Faculty member, students honored by YWCA Kalamazoo for their positive impact

Contact: Chris Hybels

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Three women from Western Michigan University's College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) are set to be recognized by YWCA Kalamazoo during their Women of Achievement Awards Celebration on Thursday, May 23. Students Genesis Griffin and Breyana Wilson, alongside Dr. Carla Adkison-Johnson, professor of counselor education, will receive awards for their leadership and positive change within their communities.

"We are incredibly proud of the individuals being honored by the YMCA," says Dr. Laura Dinehart, dean of CEHD. "Their dedication and contributions to the community exemplify the highest standards of excellence and service. We are congratulate them on this well-deserved recognition!"

Griffin and Wilson will each be receiving a Young Women of Achievement Award which is given to young women who have shown personal leadership while overcoming obstacles or barriers, made contributions to their school and community, and demonstrated qualities of character and thought consistent with YWCA's mission and vision. Honorees are selected from nominations sent in by Kalamazoo-area high school, college and University employees.

Adkison-Johnson will be receiving a 2024 Women of Achievement Award which is given to women in the community who have demonstrated a lifetime of outstanding contributions to the well-being of the community, state or nation and have a record of accomplishment, leadership and positive role modeling as volunteers and/ or in their careers.


Left to right are Genesis Griffin and Breyana Wilson.

Genesis Griffin has a strong community voice serving as a panelist on the National Day of Racial Healing, a recurring panelist on Truth Talks hosted by Truth Racial Healing and Transformation of Kalamazoo, an advisor for the Kalamazoo County Youth Cabinet and co-leading the Youth Entrepreneurship program, Parents United. She has demonstrated profound leadership abilities through her work with Kalamazoo Youth Development  Network. Griffin shows up as her authentic self and works tirelessly to ensure she creates spaces for others to do the same. She is pursuing her bachelor of science degree in youth and community development and hopes to continue to serve Kalamazoo youth by creating an anti-racist community where all youth thrive.


Breyana Wilson is actively engaged in her community, serving as former Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chair of WMU’s Black Student Union; former president of WMU's Future Teachers of Color RSO, and current president of the Delta Chi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Additionally, she’s a newly appointed Board Member for Confident S.O.L.E. (Strengthening Our Ladies in Excellence). As an active mentor, tutor and advocate for education and mental health, Wilson prioritizes the wellness of women and girls. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in educational leadership and continue her impactful work at The Kalamazoo Promise as a pathway coach.


Dr. Carla Adkison-Johnson

Dr. Carla Adkison-Johnson is a tenured professor in the Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology at WMU and was the previous department chair. She is nationally known for her research on culturally competent counseling and child discipline in African American families. She is the current editor-in-chief of the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, a flagship journal of the American Counseling Association. In 2017, she received CEHD's Distinguished Scholar Award.

Adkison- Johnson serves as a consultant, clinician and collaborator with multiple agencies, family court, medical and legal organizations across the country to strengthen their abilities to offer culturally responsive services. She currently serves as President of the Kalamazoo Chapter of the Links Incorporated and is a proud member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

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