FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS OF OHIO UNIVERSITY
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Features RX FOR WOMEN: BE WELL More than 450 people learn about “Embracing Wellness: Mind, Body, Spirit” at Ohio University Lancaster Campus’s 10th annual Celebrate Women Conference.
FORCE OF NATURE Engineering physics major and Honors Tutorial College senior Sara Sand travels around the country and across the globe to investigate solar cells.
THE ACT OF TELLING Alumnae artists recount illuminating stories: oral and pictorial portraits of Southern African-American church mothers and a short film about modern love burdened by technology.
STEPPING UP, ONE STUDENT AT A TIME New Women’s Center Director Geneva Murray aims to fill her predecessor’s big shoes by tweaking popular programs and launching new ones.
SURF’S UP Alexa Fox, assistant professor of marketing in the College of Business, teaches in her Consumer Marketing course the impact that the internet has on shopping.
Photo by Joel Prince, BSVC ’12
Vice provost’s message From the managing editor
2 In the news
ON THE COVER: “The best parts of my job,” says Geneva Murray, director of OHIO’s Women’s Center, “are seeing women come into their own with increased confidence and leadership skills and connecting them with others to help achieve those goals.” Photo by Ben Siegel, BSVC ’02
» ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Go online to ohiotoday.org/fall-2016 to listen to a podcast with faculty member Darlene Berryman, a researcher who seeks to answer this question: When it comes to obesity and diabetes, is all fat created equal?
VICE PROVOST’S MESSAGE
Doing well and getting better
ice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Shari Clarke answered questions about what OHIO does well and how it can improve on enriching the diversity and inclusion of female Bobcats. Edited excerpts follow. —Staff report
What do female Bobcats need to know about women and diversity at Ohio University? It’s incredibly important we recognize that women, as a category, are diverse. It is not enough to say that OHIO has women included in high-level administrative and tenured positions when men dominate the fields nationwide. We also have to examine which women are being included, and the majority of these women are white. Women of color at OHIO are underrepresented in tenured faculty. This is also a national trend. Talk about OHIO’s goals for becoming more diverse and inclusive. In addition to the goal of hiring women, particularly women of color in tenured positions, we know that women in academia face additional challenges that men don’t. For example, women are regarded as “bossy” for what is considered
non-feminine behavior. Another goal is to engage early and often with our staff, faculty, and students to challenge their biases and recognize the contributions of women on campus even more than the impressive ways that we already do. Which of your initiatives leave you proud? I’m proud of the launch of Women Leading OHIO, a new program for female faculty and staff we are testing this fall aimed at closing the leadership gap. I’m also proud of the growth of personal empowerment programs like Love Your Body Day, which promotes positive body image in all OHIO students. Finally, I’m pleased with the lactation room committee, formed to explore the need for more nursing and pumping spaces in support of OHIO’s working parents. Where has OHIO excelled at diversity and inclusion for female students? Programs at the Women’s Center [see page 14] like the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) monthly coffee hour connect and empower women in various STEM fields. Its success launched a monthly coffee hour to support women graduate assistants, whose abilities are often challenged by students because of gender biases, and a one-day conference to empower female graduate students. And we are boosting mentorship and leadership programs at the Center. One example is She Leads OHIO, for which enrolled students earn a certificate of completion. Seventy mentee-mentor pairings occurred this fall.
FROM THE MANAGING EDITOR Ambitious is good
hen you can put women together with the same drive, good things can
come out.” Ohio University Women’s Center Director Geneva Murray [see page 14] speaks the truth. Women driven toward a shared goal often become a powerful force. Her affirmation reminded me of an exchange I had a few years ago with an office colleague. I am ambitious about using my skills, experience, and drive to produce stories alongside a crackerjack team, I said. The coworker warned me to avoid that adjective—ambitious—when describing myself. Right or wrong, she advised, what people will hear isn’t, “This person wants to grow professionally, personally, and financially to full potential.”
