinator of International Student Services, hjacobson@plu.edu, x7122

Interfaith Advocates 

This position is open to all students, including both those of a particular faith tradition and those who do not identify with any religious tradition.

Interfaith work is a key part of our vocation at  PLU, a university defined by the tradition of Lutheran Higher Education, which values learning in community, multiple perspectives, and bringing our whole selves to our educations. Interfaith Scholars are student leaders at PLU who embrace these values, and are committed to cultivating dialog and partnership around issues of religion and spirituality. They develop partnerships with religiously diverse individuals and groups in an effort to foster community and learning across intersectional identities. Interfaith Scholars will identify areas of need on campus around interfaith issues by using university data; as well as through collaboration with the Interfaith Working Group, student groups (clubs and organizations), and other campus partners. Based on these areas of need, they will support or create activities that provide opportunities for all members of our community to grow in their appreciation and understanding of religious and spiritual traditions, including those other than their own. Interfaith scholars also will identify and engage opportunities to consider the intersection of religious and spiritual identities with other salient social identities (i.e race, ethnicity, class, gender identity, sexuality, citizenship, ability, etc) that PLU community members express and experience.

View Full Interfaith Advocate Description

Apply on the ” Rieke Scholar Application” and select “Interfaith Advocate” for supplemental questions.

Contact: Jen Rude, University Pastor 253-535-7465


PLUS 100 is designed to be an exclusive space for incoming students to establish goals and develop a plan for success during their first year at PLU. This course is designed to identify and overcome unforeseen barriers in adjusting to college academic and social life. You will build community connections, academic support and personal wellness skills within the context of PLU values of diversity, justice and sustainability.  PLUS 100 Teaching Assistants will support the following Fall 2021 courses:

  • Students of Color – Tuesdays 10-11:30am
  • First in the Family – Thursdays 10-11:30am 
  • Commuter Students – Thursdays 4-5:30pm

View Full PLUS 100 Teaching Assistant Description

Apply on the “Rieke Scholar Application” and select “PLUS 100 TA” for supplemental questions

Apply to become a Rieke Scholar

All Applicants must submit an online application form including:

  • Updated Resume
  • Response to short answer questions about interest in the Rieke Scholarship

First time applicants, additionally, must include:

  • 2 letters of reference – Letters should be from individuals who can provide an official evaluation of your leadership activities that demonstrate leadership in promoting racial and ethnic diversity, and social justice, such as teachers, professors, pastors, community leaders, and/or guidance counselors.  Letters from family members will not be considered.  Letters of reference must have been written within the last six months prior to the date of application and address the Rieke Leadership Scholarship.

  • Recipients must be full-time students
  • Recipients must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Renewal of the award is not automatic. A complete application packet must be submitted for consideration for each academic year
  • The information in the application must be no more than 2 years old
  • Application deadlines are firm. It is the applicant’s responsibility to meet the deadlines as they are stated
  • The Selection Committee’s decision is final

Apply today

March 22 – Applications due for new PLU students
May 2 – Applications due for Continuing dCenter Riekes, Interfaith Advocates, & IPA
May 16 – Applications due for Advocates

Submit Reference

2020-2021 Rieke Scholars

Alicia Vergara Medina `22

Portland, OR (she, her)
A DSJ issue that matters to me is diversity, inclusion, and representation throughout campus. As a community we could improve in bringing understanding the diversity on campus without disaffirming isolation of any specific cultural group; and facilitating in uncomfortable conversations that are needed in order to include and support everyone on campus.

Brandon Ducusin `24

Business and Religious Studies
Federal Way, WA (he, him)
One issue that is important to me is equity within all religions. People should not face discrimination within religious institutions based on their ethnicity, culture, or sexual orientation. I hope to understand other people and different beliefs better so that I might form my a more holistic personal perspective.

Cece Chan `23

Education, minor Critical Race Studies

Seattle, WA (she, her)
I am super passionate about furthering anti-racism within our education system. I believe that curriculums, teachers, and overall environments centered in racial justice have the possibility to change hearts and build leaders that break down dividing walls into bridges of solidarity and community.

