February 25, 2008
Unsung Heroine awards break the mold
By STACEY JONES
In an unconventional year, when the rules of the past don’t apply in politics or other endeavors, the Center for Women at Emory also has decided to break the mold in honoring this year’s Unsung Heroines with three undergraduate awardees and one honoree who scored kudos in two categories — as an alumna and a faculty member. Rounding out the field were exceptional staff, graduate and retired faculty women honored for their accomplishments and work on behalf of women.
The 11th annual Unsung Heroine Awards dinner was held Feb. 21 in a packed Miller-Ward Alumni House.
The first undergraduate honoree, Megan Kruer, was heralded for speaking up on behalf of abused women. Her efforts to raise awareness about sexual violence against women include serving as vice president of education for Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and as a representative for Sexual Assault Awareness Greek Advocates. Off campus, Kruer volunteers and interns at DeKalb Rape Crisis Center.
The other two undergraduate awardees, Julie Hoehn and Mozhden “Aimi” Hamraie ’07C have already been lauded as the first all-woman team in its 61-year history to win the prestigious National Debate Tournament. This singular achievement would be enough for many, but Hoehn and Hamraie have also spent much of their spare time working with the Atlanta chapter of the Urban Debate League, where they coached and counseled student debaters from disadvantaged backgrounds to forensic proficiency.
Graduate student honoree Moya Bailey of women’s studies made a national name for herself as a Spelman College undergraduate, speaking out against misogyny in rap music and videos. At Emory she has spoken out against more literal acts of violence, organizing the “Be Bold, Be Red” campaign, which ceremonially reclaimed spaces where acts of violence against women have occurred.
There were 13 letters supporting the nomination of Berky Abreu, academic department administrator in women’s studies, as staff honoree. The letters praise her “remarkable depth of knowledge about various aspects of feminism,” but speak to her thoughtful nature as well. As her citation put it: “She understands that simple caring is of the essence . . . supporting those with whom she interacts with loving concern for their whole lives.”
Administrator Alicia Franck ’88T, associate vice provost for academic and strategic partnerships, was honored for being a “role model for the positive power of women in philanthropy.” She has championed the professional growth and promotion of women at Emory but has also taken the lead in connecting Emory with the Darkness to Light Foundation, which trains people to recognize signs of childhood sexual abuse. Through her leadership, Emory students who volunteer with school-age children now complete this training.
Felicia Guest ’91MPH, is director for training at the Southeast AIDS Training and Education Center, housed in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. The center exists only because Guest and two colleagues wrote the grant application in 1988 that secured its funding. “Through her enormous energy and dedication,” said her citation, “that initial project evolved into its current incarnation as a six-state regional training center.” Additionally, Guest is the co-author of the highly regarded Book-of-the-Month-Club selection, “Understanding Your Body: Every Woman’s Guide to Gynecology.”
Professor Emerita of Health, Physical Education, and Dance Mary Alice Clower was the first female department chair at Emory. She arrived at the University only a few years after coeducation and during her tenure created the volleyball program, coached tennis and ran women’s intramural athletics. Along the way, she was instrumental in building Emory’s now highly regarded dance program. A champion for women, and a trailblazing role model for them too, she proved herself to be, in the words of former boss, “the best hire he ever made.”
This year’s ceremony also marked the last for Ali P. Crown in her role as director of the Center for Women. Crown created this and other signature programs during her 15-year tenure as the center’s founding director and will be retiring this year.