Claudia Gabriela Rivera, assistant director for diversity, inclusion, and student success in the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business Undergraduate Program Office (UPO), is the recipient of the 2020 Lola Lopes Award for Undergraduate Student Advocacy.
The award recognizes administrators, staff, or faculty outside of their teaching role who serve as strong and effective advocates for undergraduate students and the undergraduate experience. Recipients are selected by a committee of staff, faculty, and a student.
Both in her current role in the Tippie College of Business and in her former role as multicultural specialist in the Center for Diversity and Enrichment (CDE), Rivera has demonstrated a passionate commitment to supporting undergraduate students through advising, mentorship, and advocacy.
In CDE, Rivera helped more than 1,000 students transition successfully to college through her leadership of the Iowa Edge program, which brings new first-year underrepresented minority and first-generation students onto campus one week early for intensive academic preparation.
At Tippie, she co-directs the Tippie Gateway Program, a program to recruit populations underrepresented in business—women as well as first-generation, people of color, and LGBTQ+ students. Her mentorship helps Gateway students begin to believe in their ability to succeed as college students.
She also created the BizEdge Mentoring Program for students of color and first-generation students in Tippie, which connects underrepresented first-year students with peer mentors who help them learn to navigate the college, build community, and network with faculty and alumni. BizEdge helps mentees and mentors alike build confidence, as well as academic and leadership skills. Rivera creates a personal connection with every BizEdge participant, and works to connect students with high impact opportunities such as study abroad, internships, and research. She advocated for a scholarship fund to pay mentors for their mentoring role in BizEdge and to take advantage of high impact opportunities.
Since 2014, she has advised the Alpha Upsilon Chapter of Lambda Theta Nu Sorority and has been instrumental in planning the chapter’s yearly Latina Youth Leadership Conference, which brings middle school students from surrounding communities to campus for workshops that focus on leadership, empowerment, and higher education, and helps students visualize themselves as future college students and graduates.
Rivera will receive a $1,000 honorarium and a certificate, and her name will be added to a plaque that will be displayed in the UI Admission Visitors Center.
The award is named in honor of Lola L. Lopes, former associate provost for undergraduate education and professor emerita of management and organizations in the Tippie College of Business. Lopes served as interim executive vice president and provost during 2007-08.