Commission on the Status of Women

CSW Outstanding Achievement and Contribution Awards

2010 Award Recipients


Margaret Coulombe, Media Coordinator, School of Life Sciences 
In her role as media coordination manager in the School of Life Sciences, Margaret is dedicated to supporting and promoting the success of women in the sciences.  Margaret works tirelessly to ensure the fair representation of women and minorities in the SOLS magazine, award packages, seminar invites and the “Science Studio” podcast.  Her efforts are particularly timely as today’s female undergraduate and graduate students are in need of successful women role models – and the highlighting  of the success of women is an important factor in abating the steady attrition of women scientists as they move through the ranks.  But it is not only the fervor with which Margaret spotlights women in the sciences that sets her apart, but rather it is one on one mentoring that Margaret provides to women in the sciences that makes her unique.  Margaret has been known to reach out to undergraduate and graduate students, mentoring them, and helping them to find a place in different communities on campus, including sports clubs, and organizations such as Women in the Sciences and Engineering, and the Association of Women in the Sciences. 

Margaret’s nomination for this award featured direct statements and contributions from a number of different students who have been touched by Margaret’s efforts.  The words of graduate student Elizabeth Cook, sums up what has been noted by many others, “Peggy is a colleague, mentor, and friend.  Over the last few years, Peggy has encouraged me to participate in organizations and activities that build community for women both within ASU and the larger community … This, I believe, is where Peggy stands apart from so many others; she not only participates and believes in activities promoting women, but she also mentors and encourages other women to create a community that extends throughout their life – both within school and outside of school.  It is not just me, but it is this community that supports her nomination.”


Dean Mari Koerner, College of Teacher Education & Leadership 
Teaching is a career that historically attracts primarily women, offers a lower salary structure than other professions, and is regarded with relatively low status in our society.  Yet through her efforts, Dean Mari Koerner has worked to elevate the status of the teaching profession not only within our university, but within our community and our nation.  Under her leadership, Dean Koerner has worked to expand teacher preparation programs to all four campuses and she has created a paradigm for a college that is focused on providing a world-class education to Arizona’s students by creating excellent and effective teachers and school leaders.  As a result, CTEL has become one of the largest and most influential colleges of education in the country.  With its innovative teaching methods, the college has earned millions in gifts and grants, garnering attention on the local and national stage.  For example, recently, Dean Koerner brought together education stakeholders to support the proposal and work led by CTEL’s Dr. Scott Ridley that earned an unprecedented 33.8 million Teacher Quality Grant from the US Department of Education to support the work of CTEL’s Professional Development School model.  The PDS program trains new educators in their communities which includes areas in the valley, small communities throughout the state, and within Indian Nations.  This program supports and encourages these low income districts to “grow their own” quality teachers and improve the equity of education to all of Arizona’s children.  These new teachers are primarily women, who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to gain a university education.  In her own college, Dean Koerner is described by many as an inclusive leader that not only has made a concerted effort to promote women in positions of leadership, but as a leader who visibly supports the career development of all faculty and staff.  In the words of her nominator, “Mari Koerner has a reputation of being a strong leader, a clear communicator, and she is supportive.  She encourages entrepreneurial ideas and fosters them.  She promotes the vision of ASU and is moving the college of direction of meeting the challenges of educating in a rapidly changing world.” 


Robyn McKay, Staff Counselor, Student Counseling Services at the Polytechnic Campus 
In her relatively short time at ASU, Robyn McKay has made a dramatic and significant impact on the climate for women at ASU’s Polytechnic Campus in a multitude of ways.  She has created programs, lunches, and events for staff and students, which has helped to guide women through everything from college experiences to major life changes.  In all her work, Robyn expresses a sincere interest in the status of women, regardless of age, cultural background, or level of education.  One of Robyn’s most visible accomplishments is the creation of the Women and Science in Engineering Program at Poly.  When Robyn learned that the College of Technology and Innovation only had seven women residents, she proposed to the Dean of Student Affairs to create  a “WISE Women” group that would not only serve the women in CTI, but also the entire campus.  After gaining approval, Robyn moved forward at a rapid pace, to get the program started for Fall 2009.  The results have been outstanding.  WISE is a registered student organization and is a leadership workgroup through the Canon Leadership Program.  Under Robyn’s direction and mentorship, this program has a solid foundation of 12 members and is growing.  Additionally, Robyn has been instrumental in increasing the participation of women in important leadership training, such as the Cooley Leadership Academy, which thanks to Robyn, saw the highest participation of women to date.  In the words of one of her nominators, “Robyn is creative, innovative, and strong.  As a newcomer to campus and ASU, she could have taken the safe road, learned the ropes, and advanced her ideas with caution.  Instead she has stepped up with enthusiasm, shared her expertise, and brought staff and faculty together to create a WISE program that is on schedule to triple in numbers next year.  We have all learned and benefitted from her efforts, and our campus is better because of her presence.”


Maureen Daly Goggin & Beth Fowkes Tobin, Professors, Department of English – Research Team
For centuries, things such as needlework, painting, and collecting, were dismissed in cultural studies and scholarship as “women’s work” or merely as hobbies of women in the leisured classes; but thanks to the tireless work of scholars such as Maureen Goggin and Beth Tobin, a new spotlight has been put on women’s material culture, giving new voice to women who were ignored or even silenced in the past.

Drs. Goggin & Tobin have recently completed work on a monumental three volume edited series addressing women and material culture in the 200 year period of 1750 to 1950.  These volumes entitled, Women and Things 1750-1950, Women and the Material Culture of Needlework and Textiles, 1750-1950, and Material Women: Consuming Desires and Collecting Practices, 1750-1950 represents a multidisciplinary approach to examining women’s material culture over a broad historical period.  These volumes help to redefine many of the theoretical and analytic boxes that have constrained our understanding of women’s meaning making, thereby inspiring readers to reconsider long held beliefs. 

The impact of this three volume achievement not only fills gaps in scholarship, but more importantly, it leads to the construction of women as producers, artists rather than crafters, meaning makers, and actors in often neglected social and cultural work.  This research has and will continue to increase the visibility of women’s material culture studies – and inspire more research and scholarship in this important field .  In the words of their nominator, “what sets these nominees apart from other is the culminating accomplishment of their research and mentoring at this point in time, and the remarkable achievement that their collaboration has brought to ASU.”