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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.

'22-'23 Due Dates

March 27 – New Student Applications Due

April 17 – Continuing Students Applications Due 

  • 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 27 – Applications due for new PLU students
April 17- Applications due for Continuing dCenter Riekes, Interfaith Advocates, & IPA

Submit Reference

2020-2021 Rieke Scholars

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.

Maggie Nieberger ʻ23

Religion & Global Studies
Erie, Colorado (she, her)
An issue that matters to me is the lack of inclusion of queer people in public spaces, specifically in the church. As a campus ministry student worker and Lutheran, it is incredibly important to me that queer people and others who have felt marginalized and discriminated against by the church feel welcomed and heard.

Cas Hebert ʻ23

Port Orchard, WA (she, her)
I am very passionate about environmental justice and sustainability! I hope to learn more ways PLU and communities can integrate sustainable practices and learn how different communities and cultures navigate sustainability historically and presently.

Dylan Ruggeri ʻ23

Environmental Studies, Political Science, and Theatre
Palm City, FL (they,he)
Climate justice is an intersectional issue that impacts all areas of DJS. Climate justice is critical for racial justice, queer justice, gender justice, ability justice, and of course: sustainability. As a queer climate justice advocate, it is essential to me that more spaces are created where a diverse array of people and experiences are talking about the climate, not just white environmentalists.

Rosemary Ireson ʻ22

Geosciences & Gender, Sexuality and Race Studies
Petaluma, CA (shey,they)
Increasing diversity in STEM fields is important to me. I’m specifically interested in making changes to STEM culture so it is a more welcoming place for people of all different identities and backgrounds.

Casiana Lucero ʻ24

Business Administration
Las Vegas, NV (she, her)
Mental health in the BIPOC community is a DJS issue that I feel is very important. By opening up as a community, this conversation can become a norm rather than taboo.

Elijah Noel Paez ʻ24

Mathematics & Environmental Studies
Tacoma, WA (he,him)
I am passionate about exploring human social systems, especially their relation within the broader environmental world. The unique perspectives that stem from the limitless diversity of our experiences should fuel constant reconsiderations of our beliefs. Promotion of the sciences, humanities, and inclusive advocacy should be a societal responsibility, rather than a means to a material end.

Stephanie Hernandez ʻ22

Auburn, WA (she,her)

Victoria Parsons ' 24

Elementary Education
Spanaway, WA (she,her)
A DJS issue that matters to me is the lack of discussion about the struggles and violence that people of color face. The more people who are involved in the discussion about this, the more chances there are for change.

Adalid Martinez '22

Auburn, WA (she,her)
Justice is what I feel is the most important issue, not only within in our community and racism, but also in court and higher places of law.

Kiah Miller '23

Religion & Social Work
Colfax, WA (she,her)
A DJS issue that matters to me particularly is religious diversity and decolonization within religious spaces. It is important to me to uplift and honor multiple voices and perspectives from varying traditions so that we can learn from each other and work in community toward a more peaceful and just world.

Rosario Yoson '23

Seattle, WA (he,him)
I see the system of capitalism as the root source of injustice right now. The fact that most people cannot afford basic needs, education, healthcare and child care is a continuing cycle of violence that will continue unless our current system is radically changed. I need to know if it can change.

Jasmine Kunda '24

Helena, MT (she, her)
A DJS issue that matters to me is fighting against the racism and suppression of minorities. Also learning about different DJS issues that happen in our current events.

Luis Reyes '23

Environmental Studies & Biology
Pasco, WA (he,him)
A DJS issue that matters to me is environmental racism. Oftentimes, waste or toxic sites tend to be in the proximity of marginalized communities. This can cause multiple complications to those who are living near these pollution sites, but the most apparent one is the health for these humans.

Jaxon Smith '25

Toppenish, WA (he,him)
The unwillingness of others to accept or fully embrace cultures the student is not used to or is not willing to open up to. The issue with that is that because of these closed mindsets, students are missing out on great experiences and opportunities they would have not experienced otherwise

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.

