The Presidential Commission on the Status of Women announces award recipients

The Presidential Commission on the Status of Women recognizes the vital role of university women and the many contributions they make to the Huskie community during an annual awards ceremony. While the awards ceremony planned for April was canceled due to the university’s COVID-19 closure, these talented, committed and determined individuals deserve to be recognized for their efforts.

Beatrix Hoffman, Jessica Reyman, Andrea Radasanu, Patty Wallace, Holly Jones, Sarah Marsh, Mary Lynn Doherty and Kathleen McFadden are the recipients of the commission’s top three awards.

“These women devote themselves to the campus, to the students and to the community,” said Laura Vazquez, Board of Trustees Professor in the Department of Communication and chair of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. “We are impressed by their contributions and want to recognize them for their efforts.”

The Wilma Strickland Award

Beatrix Hoffman, professor in the Department of History, has been named the recipient of the Wilma Strickland Award. This award is given to someone who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and service resulting in a more favorable campus climate for women, provided continual leadership/service over an extended period of time and expanded efforts beyond expectations and work responsibilities.

Professor Hoffman is known as an advocate–in everything from her scholarly work supporting healthcare as a human right to supporting members of the undocumented community. “The specific focus of her efforts has not been oriented exclusively toward improving the status of women at NIU, but the multiple fronts upon which she has worked have always held this goal as one of the main motivations,” stated Andy Bruno, associate professor in the Department of History. “Perhaps one arena where this is best seen is her efforts with the United Faculty Alliance to not only negotiate for improved family leave for faculty members, but for all workers across campus.”

The Sharon Howard Women Who Make a Difference Award

The Sharon Howard Women Who Make a Difference Award acknowledges outstanding dedication to the empowerment of NIU women by making important contributions to addressing issues that are important to women and going the “extra mile” to assist others. This year’s recipients are Jessica Reyman, associate professor in the Department of English; Andrea Radasanu, associate professor in the Department of Political Science; and Patty Wallace, research compliance coordinator.

“Jessica Reyman, Andrea Radasanu and Patty Wallace changed the lives of all NIU faculty, supportive professional staff and civil service employees forever,” said History Professor Anne Hanley, who nominated the three women for the award. “Their dedicated efforts to research the critically important issue of family leave led to paid family leave and the adoption of an equitable application of the FMLA Act at NIU. Their outstanding work is making a difference in every unit of the university by bringing equity into what had been a chaotic, poorly defined, and stressful process.”

The Outstanding Mentor Award

Holly Jones, Sarah Marsh, Mary Lynn Doherty and Kathleen McFadden are each being recognized with the Outstanding Mentor Award. This award recognizes individuals (of any gender) who have shown exceptional commitment to advancing the career and/or educational goals of NIU women students, staff and faculty. This person is someone who consistently acts as an exemplary teacher, coach, advisor, facilitator, resource and creates opportunities that help protégés achieve their goals. 

Holly Jones, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, is well respected in the scientific community and on campus where she operates the Evidence-based Restoration Lab. “Dr. Jones’ commitment to mentoring women extends beyond her lab of students,” said Jennifer Koop, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. “She has an active online presence, with regular blog entries that promote women and non-binary peoples in science and speak to their specific issues within the field.  She recently published an opinion article on work-life balance that was published in Scientific American in 2019 that was widely shared within the scientific community through social media platforms like Twitter.”

Sarah Marsh, associate professor and chair from the Department of Management, means business when it comes to helping women succeed. “Sarah has positively influenced the career development and success for the students, faculty and staff she mentors,” said fellow colleagues Assistant Professor Bethany Cockburn and Associate Professor Amanda Ferguson.  “She has spent years providing meaningful connections between women students and NIU alumni mentors and helping faculty successfully navigate a variety of critical university processes, such as the tenure and promotion process, the sabbatical application process and helping new faculty adjust to a new job without losing research productivity.” Both agree that Sarah’s experience and care provide her the knowledge and interest to develop her protégés as they progress in their careers.

Mary Lynn Doherty, associate professor and coordinator of music education in the School of Music, is celebrated for her commitment to social justice and cultural diversity. “Dr. Doherty is exceptional teacher, advisor and facilitator that is constantly mentoring students, alumni, current and future teachers, junior faculty and peers” said Andrew Glendening, director of NIU’s School of Music. “Her role mentoring music educators from prospective student to seasoned professional is remarkable. She has been a champion of underserved populations and access to music education.”

Kathleen McFadden, Board of Trustees Professor in the College of Business, has inspired and advised many women during her career teaching in the Department of Operations Management and Information Systems. “Kathy is widely known and respected as a mentor to the OM&IS women students,” said Professor of Marketing Denise Schoenbachler. “Once they take her upper level service quality course, these young women see a path to success in a difficult field. They see firsthand that women can be professional, smart and successful in the field as they learn from Kathy. They also see a potential pathway to follow in her footsteps with a Ph.D. degree in Operations Management.”  

Outstanding Women Student Awards

In addition to the awards above, 44 Huskie students were recognized by the commission as Outstanding Women Student Award winners.

“We recognize that our women students face numerous challenges in their lives as caregivers or even sole breadwinners and we applaud their extraordinary efforts in all fields and despite all odds,” Vazquez said. “They are impressive, dedicated young women who want to contribute to making the world a better place for everyone. Their commitment is clear and we take this day to applaud their efforts and dedication.”

The following Huskie students were recognized by the commission as 2020 Outstanding Women Students Award winners:

Remy Amarteifio Martha Hoffman Paige Meyer Ashley Sanchez
Araceli Ascencio Elexus Hughes-Woods Daliha Orozco Margarita Santamaria
Abi Bloedel Veronica Jensen Vivian Overbeck Myia Starks
Parker Buetow Sarah Klos Elizabeth Pawlica Itsel Torres Ramirez
Emery Dhanens Elizabeth Korbut Cassandra Pilcher Christy  Wails
Ainsley Galvez Monica Kowalczyk Rachel Pollock Brodie  Walker
Leena Ghrayeb Mary Lamptey Olivia Portnov Shannon Walsh
Maria Gomez Sam Lanigan Vaughn Richardson Glennita Williams
Karly Grapenthin Kaitlyn Linsner Luz Rodriguez Abby Woollacott
Dulce Hernandez Taylor Luebbe Stephanie Salazar Elizabeth Wright
Nancy Hernandez Elizabeth McCabe Isabela  Samudio Mengxi Zhou

Congratulations to each of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women award winners.

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