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Association for Faculty Women Awards

Samuel H. Smith Leadership 2018 Award Nominations

Smith Award Winners
Previous Award Recipients, from L to R: Lori Carris (2009), Sue Durrant (2000), Margaret Black (2013), Sam Smith, Laura Lavine (2015), Sheila Converse (2014), Katherine Lovrich (2012), Erica Austin (2008), Fran McSweeney (2001), Rebecca Craft (2011)

Deadline:  November 16, 2018

Nominations are being sought for AFW’s Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award. 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 winner will be recognized at the December 11, 2018 meeting of the AFW and at WSU’s Showcase in 2019. See additional links for an overview of the award and past award recipients.

The criteria for the award are as follows: “The recipient of the Award shall be 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.”

Nominations should consist of a statement (no more than 1-2 pages) outlining the contributions of the outstanding AFW member relative to the stated criteria, along with the nominee’s current Curriculum Vitae. Letters of support are welcome but not required. Compile all documents in a single PDF. Active and emeritus AFW members are eligible for the award.

Send nominations (in PDF format) via email to:

Call for Nominations: Outstanding Graduate Students (2019-2020)

What is the nomination process?
  • Nominators: Mentors or faculty who work closely with the student.
  • Letters of support: Three letters of support are required, one of which is from the nominating faculty member.
  • To nominate a student:
    1. Download the Nomination Form and review criteria for specific awards. The Overview page provides additional background information about each award.
    2. Compile one completed nomination form (nominee and nominating faculty member together), all letters of support (three total), and any other supporting materials as one single PDF.
    3. The nominator should send the nomination electronically from a WSU email in a single pdf (including supporting letters) by 5:00 pm on Monday, March 2, 2020 to Kathleen Rodgers (
  • 2020 Nomination Form: Nomination form
Who is eligible?
  • Full- and part-time students in good standing are eligible. For more specific information, please see the Overview page
  • Students may be nominated for only one of these awards in each cycle.
  • Nominations are accepted up the deadline.
When is the award announced?
  • Awardees will be notified in late March and will receive their award at a special recognition ceremony, early evening on April 16 in the WSU Honors College Lounge. Specific information is forthcoming.

Thank you for supporting WSU Graduate students and making known their excellence!

Graduate Students Receive AFW Awards

The Association for Faculty Women’s Outstanding Graduate Student Awards recognize exceptional performance in academics, teaching, and mentoring, and outreach or service, as well as leadership qualities and professional potential.

AFW Founders Award 2016-2017

Jordan Engelke

Department of English
Thesis: Intersectional Approaches to Digital Technology

Jordan is a McNair scholar graduating this Spring with an MA in English and a Certificate in Digital Humanities and Culture. She has presented her research nationally at, for example, Berkeley, Arizona State and Las Vegas. She is President of the English Graduate Organization, and is a leader in WSU’s Graduate Pride Alliance. Jordan has a long history of social activism, noted by her nominator as “the champion of social justice”. Her activism at WSU has been recognized with the Master’s Student Service Award. She has lead SafeZone Ally Training, and created a resource pool for first-time teachers in response to her own experiences. She became the first Graduate Assistant for the Critical Literacies Achievement and Success Program that serves under-represented students in the Department of English. She also skates for a local roller derby team.

The Harriett B. Rigas Award 2016-2017

Nicole Kelp

Molecular Biosciences
Dissertation: Non-classical hormone receptors in female reproductive physiology and pathology

