Commission on the Status of Women

CSW Outstanding Achievement and Contribution Awards

2008 Award Recipients

Sydella Blatch, Graduate Student, School of Life Sciences
Sydella Blatch is an exemplar of academic activism and achievement.  Not only is she an outstanding researcher and scholar, but it is due to her efforts that countless minority and female students have been provided with resources to help them succeed at the University.  Rather than focus only on the problem, Sydella has contributed to the ASU community by providing concrete solutions.  One of the most impressive examples of her work is the establishment of the SHADES program.  SHADES is a peer mentoring program run through the Graduate College which matches undergraduates and new graduate students with more experienced graduate students as mentors.  It also provides lunches, workshops, and other activities designed to foster a support network for minority and female students.  The SHADES program was conceived and entirely designed by Sydella.  Sydella proposed her program to various academic units.  The Graduate College, one of a number of interested units, enthusiastically picked up the program and it has become an “exemplar” program.  In the words of her nominator, “Sydella’s efforts have a broad impact.  She serves as a role model and activist both in her research and academic activities.  Her work ethic, her commitment to diversity issues in education are beyond compare.”

Cynthia Hogue, Professor, Department of English
Professor Cynthia Hogue is not only a successful feminist literary scholar and generous teacher, but she is also a strong and compassionate advocate for women scholars and writers.  Throughout her scholarly career, Cynthia has devoted much of her efforts to raising the awareness of highly inventive, but often unacknowledged writers such as May Swenson, Jorie Graham, and Adrienne Rich.  In addition to her scholarly work, Professor Hogue has been dedicated to providing more opportunities for women at the University.  During her time at the University of New Orleans, Professor Hogue served as Director of the University’s Women’s Center.  At ASU, Professor Hogue's efforts are visible in the new faces in the Department of English.  Cynthia currently serves as chair of the English Dept’s Personnel Committee, and under her leadership and advocacy, six new teaching positions have been successfully filled, four of which were earned by women applicants – which is bringing the ratio of women to men to equilibrium.  In the words of her nominator, “Professor Cynthia Hogue is unique among her colleagues in her multiple roles of scholar, administrator, poet and teacher; her special efforts to reach out from these places of privilege to underrepresented students scholars, artists, communities, and individuals set her apart from almost any other member of the ASU faculty.”

Sharon Smith, Director, TRiO Services at the West Campus
In her role as the director of the Federal Grant Program, TRiO Services, Sharon Smith advocates daily for students in under-represented minority, financial, and disabled groups.  This past year, however, Sharon went above her normal job duties and advocated for women in crisis situations.  For example, one student, who was facing physical and mental abuse from her family, was referred to Sharon.  Sharon not only helped the student escape from her current situation with the assistance of the Counseling Center, but Sharon helped her find a job and advocated for emergency funds.  This situation took place over the holidays, and Sharon checked in regularly with the student and had other staff members assist as well.  Sharon helped the student learn how to do things such as set a budget and buy groceries.  This is just one example of the many instances in which Sharon has gone beyond the call of duty to help women in crisis become independent.  In the words of her nominator,  “for women who have never had the opportunity to believe in themselves, or have gone through emotional difficulties, Sharon has provided tools for independence, advocacy of administration for funding, and awareness.”

Jennifer Fewell, Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences
Jennifer is an example of how combining leadership, research excellence, teaching and mentorship, particularly of women and minorities, can make significant, meaningful and lasting contributions, at many different levels.  In addition to being an outstanding scholar in her field, Professor Fewell has devoted countless hours to mentoring women in the sciences at all different levels, ranging from undergraduate students, to fellow colleagues.  For example, Dr. Fewell has a large proportion of female graduate and undergraduate students in her lab.  In fact, over half of her graduate students and 25 out of the 30 undergraduate students have been women or minorities – which is exceedingly rare in the sciences.  Dr. Fewell takes the time, lots of time, to establish mentoring relationships with these women to help them succeed in their fields.  Under her direction alone of the Minority Access to Research Careers Program, over half of the students who have gone through the program are currently in graduate or medical schools.  In the words of one of her nominators, “Jennifer inspires other to achieve great things and touches lives in  lasting ways.  She shows how one person can truly make a difference, by actively being that nexus for change and for inclusiveness.  She has established a mentoring legacy that will touch generations of researchers, teachers, mentors, and professionals, not only female and minorities, but all students.”

Louise Welter, Counselor, Student Counseling Services at the Polytechnic Campus
Throughout her tenure at ASU, Dr. Louise Welter has been a tireless advocate for social justice and equity issues impacting not only the Polytechnic Campus, but the entire ASU community.  If there is project that is meant to bring awareness of an issue, you can bet that if Louise didn’t create it, she is at least working on it.  If there is a committee that works to improve campus climate, Louise serves on it.  Her refusal to say “no” to areas of need, speaks volume of her dedication to bringing a loud voice to those causes that are sometimes overlooked, and often silenced.  To list all of Louise’s contributions would take hours, so we’ll just focus on a  few of Louise’s outstanding contributions.  This includes her work on SafeZone, the Campus Environment Team, and the Commission on the Status of Women.  Since her arrival on the Polytechnic Campus, Louise was instrumental in bringing SafeZone training to the Polytechnic Campus.  She not only conducts the trainings, but she coordinates nearly all aspects of the program from scheduling to promotions.  In her work on the Campus Environment Team, Louise has been instrumental in the development and implementation of a workshop series, which include relevant and sometimes controversial topics that assist the campus in its efforts to develop a safe and welcoming environment for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors.  And lastly, Louise has not only been an active member of the CSW, but she also served as chair of CSW Polytechnic for two years.  Under her leadership, the productivity and visibility of the campus group increased significantly, linking the CSW to many efforts involving safety and campus climate.  Louise’s impact on the ASU Polytechnic community goes beyond today, to stretch far into tomorrow.