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Release: Immediate

UI's Mizuhara award recipients announced

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa City residents Luis Sierra and Linda Walking Woman are the recipients of this year's Mariko Mizuhara Award for Cross-Cultural Understanding, given by the University of Iowa Office of International Education and Services (OIES).

Two awards are given annually in memory of Mariko Mizuhara, a music major from Japan who died unexpectedly in 1992. Mizuhara was a student at the UI from 1988-1992.

Mizuhara's parents, Shunji and Noriko Mizuhara, established a memorial fund for the awards. The awards are given annually to organizations or individuals who have gone beyond their normal professional job duties to promote cross-cultural understanding, appreciation for diversity and cooperation among culturally diverse groups.

Sierra, a special education associate at City High School, works with a wide variety of students with diverse needs and from various ethnic backgrounds. He also serves as City High's assistant drama coach and the Paint and Patches director. He has assisted various language arts and social studies teachers with drama related activities and helps Spanish teachers with activities for Hispanic Awareness Week. His love of drama has also lead to acting endeavors with both the UI and Riverside Theater. His nomination papers read, "His productions have such vitality with the cross-cultural element always present."

In fact, Latino/Hispanic Awareness Week did not exist at City High beyond Spanish classes, until Sierra got involved. Sierra also devoted a great deal of time to The Multicultural Nonsexist student organization. He has also helped with a multicultural puppet show and has done much to build contact with Latino students at City High.

Walking Woman, a UI graduate student in science education, has volunteered and performed for thousands of children and adults at local libraries and schools. She is famous for her coyote storytelling, Native American dances, beadwork demonstrations and stories about Native American horticulture.

When Walking Woman was a child, her mother and grandmother told stories about the coyote and the horned toad, but the tradition was dying, so Walking Woman, a Lipan Apache, has been adapting stories from the Lipan Apache Coyote Cycle of tales.

The two awards of $200 will be given at the UI OIES foreign student graduation reception at noon Friday, May 16, for activities that took place between August 1996 and April 1997. Those nominating a person or organization may nominate more than one person. Self-nominations are encouraged. Nominations can be either U.S. or international students or groups.