Nicole began her studies in the School of Molecular Biosciences having been recognized as a high achieving undergraduate and admitted into the STARS program (Students Targeted toward Advanced Research Studies). This is a program for accelerated advancement in molecular biosciences, an aim that Nicole is clearly demonstrating. The focus of her graduate research is on women’s health with results that have implications for treating women’s diseases such as endometriosis and uterine cancer. Her nominator notes, “Nicole’s research projects are extensive and the effort she has made to this point, both intellectually and in terms of independently completing the experiments, are exceptional.” Indeed, it is her work ethic, curiosity, and intellectual capacity that earned her a 3-year NSF fellowship, among several other awards, and which contribute to an impressive publication record at this stage in her academic career. Nicole’s passion for science is evident in volunteerism with a science outreach program for high school students, in her mentoring of undergraduate students in Molecular Biosciences, in mentoring WSU Honors College students as they prepare their honors presentations, and in serving as a New Graduate Student Prestigious Fellowship Workshops panelist and proposal editor. Her outreach and interests are far from unidimensional. In addition to her accomplishments in research, Nicole has participated in humanitarian work in central China and in Afghanistan with refugee women.

Davi Kallman

College of Communication
Dissertation: Life Without Boundaries: A Positive Deviance Inquiry of Communication Behaviors that Influence Academic Success of Learning-Disabled University Students

Davi has a strong history of working to create awareness of stereotypes and prejudices about persons with disabilities. As an individual who has dyslexia, she well knows the social and physical barriers that face students with disabilities, and it is this experience that has motivated her to address the needs of marginalized populations. Davi, who has served in several leadership positions at WSU and professional organizations, has been recognized for her service, teaching and engagement. Among her awards are the WSU President Leadership award, GPSA Student Instructor of the Year Award, Myiah Hutchens Community Engagement Award, Prabu David Leadership Award, and Carson B Warner Award for excellence in poster design. In addition, Davi was a leader in establishing the Wiley Research Exposition at WSU. She has provided instrumental assistance in the establishment and implementation of the WSU Graduate School Professional Development Initiative (PDI), which provides graduate students opportunities for professional development and career enhancement. Davi created a website, coordinated 14 events with over 700 participants, and has created a system whereby the PDI is sustainable after she graduates. Beyond her service and leadership, Davi has maintained an active research program which uses media-based interventions to reduce stigma and prejudice against those with disabilities.

Karen DePauw Leadership Award 2016-2017

Kari Ann Gaither

Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dissertation: Mechanisms of Action and Regulation of ATF5 in Cancer and Cellular Stress

Kari’s research focuses on cancer that affects women’s health. Her work has potential to find specific molecular targets for breast cancer, and will inform potential cancer therapies. She has a passion for research that, in her words, “stems from a desire to positively impact lives through scientific discovery”. She is the recipient of a prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for a student in the STEM disciplines, an honor that is given, in part, for scientific outreach. Kari’s outreach crosses her research community, the WSU community, and communities throughout Washington State. At WSU she was a volunteer presenter for a session on how to apply for the NSF fellowships; she is one of two students who organized and established an Association for Women in Science (AWIS) chapter in 2014. This feat required securing financial support from several Deans at WSU. She is currently the graduate representative to the WSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women. In addition, she is an active supporter of opportunities that encourage youth to participate in STEM experiences. To this end she has engaged with K-12 youth around STEM, mentored low income high school students, and has been a judge at high school STEM competitions. Kari’s accomplishments are especially impressive because she is a first-generation college student. She has successfully navigated the challenges and expectations of higher education, excelled in her work and leadership roles, and continues to give back to the community through her mentorship and the enthusiasm for STEM, which she shares with youth and others.

Julia A. Pomerenk Receives Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award

Association for Faculty Women’s 2016-2017 Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award

The Association of Faculty Women is happy to announce that the 2016 winner of the Sam Smith Leadership Award is Ms. Julia A. Pomerenk, the Washington State University Registrar. Ms Pomerenk was nominated by 21 individuals who see in her the embodiment of the true leader who touches people’s lives in many ways. Julia has demonstrated her leadership by promoting, supporting, and sustaining a diverse community throughout her career at WSU. The AFW Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award is a particularly appropriate way to honor this truly exceptional woman.

