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Celebrating women leadership, research and creative work

Donna Hauer (left), Multicultural and International Programs and Services director, nominated nursing senior Muna Abdi for a 2010 Center for Women leadership award.
Donna Hauer (left), Multicultural and International Programs and Services director, nominated nursing senior Muna Abdi for a 2010 Center for Women leadership award.
Photo by Pauline Oo.

The 19 women honored on the evening of April 29 at St. Catherine University’s Rauenhorst Hall have different life experiences. One lost her parents in a civil war; one became the first in her Hmong family to go to college; another developed her photography skills at St. Kate’s Photo Bureau. All, however, share two things in common: leadership and moxie.

Each year the Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women recognizes the accomplishments of St. Catherine undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and alumnae with an Awards Celebration. This year was no different.

“Today, we celebrate those who are following the footsteps of the women who have gone before them,“ says Sharon Doherty, center director, at the awards event. “Our center was created to help women affirm their potential in three areas: leadership, community and intellectual contributions.“

The Center for Women was founded in 1985 and named in honor of Abigail Quigley McCarthy ’36, a college teacher, author of an acclaimed political memoir and two novels and contributor to numerous anthologies. In her lifetime, McCarthy, who served on the St. Kate’s Board of Trustees from 1969 to 1983, received six honorary doctorates and award medals from five colleges.

Doherty presented the Individual Student Leadership Awards to Muna Abdi, Mary Delaware, Elissa Johnson, Joanne Kabajungu, Jewelly Lee (the first-generation college student), Amanda Moran, Kassy Podvin and Rebecca Zenefski (the ace photographer); and the Collaborative Leadership Award to Shelagh Beckman and Necole Williams, co-chairs of the Students Who Are Parents group at St. Kate’s.

The leadership award recognizes students for outstanding leadership in varied roles and settings, based on the St. Catherine University Leadership Statement, which includes “acts from a strong self-concept“ and “thinks critically and creatively.“

“She’s taught me a few things and also how to enjoy life,“ says John Lange, retiring media services department chair, of Kabajungu, the student he nominated. The junior, double-majoring in international business and economics and financial economics, comes from northern Uganda. Her parents, says Lange, were killed by rebels. “The fact that she's here, I consider a complete gift,“ he adds.

“In 1973, when I came here (to St. Kate’s), there was virtually no diversity and it was a nice place,“ Lange says to the more than 70 people at the celebration. “Now, in 2010, it’s a great place. We have every possible type of woman you can imagine, and some men... Joanne is a survivor, which made her strong, a natural leader.“

In addition to student leadership, the Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women also recognized research, creative work, and women’s studies writing awards at the recent celebration.

Research and Creative Work on Women Award

Undergraduate recipients: Olivia Dains, “Three Women, Three Poems" and Maria Moenkedick, "International Trade Agreements: Health of Women, Justice, and Action"

Graduate recipients: Marisa Harder-Chapman and Kathleen Koegler, “Reflecting on Birth Expressions: Creating an Integrative, Experiential Approach to Childbirth Preparation”

Faculty/Staff recipient: Gabrielle Civil, “Muño (fantasía de la negrita)”
Alumna recipient: Holly Larsen, “The Question of Identity: The Parents of GLBT Children”

Best Paper in Women's Studies Award

Ashleen Knutson, “The Naturalization of Violence, Masculinity and Race within a Capitalist Driven Society: A Critical Examination of Ultimate Fighting Championship Fights"

Esther Moss, “Vital Feminism: A Theory Grounded in Rural Nicaragua”

Jay and Rose Phillips Scholarships

A $15,000 educational scholarship given to a junior who demonstrates leadership and commitment to implementing a Minnesota-based community service project:

Jewelly Lee, 2008–10 recipient
Sheng Xiong, 2009–11 recipient

May 3, 2010 by Pauline Oo

See also: Faculty, Leadership, Liberal Arts, Students