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In the Loop
Faculty News : Jul 23, 2018

Excellence Award for Assistant Professors awarded to dance professor Trent D. Williams, Jr.

By Bismarie Plasencia (BSA '19)

Assistant Professor Trent D. Williams, Jr. was recently nominated and awarded the Excellence Award for Assistant Professor for spring 2018.

The award includes a $5,000 grant to be used for research-related expenses. The selection committee, made up of faculty members across campus, focused on the quality and innovativeness of the research and sought to balance the diverse intellectual streams the candidates represented, according to Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Joseph Glover.

"I was thoroughly shocked and super excited when I was first told about the award,” Williams said. “It was amazing to be recognized both nationally and internationally because of the all the hard work and dedication I do in the School of Theatre + Dance.

When Williams is not in the classroom, he is traveling the world helping those in need through the art of dance. The U.S. Embassy recently funded his two trip to Trinidad and Tobago where he held workshops and performed at the Coco Dance Festival. Each trip, he brought one SOTD student, who had the unique opportunity of performing at the festival and assisting Williams with his workshops at La Seiva Primary School.

Williams also works on a continuing project in Rwanda through the Center of Arts and Medicine (CAM). Together with CAM Director Jill Sonke, Williams travels to Rwanda to assist the Amaharo troupe with forming a dance troupe for the purpose of raising money to support their families and loved ones.

"I believe the breadth of my research that made me stand out is the work I do with the Center of Arts and Medicine,” Williams said. “It highlights the community outreach that I do.”

Williams is looking forward to utilizing the grant for future trips to Rwanda and his research projects. He thanked Dr. Mikell Pinkney, Dr. Jerry Dickey, his colleagues, and dance area for all their love and support.

“Very special thanks to Dean Lavelli,” Williams said. “She has been so supportive of my endeavors and such a great advocate."