UVF Professor Recognized for Efforts Concerning Racial and Cultural Issues

by Sarah Cushing - Office of Marketing | May 11, 2016
Dr. Modica
On March 31, the YWCA Tri-County Area organization hosted its 21st award banquet, Tribute to Exceptional Women, at the Spring Hollow Golf Club. University of Valley Forge (UVF) Professor, Marianne Modica, Ph.D., was recognized for her passion and work in racial justice. 

Modica was one of the dozen women, out of 28 nominated, to receive an award that night. Modica’s teaching, writing and research on topics of race and cultural diversity have positively influenced the university and community as she strives to open dialogue about diversity with those who are unfamiliar with the topic. “I was very honored to win and I was also excited to meet other women in the community who are doing really good work in many different areas,” Modica said. 

Laura Simmers ‘05 nominated Modica for the Racial Justice award. Simmers studied early childhood education under Modica and currently serves as YWCA’s education director. The pair kept in touch throughout the years, and when Simmers learned about the nominee categories, she thought of Modica as a natural choice. 
At the sold-out event, the YWCA recognized local women for their leadership and accomplishments. Dara Richardson-Heron, chief executive officer of YWCA USA, was the keynote speaker. The organization’s mission is to eliminate racism and empower women. The nomination opened the door for Modica to connect with like-minded members of the YWCA. “I hope to somehow get involved with the organization,” she said.

In her position at UVF, Modica teaches in the Education department and speaks on racial issues in the classroom. “For me, the best way to talk about issues of race is in the classroom,” Modica said. “The classroom is the place to share ideas … we talk about it in one way or another.” She covers topics such as student identity, gender, ethnicity and religion. She is also a member of UVF’s Diversity Committee, which creates and implements strategies to increase cultural competency and a growing diverse culture on campus and beyond. “We have become a more diverse campus,” Modica said. “And it illustrates the need to talk about these issues because we all come from different experiences.”  The UVF undergraduate student community is 36 percent ethnic minority. 

As a writer, Modica uses her blog, "R is for Race," to invite others who may not know much about issues of race and culture in a diverse world to ask questions and learn. "My goal is to open up the conversation," Modica said. Her first young adult novel, "The R Word," and her academic text "Race Among Friends," have gained national recognition and led her to speaking opportunities about the connection between childhood education and race. Her third book, and first children's book, will be published this summer and talks about a financial crisis from the perspective of a young boy. 

The university is excited to celebrate with Modica this honor and recognition as she continues to educate others about racial and cultural issues as UVF becomes a more diverse community.