The Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center has named five individuals from the Vanderbilt community as recipients of its annual awards for 2022.
The Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center Leadership Award honors an undergraduate or graduate student who demonstrates leadership in activities that contribute to the achievements, interests and goals of women or that promote gender equity. This year, a student at the Owen Graduate School of Management was presented with this award.
Liza Moskowitz has worked to support women’s academic success at the business school since she arrived in the fall of 2020. In her role as president of the Women’s Business Association, she revised the organization’s bylaws to encourage the involvement of more women, especially first-year students, in the association’s activities. Outside of her formal role in the WBA, she organized study sessions and tutored classmates as early as her first semester on campus. In partnership with the Career Management Center at Owen, she helped to develop recruitment strategies that paired prospective students with current women students. She has also advocated for the revision of the curriculum to include cases that reflect more diverse perspectives. As part of this effort, she has organized a team that is mapping the courses taught at Owen to quantify how well they represent women and marginalized groups. One of her nominators noted the importance of this work since the curriculum in business schools “has historically not paid a great deal of attention to achieving this type of diversity.”
The Mentoring Award honors a member of the Vanderbilt University community who fosters the professional and intellectual development of Vanderbilt women. This year, three people were recognized.
The first recipient of the Mentoring Award is George M. Hornberger, University Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth and Environmental Sciences, Emeritus. According to one of his nominators, Hornberger “deeply and genuinely cares about the success of junior faculty and his women colleagues.” Instead of intimidating junior faculty, this nominator continued, Hornberger “made me feel welcomed and extremely valued and important, which influenced my confidence in my work and my career.” Another nominator said that he “guides and supports his students with an invisible hand, never eager to take credit but always ready to encourage and celebrate his students.” Another nominator noted that, during her time as a graduate student, most of the people in Hornberger’s research group were women, and that “this was, by no means, an accident.” Indeed, Hornberger’s commitment to advancing the careers of junior faculty and, especially, graduate students is a through-line of his career.
The second recipient of the Mentoring Award is Marie H. Martin, assistant professor of health policy and associate director for education and training at the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health. Martin’s nominators wrote that a “dedication to lifelong mentorship of women and diverse groups is a cornerstone” of her ethos, explaining that she is both a mentor and an “advocate.” Although Martin designed a five-tiered mentoring structure for students and mentors in the Master of Public Health program, nominators spoke effusively of her skill in mentoring in informal ways as well. One nominator wrote that Martin “taught me how to handle difficult partnerships and turn obstacles into opportunities, an approach that I still use today to solve problems.” Another nominator said, “Once you are a mentee of Marie, you are always a mentee, and she lovingly supports her mentees throughout their studies and careers.”
The third recipient of the Mentoring Award is Elizabeth Zechmeister, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science and director of the Latin American Public Opinion Project. Zechmeister’s many letters of recommendation praised her for the support she consistently offers students, faculty, and staff. Nominators praised the widespread mentoring system she has cultivated within LAPOP, explaining that “she has consistently connected women to one another at all levels.” Letters of support spoke of her “deep concern for others,” her “strong ethical orientation,” and her willingness to give her time generously. One letter of support from a junior faculty member said that Zechmeister has given “more feedback on projects from start to finish than any other academic mentor I’ve ever had.” Another nominator stated that Zechmeister teaches everything from self-advocacy skills to “tenacity in the face of rejection.”
The Mary Jane Werthan Award is presented annually to an individual who has contributed significantly to the advancement of women at Vanderbilt University. The award honors three qualities characteristic of its first recipient, for whom the award named: vision, persistence and extraordinary skill in interpersonal and institutional relations.
This year’s winner of the Mary Jane Werthan Award is Nicole M. Joseph, associate professor of mathematics education in the Department of Teaching and Learning. Through a grant from the Trans-Institutional Programs initiative, Joseph formed the Vanderbilt Community Lab for the Intersectional Study of Black Women and Girls in Society. The VCL includes several initiatives, including the STEM Sistah Network, which provides intersectional mentoring and support to Black women graduate students and faculty, and the Annual March for Black Women in STEM, which brings attention to disparities and inequities in the STEM pipeline that disadvantage Black women. One nominator said that Joseph’s skill as a communicator is central to her work, stating that she is able to convey clearly why inclusivity in STEM fields is of central significance. Another nominator wrote that Joseph’s “willingness to speak truth no matter the consequence and her vision for a better future for women make her an ideal candidate for this award.”