Destiny Silas `21

Business Management, Minors Sociology , Innovation Studies

Las Vegas , NV (she, her)
A DJS issue that matters to me is pretty much all of them. However , at the moment with everything going on Diversity issues touch me the most & bring so much passion to me. This in regards to diversity issues in various aspects.

Hannah Si'itia ʻ22

Computer Science and Political Science
Orting, Washington (she, her)
A DJS issue that matters to me is the healing, safety, and justice to victims of sexual assault. Black women and trans women are affected by this trauma at higher rates and often face far more barriers in receiving proper support to heal. I’m passionate about advocating for these survivors and finding spaces that empower and uplift them.

Keisha Laguer Vandessppooll ʻ22

Psychology and Hispanic Studies
Bayamón, Puerto Rico (she, her)
A DJS issue that matters to me is the lack of support and community that marginalized groups have. As a person with intersectional and marginalized identities that has experienced the lack thereof, I know and understand how important they are in people’s lives, and the difficulties of attempting to support yourself within communities that lack support and representation, as many times individuals don’t feel like they are a part of the community. The communities that I have at PLU, such as the Diversity Center, the CGE, Lute Nation, BSU, etc., have helped me to grow and learn more about myself, given me motivation in many things other than academics, and have given me places where I can be myself.

Mary Sarpong ʻ22

Global Studies, minor Communications
Las Vegas, NV (she, they)
Cultural awareness has been on the forefront on my mind recently. I feel that it doesn’t take much to learn about other cultures and be respectful towards them.

Luis Reyes ʻ22

Environmental Studies and Biology
Pasco, WA (he, him)
DJS to me means having a world rich in culture and ethnicities where constant conscious action is taken to take care of the earth while at the same time keeping minorities and their communities safe from discrimination and harmful cooperation decisions.

Nicole Query ʻ22

History and Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Graham, WA (she, her)
Claiming to value diversity without by allowing a variety of people doing the work of learning why people are different is only doing half the work. Working towards understanding and accepting differences, while also learning why and how these differences affects people’s ability and opportunity to live in this world is another. I think more work needs to be done to help others understand their privilege and how it interacts with their ability to promote acceptance, love, and diversity.

Richard Oeun ʻ22

Psychology Major, minor  Native American and Indigenous Studies
Tacoma, WA(he, him)
Broadly I am interested in stereotype threat and prejudice (i.e. racism, sexism, etc). Specifically, I would like to study prejudice against Native Americans within a psychological framework. I understand that Native American and Indigenous issues have been glossed over for many years despite being present since time immemorial.

Shadiamon Barnes ʻ23

Tacoma, WA (she, her)
A DJS issue that matters to me is inclusion within institutions. It’s important that everyone from different walks of life feel accepted and worthy especially where they are receiving an education. During these tough times, it’s critical that this and other principles are practiced and implemented for a better community and increased engagement.

Yvonne Markub ʻ21

Social Work
Koror, Palau (she, her)
A DJS issue that matters to me is the invisibility of Pasifika voices in many spaces, especially nonIndigenous. This issue matters to me because Pasifika is globally underserved, neglected, and unrecognized due to modern colonialism, globalization, and a world extractive economy.

Naomi Atnafu ʻ23

Political Science and Global Studies, minor in Economics
Las Vegas, NV (she, her)
The lack of representation in faculty and students within higher education is something I have always found important. In order for more people of diversified backgrounds to succeed, they should be able to get support and inspiration from people that walked similar paths as them.

Andres Pedro ʻ22

Portland, Oregon (he, him)
A DJS issue that matters to me is conversing to people about immigrant rights. I hold this issue close to me, because my parents were once immigrants.

Casiana Lucero ʻ24

Las Vegas, Nevada (she, her)
An issue that matters to me would be the treatment of minorities today. I want to see a world where there is not hatred and disgust towards those who are ‘different’.