Camilee Boland ʻ25

Great Falls,MT (she/her)
As an Asian-American, the spread of asian hate hits close to home. Due to the pandemic, asian hate has unfortunately escalated due to false information, assumptions, and poor leadership. Whether an Asian-American or not, discrimination against any group is unacceptable.

Zoe Bucher ʻ24

Social Work
Tacoma, WA (she/they)
A DJS issue that matters to me is the fight for racial equality. Being an Asian American myself, I have seen the power people’s voices have to combat racism and discrimination, and I am hopeful that my generation has the power to end it.

Jessica Morales ʻ23

Federal Way, WA (she/her)
One of the issues I value most is representation across all identities, especially to those that are often underrepresented and undervalued. I believe representation within all races, ethnicities, sexualities, gender identities, and body types, is extremely important not only in the media, but to inspire the next generation of scholars to see themselves in those positions. Representation could go a long way in continuing to celebrate differences within and outside of our PLU community.

Regan Nguyen ʻ23

Dallas, OR (she/her)
Intersectionality was a DJS topic introduced to me as first year Rieke scholar and has stuck with me ever since. When it comes to creating impactful social justice work, I believe that acknowledging diverse and overlapping identities and experiences will make a major difference.

Mindy Tieu ʻ24

Hillsboro, OR (she/her)
A DJS issue that matters to me is minority representation and equality. Living through discrimination myself, I would like to empower those who have felt such unjust actions to stand up and be proud of their history and background.

Sophia Barro ʻ22

Elementary Education
University Place, WA (she/her)
A DJS issue that matters to me is the importance of anti-racist education. As a future educator of young people, it is crucial that students and educators use an anti-bias, anti-racist lens when sharing and learning about each other’s identities. Additionally, it is just as important to confront any internalized “single stories” that reveal any unexplored biases and assumptions. Especially as a reading endorsement, I acknowledge the lack of representation to books for and by BIPOC, and understand that having access to these books will further aid the teaching of anti-racism starting in the classroom and beyond.

Mykahla George ʻ25

Theatre, Gender Sexuality and Race Studies
Port Orchard, Washington (she/her)
A DJS issue that matters to me is intersectionality. Issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality are all interwoven. It is important to me that the connections between these topics are considered when talking about social justice.

Monya-Dawn Wilson '22

Tacoma, Washington (she/her)
A DJS issue that matters me is diversity and justice in regards to the healthcare field. These issues are important because of the lack of treatment and microaggressions POC, women, and lower income people encounter just to attain basic healthcare. As someone who wants to be a doctor, it is important to learn and help dismantle the systematic oppression in healthcare to make it a more inclusive and safe place for all.

John Mejia '23

Olympia WA (he, him)
An issue that matters to me is inclusion and representation throughout the US. As a son of immigrants it’s clear to see the effect of the ways minorities are portrayed and how that leads to the way we are viewed and treated by the general public. I believe with better representation, education, and exposure we are able to move towards a better state of community.

Andrumada Edwards '24

Gender, Sexuality, and Race Studies
Seattle, WA (she, her)
I have multiple answers so this question always stumps me. The one that I hold near and dear to my heart is anything concerning black folx, that’s where I started my activism, and that’s where I continue to grow in.

Olivia Tate '24

Loveland, CO (she, her)

Nicole Query '22

History and Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Graham, WA (she, they)

Respecting the native folks of any land requires more than just an acknowledgement that their lands were stolen. More work needs to be done to dismantle oppressive systems and work in community with native folks as leaders, especially in terms of accepting different ways of knowing.

Laura Karwon '23

Republic of the Marshall Islands (she, her)

A DJS issue that matters to me is the ability to sustain one’s cultural identity, values, and practices through life despite the impacts of modern economical changes and colonialism influences that might hinder and devalue this type of Identity that can be a tool. I believe we all could learn form one another by willingly connecting to the right interrelation to enhance one another by the way of listening and applying to issues we have because of diversity. In order to walk the talk and leave less room for injustice.

