Each spring, the CEHD Alumni Society recognizes the outstanding achievements of our alumni at the Exceptional Alumni Awards Celebration. During the awards celebration, the Alumni Awards of Excellence, Rising Alumni Awards and the Distinguished International Alumni Award are recognized.
Christina T. Kwauk (she/her) is a social scientist and policy analyst with expertise on girls’ education, 21st century skills and youth empowerment, sport for development, and the intersections of gender, education, and climate change. She is co-editor of Curriculum and Learning for Climate Action: Toward an SDG 4.7 Roadmap for Systems Change and co-author of What Works in Girls’ Education: Evidence for the World’s Best Investment. She has published numerous policy papers, including “The new green learning agenda: Approaches to quality education for climate empowerment.” Christina is an education consultant and research director at Unbounded Associates. Formerly, she was a fellow at Brookings and head of climate and education at The Education Commission.
Dr. Damir S. Utrzan is Manager of Mental Health Services and adjunct assistant professor at the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies. In his role as manager, Dr. Utrzan oversees various operational aspects of care delivery. Dr. Utrzan was director of an intensive residential treatment services facility operated by the Minnesota Department of Human Services prior to his current role with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. He worked closely with various stakeholders to ensure effective delivery of care and uphold licensing requirements from the Minnesota Department of Health and The Joint Commission.
Dr. Utrzan concurrently serves as an unaffiliated research scientist on the Institutional Review Board in the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Minnesota. He has also served as a consulting research scientist and grant reviewer with the Administration for Children and Families in the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Utrzan has authored several peer-refereed journal articles and book chapters, along with presentations for various professional organizations.
Larry Johnson (he/him/his) is a storyteller, educator, and business owner who has managed outdoor education programs, directed CCTV and community cable operations, and produced numerous radio and TV shows, mainly around issues and local storytellers. He started the "teller-friendly" participatory patient TV channel at Mpls.Children’s Hospital in the mid 70s and then taught storytelling and video in the Mpls. schools for over 20 years. Much of his work engages themes of environmental awareness, social justice, and conflict resolution.
Dr. Kristin Morris (she/her) is CEO & Principal Consultant of Genesis Consulting Services, LLC. She has been teaching adults for 13 years, merging theory and practice to foster a robust learning experience and environment for students. In her 16 years of leadership experience, she is most proud of winning the Provider of the Year Award for Ramsey County.
Takehito Kamata conducts research on international collaborative research and involves in a wide range of international collaborative initiatives and projects such as the Strategic Alliance of Catholic Research Universities (SACRU), the MIRAI 2.0 (Swedish and Japanese universities), and other international initiatives to promote internationalization in higher education across nations. He is also the Founding International Collaboration URA (University Research Administrator) affiliated with the Center for Research Promotion & Support at Sophia University. He earned his PhD in higher education from the University of Minnesota. He also earned his B.S. in political science and international relations and M.P.A. in public administration from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Alumni award recipients were interviewed in advance of the Exceptional Alumni Awards Celebration on April 20.