Claudia Gomez ʻ21

Communications, concentration in Media Studies, minors Sociology and Social Work
Kent, WA (she, her)
An issue that matters most to me is our unfair and broken Justice system. People of Color are treated much differently when they are faced with law enforcement and a judge. 

Elijah Noel Paez ʻ24

Tacoma, WA (he, him)
An individual’s value is not defined by their role in the job market. With the limitless diversity in the human experience, people need to share their unique perspectives through learning, exploring, and creating. The development of the sciences, humanities, and inclusive advocacy should be a societal responsibility, rather than funds exclusively being directed for pursuits to amass wealth.

Laura Karwon ʻ23

Honolulu, HI (sher, her)
A DJS issue that matters to me would be the importance of connecting more often instead of correcting. Living in a diverse America has opened my eyes to appreciate, reinforce, and carry out my cultural identity by finding the right and willing connections to enhance one another by the way of listening and learning to walk the talk.

Jack Johnson ʻ22

Sociology, minor Communications
Tacoma, WA(they, them)
I’m interested in the involvement of queer and trans folks in athletics and the fact that they should participate on the team that most resembles their gender, as well as the stigma surrounding that. I’m also interested on how we can talk about the divide between upper and lower campus.

Macy Delahoussaye ʻ24

Gig Harbor, WA (she, her)
The diversity inclusiveness and acceptance at PLU is exemplary and something that our school is well known for. However 68% of the school consists of caucasian students while the rest are minorities. Although this is far from a big issue, I would like to promote more diversity inclusiveness in hopes to recruit more people of color to PLU!

Mathæus Andersen ʻ21

Theatre major, Dance minor
Copenhagen, Denmark
I love community and I love to have great discussions. As an international I love to understand the American society more.

Paphawee Chungtrakool ʻ21

Kinesiology concentration Exercise Science
Bangkok, Thailand (she, her)
Equal opportunities to everyone on campus. Perhaps, a more affordable college tuition.

Rosario Yoson ʻ23

Economics major, minors Communication and Studio Art (Ceramics)
Seattle, WA (they, them)
Access to resources matters a great deal to me- whether it be food, housing, finances, or something else. When people have what they need, and feel safe and secure, it creates a space for them to thrive.

Syd Caplinger ʻ21

Anthropology and Global Studies, minor Peace Corps Prep
Astoria, OR (they, she)
This is a hard question to answer just because there are so many DJS issues that all deserve attention and resources. Academically, I have chosen to inform myself the most in regard to equitable labor rights or the lack of…

Regan Nguyen ʻ23

Dallas, OR  (she, her)
Representation, including that of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, body types, and all the other areas that make us diverse as humans, is one DJS issue close to my heart. I feel that representation in extremely important not only in the media, but in everyday aspects of life. As someone who grew up in a place where it was difficult to find reflections of myself, it means a lot to able to encourage diversity and one day contribute myself as a nurse.

Kasey Gardner ʻ22

Tacoma, WA (she, her)
I am really passionate about disability justice, while recognizing that all forms of oppression are intersectional. I am so excited to work to build a more just and equitable learning environment for all of our campus community!

Annika Matias ʻ20

Saipan, MP (she, her)
A DJS issue that significantly matters to me is the lack of accessibility to proper healthcare for the BIPOC community and for individuals that fall into the low-income category. As a first-gen Asian-American Pacific Islander from a low-income background, being able to pursue a healthcare-related college education (and to be able to engage and educate myself more on DJS issues such as these) is just one of the many steps I am taking to break this barrier. The big goal is to provide free healthcare access as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Ayana Freeman ʻ21

Environmental Studies, Hispanic Studies and Peace Corp Prep minors
Federal Way, WA (she, her)
Out of the many DJS issues I am passionate about, one is the lack of sustainable living in the U.S. Almost every aspect of the “American way of life” is problematic, from water use to food waste. I’m always interested in learning more about this topic and how I can inspire others to live more sustainably.

