Commission on the Status of Women

CSW Outstanding Achievement and Contribution Awards

2001 Award Recipients

Melinda de Jesus

Assistant Professor
Asian Pacific American Studies

In 1-1/2 years of being an assistant professor at ASU, Dr. Melinda de Jesús already has made a difference on campus for women, raising awareness about issues regarding women of color and working to create community at ASU. She recognized that even with the several associations for women of color, few opportunities existed for the members to meet and interact beyond their particular associations. Thus, she proposed the idea for a small, on-campus conference that would celebrate the work, lives and experiences of women of color at ASU. Her proposal evolved into a highly successful conference held on Feb. 9, 2001, "Living Out Loud: Women of Color in Collaboration and Context," which will now be an annual event.

Her dedication and efforts in creating a sense of community among women on campus, particularly women of color, is a major contribution to the status of women at Arizona State University that deserves recognition.

Kathleen Ferraro

Women’s Studies Program

Kathleen Ferraro is the embodiment of the goals of the ASU Commission on the Status of Women. Dr. Ferraro’s research agenda has allowed her teaching and service activities to blend with her scholarship. She is nationally recognized for her expertise in the area of violence against women: her work has exposed the relationship between women’s violent victimization and their participation in criminal activity.

Her courses deal with poverty, welfare reform, homelessness and domestic violence. She has mentored many undergraduate students through research projects that have resulted in presentations at professional meetings and local organizations. Her excellence in teaching is underscored by her repeated nominations for the outstanding teacher award in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Her service to the community is extensive. She is a frequent expert on battering for the criminal and civil courts and has trained the Maricopa County Attorney’s Staff and the Arizona Board of Clemency on issues of domestic violence.

Through her scholarship, activism, and teaching, Dr. Ferraro has raised awareness about the status of women in Arizona and has intervened in the institutional systems that perpetuate this unequal states. She enhances opportunities for women here at ASU, but especially for women who have been locked out and locked up.

Wanda Hendricks

Associate Professor
Department of History

Dr. Wanda Hendricks has been nominated in recognition of her outstanding achievement and contribution toward improving the status of women at ASU. As an associate professor in the Department of History, Dr. Hendricks initiated the Council on African and African American Research Series, known as CAARS, which highlights research by ASU scholars about the African Diaspora and provides an interdisciplinary forum in which scholars can present their work. CAARS has been particularly valuable for women graduate students as a forum to present their work in progress. She has also brought in nationally recognized speakers who address the status and contributions of African-American women to US history.

In her own research and scholarship, Dr. Hendricks’ work reminds us that the status of women cannot be generalized on the basis of gender, and challenges the ASU community to account for differences in experience based on race as well as socioeconomic status.

Vicki Ruiz

Professor, History Department
Chair, Chicana/Chicano Studies Program

Dr. Vicki Ruiz became a noted historian for her works examining the lives of working class women. Her work gives voice to a previously racialized group of women, and allows readers to understand their trials as well as triumphs. In addition to her own writings, Dr. Ruiz has edited several works, the most famous being Unequal Sisters: A Multicultural Reader in U.S. Women’s History.

Dr. Ruiz is an activist with ties to the community as well as a first rate scholar. She has been an enthusiastic participant in and fundraiser for ASU’s Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program. She zealously recruits Latina women to stay in high school, get their degrees, and go on to study at ASU.

Her numerous and well-deserved honors, notwithstanding, Dr. Ruiz is distinguished not only by her scholarship but by her spirit. Dr. Ruiz has been a role model for many women, providing many moments out of her busy schedule to mentor undergraduates, graduates and junior faculty.

Dr. Ruiz not only talks about commitment to improving the status of women, she also dedicates tremendous energy and enthusiasm to realizing this goal. Dr. Vicki L. Ruiz should be celebrated for her personal achievements, as well as for her unwavering support of other women.

Thelma Shinn Richard

Department of English

This semester Professor Thelma Shinn Richard of the Dept of English will complete 25 years of teaching at ASU. Those years have been dedicated to the CSW mission even before the Commission came into existence. She began teaching at ASU as a Visiting Assistant Professor in 1975, and a single mother of five children under the age of twelve. In 1977 she was chosen to be the founding director of Women’s Studies. Starting with a half-time release from her duties in the Department of English, and a $500 budget, over the next three years she established the Certificate of Women’s Studies, the original Women’s Studies library and office, and the inaugural Women and Society course. When she stepped down from that position, Women’s Studies had a line budget and continues to grow.

After her tenure as Director, she returned to the Department of English, eventually creating over ten new courses on women and literature. She’s published three books and ten times as many shorter articles and chapters on women in literature. Dr. Richard has been invited to lecture locally, nationally and internationally on women, and has taught courses on women writers and on feminism as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer in both Spain and South Africa. Whether teaching, writing or lecturing at home and abroad, Dr. Richard continues to exemplify and further the mission of the Commission on the Status of Women.