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Students Earn MLK Jr. Advancing Inclusion through Research Award

February 16, 2022 - Blythe White

Troy Diselrath Aaliyah Buell Dylan McGinnis Cyndal Hussein






This year's awardees pictured left to right: Troy Diselrath, Aaliyah Buell, Dylan McGinnis, Cyndal Hussein

Four Michigan State University students whose research and creative activity supports the ideals of inclusive excellence through topics of inclusion, diversity, marginalized populations, and civil rights, have received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Advancing Inclusion through Research Award.

The award was created in 2010 to highlight the ways in which MSU students follow King’s legacy, using their analytical and creative skills to understand and re-envision the world. Student research and creative projects were considered if they were completed in calendar year 2021 and submitted by members of one of MSU’s three Residential Colleges: Lyman Briggs College, James Madison College, and the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, and/or the Honors College. 

First prize was awarded to Troy Distelrath for research titled, “Whose California Dream? Capital Concentration and Identitarian Housing Inequality in (Peri-)Urban California.” Diselrath is a senior double-majoring in social relations and policy and comparative cultures and politics in James Madison College and is a member of the Honors College. 

Second prize was awarded to Aaliyah Buell for research titled, “Maintaining Community in Culture.” Buell is a junior majoring in arts and humanities in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities. 

Two students were awarded third prize. Dylan McGinnis was honored for research titled, “A Terminal Blow to Racism? The Portrayal of the Civil Rights Movement in Mainstream U.S. History Textbooks and Afrocentric History Textbooks.” McGinnis is a senior majoring in social relations and policy in James Madison College and is a member of the Honors College. 

Cyndal Hussein was also awarded third prize for research titled, “The Case of Yemen’s Muhamasheen and the Consequences of Their Black Identity.” Hussein is a senior majoring in microbiology in Lyman Briggs College. 

“We are proud to recognize students from the four sponsoring colleges, said Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, dean of Lyman Briggs College. “This year’s MLK Jr. Awards go to students grappling with important historical and current issues. In our increasingly polarized country, it is inspiring to see these students’ commitment to exploring topics of racism in education, housing inequality, minoritized populations, and nonviolent activism and community-building.”

“In the context of the three MSU residential colleges, we work collaboratively to advance the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through this longstanding student award, and through programs like the Advancing Racial Equity and Advocacy (AREA) Program, which hosts an annual Teach-In and a racial equity student fellows program.” 

The award-winning students will be recognized at the Martin Luther King Jr. Advancing Inclusion through Research Award Virtual Ceremony, to be held February 23, from 5:15–6:00 p.m. Eastern, via Zoom webinar. To attend, please register