Cassie Duren ʻ23

Music Performance
Napavine, Washington (They, Them)
One DJS issue that matters to me is LGBTQ+ representation, particularly intersectional representation. What I’ve often seen is that queer representation can look very white and able-bodied, and doesn’t often represent the many minorities that can be found within the LGBTQ+ community. This is an issue I’m really passionate about exploring and working to fix.

Damad Poteri ʻ24

Boise, Idaho (He, Him)
Immigration justice and reform matters a lot to me because my parents had a lot of troubles immigrating here. With the genocide in Bosnia, my parents sought asylum in the United States, it was a tough/stressful process. 

Elizabeth Elliott ʻ22

Biology, minor Women’s and Gender Studies
Kent, WA (she, her)
A DJS issue that matters to me is the injustices and vulnerabilities individuals encounter based on their identities and the work find a way to reflect on their identity and interactions. It is also important with this reflection of vulnerabilities to engage with the communities inside and outside a group to better construct identities to serve individuals which I hope to lead with challenging conversations and creating spaces.

Jasmine Kunda ʻ24

Biology, pre-med
Helena, Montana (she, her)
The DJS issues that matter the most to me is advocating to bring equality to everyone, and help teach people that diversity is amazing. I also want to help make the planet sustainable. By bring awareness to these issues I believe we can make the planet a safer and cleaner place.

Lilly Torrez-Lucio ʻ22

Social Work
Tacoma, Washington (she, her)
A DJS issue that matters to me is diversity representation across all identities that are often underrepresented and misunderstood intentionally or unintentionally in privilege. I believe that DJS is especially important in building community that can exist in harmony and be productive. When this DJS issue of under and misrepresented identities continues it means I am personally affected with others who have underrepresented Identities.

Maria Gordon ʻ24

Communication, minor Political science
Hartford, WI (she, her)
Immigration and DACA are issues I am passionate about. I was adopted from Guatemala when I was 1 year old and fortunate enough to obtain citizenship easier than most immigrants. In the future, I hope to provide immigrants with legal support and advocate for DACA recipients because all they want is a better life and future just like me.

Mikayla Nagy ʻ21

Global Studies with Trans-nationalism Concentration, minor Political Science
Monroe, WA
One particular DJS issue that matters to me is free access to education that promotes the values of diversity, justice, and sustainability to all people. This is why I became a part of PACE and have volunteered with the Center for Gender Equity throughout all my years here at PLU. PACE promotes education while empowering students, advancing gender-justice, and fostering campus leadership.

Rahel Ambahcew ʻ22

Seatac, WA (she, her)
Justice matters to me because without it there is no peace and a sense of belonging. Justice is the most essential part of a society and I believe as decent human beings we should all strive to work towards serving justice and push institutions to do the same.

Rosemary Ireson ʻ22

Environmental Studies & Geosciences, minor Women’s and Gender Studies
Petaluma, CA (she, her/they, them)
Queer justice is important to me as someone who identifies as queer. While rights and representation are important, they are often the only issues people focus on, and it’s important to remember that more than just rights and representation are needed.

Victoria Owens ʻ22

Studio Art and Communications
Houston, TX (she, they)
A DJS fight that is vital to me is the health and safety of people of color in the US. The issue stems from various denials of access that make living in good health nearly impossible for the people who have been oppressed and erased for centuries in this country. I want to be able to help systematically oppressed communities gain access to better healthcare, safe and whole foods, self-care prioritization, and more so that more people can thrive against the design of US systems.

Shalom Wundimu ʻ22

Environmental Studies, minor Chemistry
Las Vegas, NV (she, her)
Without a doubt, environmental injustice is a DJS issue that I continue to be captivated by. The complex blend between justice and sustainability are concepts that I explore within my studies and hope to gain more insight on!

Skye Cordero ʻ23

Philosophy, minor French
Spokane WA (she, her)
A DJS issue that matters to me exploitation of the global south from the global northwest. The west takes advantage of the global south for labor and resources.