Caitlin Strickland, preschool teacher at Rollins’ Child Development and Student Research Center (CDC), received the 2018 Presidential Award for Diversity and Inclusion during the Annual Staff Awards Celebration on Thursday, May 24.
The annual award was established in 2010 as a means of recognizing and honoring students, faculty, and staff for their efforts aimed at promoting diversity awareness, representation, and inclusion within the Rollins workplace and student community.
For the past seven years, Strickland has worked to improve the lives of children with disabilities and increase awareness and promote institutional policies that reinforce inclusiveness.
Her work in this area has been so important that the CDC recently named her an inclusion specialist in addition to her position as lead teacher. In this role, she works closely with children with special needs and their families, therapists, and teachers as well as Rollins undergraduate students to develop plans to support the children’s development at school and home.
Strickland works closely with the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida and seven years ago developed and led a three-week summer camp for preschoolers with Down syndrome. She served as lead teacher for this camp for four consecutive years, and the camp has taken place every summer since its inception.
Earlier this year, Strickland also received a Diversity Infusion Grant to increase awareness of people with disabilities across campus by holding a panel discussion. She is also in the process of co-authoring a training guide for undergraduate students working with children with special needs.
A $500 donation in Strickland’s honor will be made toward an on-campus diversity-and-inclusion initiative or program of her choice.