We send our congratulations to our graduating seniors—thank you for your hard work for the Women’s Center and for the campus community during your time at Vanderbilt! We’ve asked our seniors to tell us about a favorite memory from their time working at the Women’s Center. Thank you for sharing these memories. We wish you all the best!
I feel like joining the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center for an internship is the best choice I have made in my college career. As an intern, I feel like we sometimes have chaotic energy but I’m glad that we were able to make an impact, no matter how big or small, and we had so much fun doing that. I’m so, so thankful we had very welcoming and caring staff (Molly, Brianna, Bailey) that supported us, and that I got to work with amazing people with great energy.
Interning at the Women’s Center has been such a memorable part of my Vanderbilt experience. I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to learn from my fellow interns and work with them to foster a community of acceptance and support on Vanderbilt’s campus. Each and every one of the individuals working at the Women’s Center are incredible, compassionate people and I am so lucky to have been a part of this amazing organization!
Being a Women’s Center intern has been one of my most fruitful endeavors within my undergraduate career. I value most the community and connections I have established with this internship. I have been able to work alongside a group of passionate and welcoming students – who are also non-judgmental and inclusive. Specifically, as a sex-education intern, I was honored to be with people who were open to having sex-based conversations where we could explore a range of topics with comfortability. We share the same vision of destigmatizing sexual practices, while also spreading awareness on sexual health. By far, my favorite memory is when we started our Vandy Sex Ed blog posts because as a creative writer, I enjoyed the creative space that Bailey gave us, in regards to the topics and structure of our blogs. My favorite blogs that I created were either BDSM or kink exploration – for both I worked with my best friend, Brittnee Boule.
My favorite part of being a Women’s Center intern was getting to learn more about women’s health and women’s rights issues. I also loved getting to know my teammates and cooperating with them for our presentations during SEHR week!
My favorite part of being a Women’s Center intern is the events we put on. All of us put so much work into providing comprehensive, accurate, and inclusive sex ed to Vandy students. I enjoyed working with the loveliest and most passionate people I’ve met at Vandy and learned so much from every one of them. I’m so grateful for my three years in Vandy Sex Ed. I’m super proud of the work we’ve done and excited to see what following year’s interns will do!
My favorite thing about being an intern was finding a new supportive and empowering community on campus.
I have been working at the Women’s Center since my freshman year. It has been an amazing three years. The Women’s Center creates a free space of ideas sharing and discussions. As an international student, I always strived to bring up international topics during the workshop discussions. I love to help students learn more about cultures beyond the US. I remember hosting a KTS on KPOP and mental health with Linh in our junior year. A lot of the participants were KPOP fans. We were able to analyze feminism and social issues through the lens of a passion we all shared, and the discussion was deep.
My favorite part of being a Women’s Center intern has been providing Vanderbilt women with a space to discuss their body image concerns and a community to support them through the process of gaining body acceptance, confidence, and empowerment.
Inclusive Book Group: Hamnet
Wednesday, May 4, 12:00 p.m. CT, Zoom
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Navigating Gender Bias in Professional Communication
Cara Tuttle Bell, Director, Project Safe Center
Wednesday, May 11, 12:00 p.m. CT, Zoom
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Women’s Center Internships
Intern applications will open in late August. To learn more about the Body Project, Vandy Sex Ed, and Women’s Center Ambassadores, visit our site. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
African American Women’s History in Tennessee — Special Collections Internship
The Special Collections division of the Nashville Public Library seeks an intern to assist with the archival processing of a digital collection of photographs and ephemera related to African American women’s history in Tennessee. Responsibilities include organizing, arranging, and describing materials in a variety of formats; entering and organizing data for an online catalog; and creation of formal finding aids and inventories, or other resources to enable researchers access to collections in subject areas related to Nashville and Tennessee women’s history.
The Inclusive Connector
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Women’s Health Research Symposium: Women’s Health and COVID-19
Friday, May 6, 10:00 a.m. CT, Zoom
Friday, May 13, 10:00 a.m. CT, Zoom
Friday, May 20, 10:00 a.m. CT, Zoom
Friday, May 27, 10:00 a.m. CT, Zoom
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Martha Craig Daughtrey in conversation with Anne Martin
Tuesday, May 17, 11:30 a.m., Nashville Public Library (downtown)
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Judge Daughtrey has made history both in the state and nationally. She was the first woman assistant U.S. attorney, the first tenure-track woman law professor at Vanderbilt University, and the first woman to sit on a Tennessee court of record.
Rory Dicker, Director
Bailey Via, Assistant Director
Perla Salazar-Rangel, Graduate Assistant
Libby Crew, Administrative Assistant