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Indiana Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs honors Purdue’s Nicoletti-Martinez’s outreach and assistance to migrant farm workers

For a career dedicated to assisting migrant farmworkers and their families for over 20 years, Kimber Nicoletti-Martinez was recognized by the Indiana Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs with the L.U.P.E. Award (Leadership, Unity, Professionalism and Excellence) in March. 

Nicoletti-Martinez, principal investigator and director of the Multicultural Efforts to end Sexual Assault (MESA) and Latino outreach coordinator for the National AgrAbility project and for Indiana AgrAbility, was presented with the award at the Indiana State House during a special celebration and acknowledgement of the farmworkers of Indiana.  

Beginning her career as a social worker, Nicoletti-Martinez said her experience in that field was a major motivation for her current roles engaging with farmworkers and their families.  

kimbernicolettimartinez.jpeg“While I was going to college, I worked in migrant education programs, and that experience helped me realize that I was a social worker,” she said. “I learned to step back and analyze what someone’s needs are before I can begin offering my help.” 

Upon arriving at Purdue in the early 2000’s, she identified a gap that she knew she needed to address. 

“The project I was brought in for addressed child sexual abuse in Latino communities, and it didn’t take long for me to ask how this program could get more involved in the migrant farmworkers community,” Nicoletti-Martinez said. “Before I knew it, I was out visiting migrant farmworker camps and giving informational talks so we could better support families with our violence prevention work.” 

"We are immensely proud of Kimber receiving the award from the Indiana Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs," said Rama Radhakrishna, department head of agricultural sciences education and communication (ASEC). "Her efforts have led to developing strong partnerships among Purdue Extension, the ASEC department and the Hispanic/Latino farmworker population."

Being recognized by the commission for her work assisting farming communities is something Nicoletti-Martinez said is sometimes hard for her to accept, as she would rather shine the spotlight on the farmworkers making it possible to have food on our plates each day. 

“I am very humbled by the award, but I have to reflect on the tremendous amount I have learned by working with farmworkers. They are the reason we are able to have food on our plates, and my goal is to help them thrive and succeed. What I do just happens to be my life’s calling.” 

- Kimber Nicoletti-Martinez

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