Ten honored as inaugural Women of Wright State cohort

The first Women of Wright State cohort was honored for supporting the Women’s Center and women at Wright State and beyond.

Wright State University’s Women’s Center recognized March as Women’s History Month with a fresh approach. Ten women were chosen from a wide field of nominees to be the inaugural cohort of Women of Wright State.

“The Women of Wright State is an initiative designed to highlight and celebrate the contributions of women students, faculty, staff, alums and community partners,” said Bobbie Szabo, assistant director of the Women’s Center. “These women have supported the mission and vision of the Women’s Center. This inaugural cohort has made significant contributions to the well-being of women on campus and beyond.”

The 10 were chosen from suggestions and nominations by colleagues.

“I could’ve included 50 people,” Szabo said, “but I wanted to highlight two students, two staff, two faulty, two alums and two community partners, making 10.”

The cohort was honored at a brunch in the Student Union on International Women’s Day on March 8.

The honorees are:

  • Franchesca Alford is coordinator of vice provost operations, an advisor for the Association of Black Business Students and treasurer of the Wright State Staff Senate, taking part in staff development.
  • Elizabeth (Liz) Ball, who received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Wright State, is a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, president of the African American Alumni Society and active in her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta.
  • Alexys Barfield, a senior elementary education major, works in the Event Services Office as an operations trainer. She has worked in the childcare industry for several years and anticipates a career in education.
  • Jessica Penwell Barnett, Ph.D., an associate professor of sociology with a special appointment in sexuality and gender studies, has researched autism in the United States and gender-based violence and related stigma in Kenya.
  • Roberta Amber Cornist-Bordeneau, a junior majoring in entrepreneurship and minoring in marketing, is a student trustee on the Wright State University Foundation Board of Trustees, a member of the Emerging Marketing Leaders Program, an admissions ambassador in the Admissions Office and a leader in multiple student organizations.
  • Marcela De La Trigg created MarYSoul Expression Studio, which provides movement and art classes and helps creatives host their own events. She has participated in several events at the Women’s Center.
  • Peggy Kelly, senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and academic director for developmental math, teaches gateway mathematics courses and works with faculty and staff in the Equality Champions program, the Course Design Initiative and the Teaching for Student Success Symposium. Kelly graduated from Wright State with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary science and mathematics.
  • Kate Page, Ph.D., is the compliance specialist and Title IX coordinator at Wright State. Page has also worked in Wright State’s Department of Residence Life and Housing.
  • Kayelin Tiggs, who graduated from Wright State in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, advocates for providing women incarcerated in Ohio with free access to menstrual products and is part of a coalition that provides menstrual products to girls in Ohio public schools in grades six through 12.
  • Samantha Webb, who graduated from Wright State with a bachelor’s degree in environmental health sciences and from the School of Nursing, is a nurse with Greene County Public Health working with communicable diseases.

Kelly said it was exhilarating and humbling to be part of the inaugural cohort of Women of Wright State.

“I am pleased that Wright State is honoring folks who are supporting and empowering all genders on campus and in the community,” she said. “Seeing the diversity of what all the Women of Wright State are doing to support others may spread the idea that while you can’t do everything, you can do something that makes others’ lives better.”

Szabo, who recently marked her one-year anniversary with Wright State, said her original idea was to have a series of individual awards.

“But it didn’t feel like that aligned with the Women’s Center’s mission of building community,” Szabo said. “When I think of the Women’s Center, I think of building bridges and community, and not lifting one person above others.”

The idea of a group award arose.

“I’m planning on this being an annual event,” Szabo said. “I hope this will be a tradition.”

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