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Association for Faculty Women Lori Carris

Lori Carris

The Association for Faculty Women has announced the honorees for this year’s Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award, to be presented at its meeting on December 9.  The 2009 award will be made to Lori Carris, Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology.

Dr. Lori Carris, the recipient of the annual award for 2009-10, has a distinguished career as a scholar and teacher and is renowned as a mentor.  She has won the WSU Mentor of the Year Award (2007) and was honored as a Woman of Distinction by Washington State University in 2009.  She is known for her advocacy on behalf of issues that affect faculty women and has served as chair of AFW as well as serving on a variety of other relevant committees.  She has served as graduate coordinator in the Department of Plant Pathology and is admired for her mentoring of students and her engaging teaching style.  She also has been integral to the development of the COACHe workshop initiative and is a founding member of the Transformational Leadership and Training (TiLT) Group.  She is a highly accomplished and well published scholar, serving on a number of editorial boards and review committees nationally.

Her nominators wrote that she has been a pioneer and a role model for women through her perseverance and success in a scientific discipline in which women are under-represented.  She also “has that rare synergistic ability to bring people together and catalyze them to produce more than they could have independently.”  As another wrote, “While Lori would be the last one to expect recognition for these efforts I feel that she is the preeminent example of why the Samuel H. Smith Award was created.  Another of her nominees explained that Dr. Carris is a woman “who affirms other women as leaders and promotes a supportive environment at WSU for all people.”  More information about Dr. Carris may be found at

According to Erica Austin, chair of the review committee for the award, “We had a deep pool of talented, accomplished and dedicated nominees for the award this year, which is a great reflection on our faculty.”  Other committee members included Kay Vyhnanek and Margaret Black.
The Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award was established in 2000 to show AFW’s appreciation to President Emeritus Smith for his leadership in advancing the role of women at WSU. The award is made to an AFW member whose leadership has advanced the role of women in the Washington State University system and/or who has demonstrated leadership in higher education, the community or her profession at the local, state, regional, national or international level