Julia has distinguished herself both professionally and personally throughout her tenure at Washington State University. She has set herself apart as a leader, a mentor, a collaborator, and a woman committed to creating and sustaining a diverse community in every aspect of her life. Julia’s demonstrated commitment to advancing the role of women is evidenced by her laboring well above and beyond her expected job responsibilities. She has been at the forefront, locally and nationally, as a leader who works tirelessly to create and sustain a diverse and affirming academic community for all people. Her friends and colleagues know her absolute commitment to personally changing the world using the tools of the academy to engage a broader, more diverse group of individuals in leadership within higher education.

Graduate Students Receive AFW Awards

The Association for Faculty Women announces its 2015-2016 award winners for outstanding women in graduate studies. These awards recognize superlative academic and scholarly accomplishments, as well as professional potential of women graduate students at WSU completing their degrees in the 2015-2016 academic year.

AFW Founders Award 2015-2016

Emily Huddart‐Kennedy and Elizabeth Dzialo

Elizabeth Dzialo

Thesis title: “The Feminization of Environmental Responsibility: A Cross‐National Quantitative Analysis.”
Chair: Dr. Emily Huddart‐Kennedy, Department of Sociology

Ms. Dzialo’s interests lie at the intersection of environmental sociology, social inequality, and social change. She is interested in the relationship between environmental sustainability and social justice with a focus on gender. Her thesis focuses on the gendered nature of participation in private‐sphere pro‐environmental behaviors (e.g., recycling, buying organic) — what is termed the “feminization of environmental responsibility” — cross‐nationally. She recently co‐authored an article for Sociology Compass with her mentor, Dr. Emily Huddart‐Kennedy, calling for more critical gender theorizing in the field of environmental sociology. She is further interested in the role of art and the collective imagination in social change and she plans to explore this in future research.

During her master’s program, she has published two articles and has two more in progress. She has taught three different courses over four semesters as a Teaching Assistant while serving in the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) WSU and as Programming Committee Member for EARThS.

The Harriett B. Rigas Award 2015-2016

Lori Beth De Hertogh

Lori Beth De Hertogh

Dissertation: “Community-Based Digital Literacies: A Cyberfeminist Analysis of Literacy Practices in Birth Without Fear.”
Chair: Dr. Kristin Arola, Department of English

Lori Beth’s research examines the influence of online communities on women’s healthcare choices and experiences in healthcare systems. Her findings demonstrate that online communities and digital technologies (e.g., health apps, social media sites, and videos) play an important role in shaping women’s experiences within healthcare systems in both positive and negative ways. She is currently working on a project that analyzes how online communities help women of color increase their access to healthcare information and services regarding breastfeeding.

She has an MA In English from Appalachian State University, a BA from The University of Southern Mississippi and will begin her role as Assistant Professor at James Madison University in August. In addition to twelve scholarships, grants and fellowships, thirty-one presentations and invited talks, she has published four articles and three book reviews. An award winning teacher, she has taught thirteen different courses at Appalachian State and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Ryan McLaughlin, Angela Henricks, and Rebecca Craft

Angela M. Henricks (Williams)

Dissertation: “Alcohol withdrawal Alters Negative Affect and Endocannabinoid mRNA in a Sexually Dimorphic Manner.”
Advisors: Dr. Ryan McLaughlin and Dr. Rebecca Craft

Angela’s research examines the role of the endocannabinoid system in stress-related and drug withdrawal-related behaviors. Her dissertation project is focused on evaluating how mesocorticolimbic endocannabinoid signaling is altered by chronic intermittent alcohol exposure, and whether pharmacological enhancement of this system can mitigate stress-related behaviors such as anxiety during acute withdrawal. With the co-mentorship of Dr. Rebecca Craft, she is also assessing whether estradiol contributes to the sexually dimorphic effects of acute alcohol withdrawal on endocannabinoid-related genes, as sex/hormone-dependent changes in the endocannabinoid system could offer insight into why women report disproportionally more psychiatric problems than men in response to alcohol abuse. This line of research is particularly important to her as it could contribute to the development of more efficacious therapies for alcoholism in women.