Rayleah Trice ʻ25

Biology, Chemistry, Psychology
Woodland, WA (she/her)
I am very passionate about mental health and believe that everyone should get the support they deserve. There are many groups of people who don’t have the same opportunities for support as others and it’s important that we recognize that and take steps to make care accessible and inclusive.

Zyreal Oliver-Chandler ʻ24

Vocal Performance
Tacoma, WA (He/They)
I strongly believe in increasing diversity within our choral program at PLU. This year, I am the secretary for PLU’s chapter of the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA). Increasing diversity within our repertoire is one of the main goals we are going to strive for in the 2021-22 school year.

Shalom Wundimu ʻ22

Environmental Studies
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!

Jazmin Garcia Hernandez

Tacoma, WA (she, her)
The treatment of minorities within our country is a prominent issue I would like to focus on and feel passionate about. I would like to move forward to erase our walls of hatred between us.

Jane Davi '23

Musical Theatre
Fall City, WA (she, her)
While no one word or movement can encapsulate every worldly issue, a DJS issue that I focus on is environmental justice. This is a bit of cheat answer as it combines multiple DJS issues, but this topic advocates for environmental sustainability while strongly considering people’s social status. Environmental sustainability is nuanced just like the world we live on and the way I choose to view life.

Elizabeth Elliott '22

Kent, WA (she, they)
I am passionate about reforming STEM education. STEM and technology impacts all of us and to center those marginalized is to make better decisions. POC and Queer communities have a history inside STEM that needs to be told, while connecting with these communities today.

Gabriela Vera-Kavanaugh '24

Seattle, WA (she, her)
The inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in everyday activities such as school, play, and the workforce is incredibly important to me. I have seen the impact that both inclusion and exclusion can have on individuals, and the ways inclusion can benefit both disabled and non disabled people.

Jack Johnson '23

Enumclaw, WA (they, them)
One DJS issue that matters to me is trans and gender non-conforming peoples’ participation in sports.

Damad Poteri '24

Boise, ID (he, him)
I care about access to healthcare and fixing the disasters that our healthcare systems have created on our communities. Expansion of mental health services is so important as well. If we can shift from incarceration to healing, our society would benefit in the long run.

Lisa Ha '24

Computer Science and Gender, Sexuality, and Race Studies
Kent, WA (she/her)
A DJS issue that matters to me is the lack of diversity of literature that is promoted and presented to people, especially to children. Minority authors such as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, neurodivergent, etc. writers have to navigate the publishing industry which doesn’t care about them until there is something to profit off of or to maintain good publicity. From a young age, the stories in books and media that get told about people different from you stick around to influence your perception of them so it is really important that we avoid continuing this tradition of passing the erasure of diverse stories and instead, uplift, empower and listen to everyone’s stories and experiences.

Eddi-Ann Bell-Kaopuiki '25

Nursing & Global Studies
Kamuela, HI (she/her)
From a young age, I was fascinated by nurses, doctors and first responders who give assistance and security to those within their community. However, I quickly understood the shortage and ill-impression of women and colored individuals within the medical field. I hope to open the spectrum of gender, ethnicity, and nationality within medicine and inspire young, ambitious minds to fulfill their dreams

Thai Nguyen '22

Human Resources
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Anti-Asian Racism is the issue I am passionate about. In the future, I hope that Asian American community will be treated the same as other ethnicities in this beautiful “Melting-Pot” society.

Kasey Gardner '22

Anthropology and French
Tacoma, WA (she, her)
Over the last year I discovered that food sovereignty is something that I really care about! Everyone deserves access to quality, nutritious food, but even more than that, we all deserve to make informed decisions about how we nourish our bodies and our communities through the food we eat. This also means not shaming people who choose to eat for convenience or enjoy so-called “junk food.”

Gabriel Murray '24

Music Education 
Tacoma, WA (he,him)
Music is essential to almost all walks of life but is continually made inaccessible to most school-aged children due to insufficient funding. As a result, there are minimal opportunities for marginalized groups to participate in music in higher ed. I am interested in working towards changing these inequities through advocating for young musicians.