“Academic staff are gifted teachers, award-winning researchers and dedicated administrators,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “We depend upon them to have a vision that extends well beyond their own departments and, indeed, often well beyond campus. They are critical thinkers and creative problem solvers who see limitless opportunities for collaboration, innovation and advancement of the university’s mission.”
Araceli Alonso wears several impressive hats: anthropologist, nurse, global health advocate. Many UW–Madison students would add another: favorite teacher.
For many years, Alonso taught the course Women and Their Bodies in Health and Disease, imbuing the flagship offering in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies with great rigor and great heart. Each year, 700 or more students enroll; hundreds more are on a waiting list. This semester, she is teaching Global Women’s Health and Human Rights, as well as two courses at the School of Medicine and Public Health. Many students have been inspired to forge careers in global health after taking her classes. “She is that teacher who changes everything for a student. The one they never forget,” says Lori DiPrete Brown, distinguished faculty associate and director of Women & Wellbeing in Wisconsin & the World.
Alonso’s humanitarianism led her to create “Health by Motorbike,” a much-heralded program that has improved the health of thousands of impoverished Kenyans and changed the lives of the UW–Madison students who travel there to aid the effort. Other students accompany Alonso to Spain and Morocco to study human trafficking. Most recently, she spearheaded the effort to create the UNESCO Chair in Gender, Wellbeing and a Culture of Peace, which she co-directs within the department.