Nehal I Abu-Lail Schol and Chrystal Quisenberry

Chrystal R. Quisenberry

Dissertation: “Nanomechanics in Cartilage Tissue Engineering”
Chair: Dr Nehal I Abu-Lail Schol of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

Familiar with and impressed by her achievements as an undergraduate both as a leader and a researcher, Dr. Abu-Lail recruited Chrystal for her lab. She summarizes her research saying   “Although more than 27 million people in the U.S. suffer from the joint disease osteoarthritis, current treatments do not restore the full functions of the tissue. Because articular cartilage is avascular, meaning it lacks blood vessels, it has a limited capacity for self-repair. This has prompted researchers to focus on cartilage tissue engineering. As cartilage acts as a load bearing surface, one of the challenges in tissue engineering is creating a construct with mechanical properties near that of native cartilage. We, along with our collaborators, use a bioreactor to apply loads to the growing tissue with one of our intentions being to improve the tissue’s mechanical properties which is then measured using an atomic force microscope.”

Chrystal has received thirteen scholarship and awards including a NASA Space grant and an NIH grant. She has worked as a TA in four classes and mentors five students as a Future Cougar of Color Ambassador.  She has published four journal articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented at twenty-four conferences.

Karen DePauw Leadership Award 2015-2016

Sylvia Omulo

Sylvia comes from a very poor family in Kenya where her father sacrificed to educate his children including his daughters. “Sylvia is working on a doctoral project that is tackling one of the most important challenges of our time – the continuing emergence and expansion antibiotic resistance. There is strong evidence that antibiotic-resistant organisms originating in poverty-stricken areas can be globally disseminated. Sylvia chose to examine the important question of whether antibiotics are required for maintaining a resistant bacterial population in individuals within an informal settlement (slum) in Kenya, and whether simple procedures such as maintaining clean buckets and washing hands can significantly impact the level of antibiotic resistance in this setting. What seems on the surface a simple set of experiments is incredibly complicated in the setting in which she has been working to collect her samples. The informal settlement of Kibera in Nairobi is a very challenging place to work. Sylvia’s leadership in designing and conducting this study, from obtaining the required permits to assembling and leading the local team, from setting up the local laboratory to working with the individuals whose lives will be impacted by her work, has been simply astonishing to watch. She is a born leader, and is now in the final stages of sample collection before returning to the Allen School for her analysis of those samples.” Sylvia hopes to return to Kenya to teach at a public university with the long-term goal of working with the World Health Organization to help women and children in poor countries.

Cristina Wilson

WilsonIn addition to her three manuscripts, six presentations, and strong teaching skills, Cristina has encouraged and mentored undergraduates to present at SURCA. “She wrote a proposal and application for a CAS Undergraduate Innovators Initiative grant whose primary goal was to provide faculty, graduate students and undergraduate student research teams with the proper use of psychophysiological methods and their relevance to psychological research. Our department did not have this kind of lab when Cristina applied for the grant. Her motivation was to teach and learn human, psychophysiological methods, and to help the department establish an active psychophysiological laboratory [which includes managing use of both electroencephalography (EEG) equipment and galvanic skin response (GSR) equipment]. The leadership role Cristina took on was an immense amount of work—particularly for a graduate student. Over the last year, Cristina has purchased needed EEG equipment and supplies (from grants she has written and received as well as from departmental funds), and has setup new lab space to allow multiple research teams access to the EEG equipment and monitoring systems. Cristina also organized and led research teams (from three different research labs) with introductory training sessions. She also organized and hosted a guest speaker (Dr. Emily Kappenman) who provided a three-day EEGboot camp. Ten undergraduates, eight graduate students and three faculty members from the Psychology Department attended the three-day “Introduction to EEG” boot camp.