The DEI Awards were established to acknowledge the significant contributions of students, faculty, and staff who play a pivotal role in advancing diversity and inclusion.
Friday, October 20, 2023

The University of Iowa College of Law is proud to announce recipients of the 2023 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Awards. These individuals have been nominated and selected for their outstanding efforts in fostering a diverse and inclusive community within the law school. 

Neda Barrett, senior HR director and director of DEI, explained these awards were part of the action plan set forth by the Iowa Law Antiracist Action Committee (ILARAC) in 2020. 

“We are excited to continue recognizing those whose exceptional efforts have significantly contributed to an inclusive and diverse community within the law school. The four awardees have shown relentless dedication and played an integral role in fostering a sense of belonging, setting an inspiring example for others to follow. They each serve as a testament to the enduring commitment of the College of Law in cultivating a more inclusive environment for all,” said Barrett.  

The DEI Awards were established to acknowledge the significant contributions of current full-time students, faculty, and staff members who have played a pivotal role in advancing diversity and inclusion at Iowa Law. The awards committee also sought out those who have demonstrated their commitment by introducing innovative programs or initiatives that enhance diversity and inclusion within the college. 

Award winners were recognized during law reunion weekend at the DEI reception. 

Associate Dean Adrien Wing headshot

Adrien Wing

Associate Dean for International and Comparative Law Programs Bessie Dutton Murray Professor

Dean Adrien Wing was recognized for the many ways she supports and promotes DEI inside and outside of the law school. She is a faculty mentor, faculty advisor for Iowa Law's Black Law Student Association (BLSA) and helps fosters a culture of inclusion with our international students.

She served as a faculty mentor to our newest visiting associate professors, invigorating Iowa Law's Faculty Fellowship Program and striving to diversify the legal academy. She also regularly presents at Iowa Law's Bridge Program which works to promote diversity in the legal profession.

Globally, she has directed the Arcachon, France Study Abroad Program since 2000, thereby promoting cultural and global diversity as well as inclusion and belonging through international understanding. 

Noelle Sinclair Faculty Photo

Noëlle Sinclair

Head of Special Collections and Adjunct Lecturer in Law 

Noëlle Sinclair is passionate about telling stories of our history, especially those relating to historically underrepresented groups. 

Sinclair was recognized for creating a display in the University of Iowa Law Library to tell the stories of international students at Iowa Law in the 19th century and early 20th century. With the help of many, including the Japanese language assistance from one of our other librarians, Yuka Ohba-Kreiter, Noelle unveiled the display for the spring 2023 semester.

Her efforts connected our current international students to our history and demonstrated our commitment to them and their success is a long-standing Iowa tradition. 

Marisa Leib Neri (23JD)

Marisa Leib-Neri

Iowa Law Class of 2023 

Marisa Leib-Neri is a dedicated advocate for disability rights. She worked at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund and helped research and draft a bill that would provide reparations to disabled Californians who were forcibly sterilized in the state’s hospitals in prisons.

She contributed to the Iowa Law Review by rewriting a section of the diversity language guide for the Iowa Law Review writing and publication conventions to reflect disability positive language updates and increase inclusivity of the Iowa Law Review writing style choices in the realm of disability.

Lieb-Neri served as a research assistant to Clinical Professor Len Sandler, whose work focuses in disability rights, and Professor Anya Prince, whose scholarship focuses in health law and genetics. Professor Anya Prince remarked, Marisa has been “a tireless advocate during her time here at Iowa Law.”

Maya Sanaba Class of 2023

Maya Sanaba

Iowa Law Class of 2023  

Maya Sanaba was recognized for working toward increasing visibility of South Asians in the law. She started a chapter of the South Asian Law Students Associations (SALSA) and has built important relationships with South Asian alumni. 

She also brought together presidents of various affinity student organizations to work collaboratively together. She coordinated a productive discussion among presidents where they learned about the different issues they face and identified ways they could learn from each other and provide support.

Sanaba is a first-generation law student and strives to be a role model for young South Asian students who are interested in pursuing legal careers. During her time at Iowa Law, she served as a mentor to multiple 1Ls to help them find diversity summer associate positions.