Hossna Sadat Ahadi is named the 2021 winner of a prestigious award from the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.

SAN MARCOS — Palomar College faculty member and counselor Hossna Sadat Ahadi has been chosen to receive the 2021 Stanback-Stroud Diversity Award from the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC).

The honor comes after several years of work by Sadat Ahadi to advance equity and inclusion at the college, and she was chosen from a long list of faculty nominees from across California.

She said that receiving news of the award afforded her “a moment to reflect on the inequities that our students of color continue to experience in the community college setting.”

“After experiencing racism firsthand as a student, I knew as an educator and activist I couldn’t allow another 20 years to go by and hear my students share their experiences of being racially minoritized and marginalized.”

In addition to the ASCCC award, Sadat Ahadi was recently honored with the Palomar College Faculty Senate Scholarly & Professional Achievement Award. In bestowing that award, the Faculty Senate cited five of her scholarly articles and her 2019 dissertation, “Unveiling the Phenomenology of Afghan Women in Community College.” She also received the “Community Champion” award from the Palomar Faculty Federation.

Sadat Ahadi is a first-generation college graduate, who is also transnational, multicultural, and multilingual. Her colleagues describe her as an equity-minded leader and an advocate for social justice.

She leads professional development workshops at Palomar focused on racial equity, and has recently been instrumental in forming several campus groups to address systemic racism.

“Hossna has been championing our students and promoting inclusion and equity at Palomar for five years now, and these awards are absolutely deserved on her part,” said Interim Superintendent/President Dr. Jack Kahn.

“During the worldwide pandemic of Covid-19, I have been busy virtually with speaking engagements, organizing campus and community events, leading training webinars while also teaching and counseling students and taking care of my family” said Sadat Ahadi, who has now won six awards during the pandemic.

In the classroom, she said, she elevates students’ voices to share their counterstories and counternarratives of experiencing injustice. Her research, training, and activism stems from listening to students’ experiences and finding ways to dismantle barriers they are confronted with.

She has published research and presented numerous professional development workshops, spoken at conferences, and led trainings on eradicating racism in the education system, decolonizing pedagogy, elevating student voices, and providing racial healing circles.