Instead, my associate insisted, people will hear, “She wants power and money and will walk over anybody to get it.” I was stunned. Nothing could be further from the truth about me. Because I’m a woman, should I toss out “ambitious” when characterizing myself—or women I admire? Betsy Stark, managing director of content and media strategy at Ogilvy Public Relations and a former business correspondent for ABC News, says ambitious women straddle a fine line on the job. “We have to demonstrate enough ambition to be taken seriously as ‘success material’ but not so much that we’re perceived as a freight train,” she observes in a September 2015 Time article. “Relentless ambition in a man is more likely to be
respected as what it takes to get to the top.” Whether this double standard applies to today’s young professionals, time will tell. Happily, I see that “entrepreneurial”—a contemporary variation of “ambitious”— seems to ring a positive note and be gender neutral, for now, anyway. This issue of ohiowomen features female Bobcats who are curious, creative, focused, and, yes, ambitious, in their careers. From a professor who dives into how companies respond to online customer comments to an engineering physics major who dreams of a greener planet—one solar panel at time—these women remain committed to their objectives. If that means they’re “ambitious,” well, I say it’s not a bad word, after all. —Managing Editor Kelee Riesbeck, BSJ ’91, CERT ’91 fa l l 2016
In the news NEW OHIO COURSE EXPLORES WOMEN IN SCIENCE Think of a female scientist. Primatologist Jane Goodall? Physicist Marie Curie? Can’t think of another? Bobcats can. For the first time, Ohio University’s Department of Environmental and Plant Biology offered Women in Science, a class that unpacks the history and discoveries of women scientists and the prevalence of gender bias in the field since 1800. “This course takes students on a journey through time, appreciating the historical contributions of women in science, recognizing modern researchers, and, finally, evaluating how we can promote a diverse pool of future scientists who are treated equitably,” said Kim Thompson, lecturer of the first class from last spring. Sarah Wyatt, OHIO professor of environmental and plant biology and 2016 Presidential Research Scholar, developed the course to shed light on women who have contributed to science, uncovering stories often forgotten or pushed aside. Students learn about diverse trailblazers like chemist Tu Youyou, ophthalmologist Patricia Bath, and
astronaut and general practitioner Mae Jemison. “The amount of women who have not received credit for their work and the lengths they had to go to in order to be a part of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) field is what took me by surprise the most,” said Jaida Sterling, BSJ ’19. “My biggest takeaway from the class was realizing that everyone plays a role on the effects of women in science, whether people are in the STEM field or not, and whether they are women or not.” Thompson said enrolled students share diverse views and challenge each other to uncover assumptions. “It is important that we continue to evaluate and address bias issues so that girls and women have equal opportunities, respect, and salaries in science fields,” said Thompson. “Gender equality affects women in many fields, not just science, and is an important topic that needs more discussion by our future leaders from Ohio University.”
WOMEN IN COMBAT: OHIO WEIGHS IN FAVORABLY Ohio University looks forward to new opportunities for female Bobcats in the U.S. military after a January 2016 decision allowed women to apply for all combat positions, including jobs like infantry officer for the Marine Corps, Special Forces weapons sergeant for the Army, SEAL officer for the Navy, and combat rescue officer for the Air Force. Erin Muri, an OHIO Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadet studying sociology and criminology, says the rule will offer new job possibilities without gender discrimination. “The entrance of women in combat means a lot,” said Muri, BA ’17. “There is now a diversity present that the Army has never dealt with before.” Other Bobcats are equally excited. Tyler Daniels, BA ’16, and former president of OHIO’s Combat Veterans Club, calls the policy historic. “After over two centuries of women playing a vital role in the American military and participating in one way or another in all
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of the campaigns throughout our history, they are finally being allowed a fair shot to prove themselves,” he said. “Allowing women to have equal access to all positions in the military is a change that is long overdue,” added Doug Orr, assistant dean for advising and student services at OHIO. “As a military intelligence officer during my 20-year career in the Army, I served alongside women most of my career, and I saw firsthand their outstanding abilities as soldiers and leaders.” Women must meet the criteria already in place for combat jobs. OHIO Army ROTC cadet Miranda Stepka concurs with this stipulation. “I think it’s fair,” said Stepka, BSSPS ’18, about having to pass the combat arms physical. “You should have to meet a standard.” “Hopefully, this change shows women around the world what they can be, and are, capable of,” Muri said. For more news, go online to ohiotoday.org/fall-2016. —Stories by McKenzie Powell, BSJ ‘16, BA ‘16
Applauding and advocating for women
he Aharen Honryu Keisen Wa No Kai Okinawa Dance School (pictured) stepped up for the cause at Ohio University’s eighth annual International Women’s Day. The afternoon event—held in March on the Athens Campus and featuring performance, education, and play—drew hundreds of Bobcats and community members who reflected on women’s past achievements, current status, and future positions in society. “The festival was an opportunity to learn more about our own and others’ cultures, to celebrate progress in the fight for gender equity, and to rededicate ourselves to continuing that fight,” said Geneva Murray, director of OHIO’s Women’s Center. Attendees perused dozens of booths promoting women’s organizations, issues, and activities along with a crafts table. Thirty-two diverse acts took the stage, including the Athens Black Contemporary Dancers, OHIO’s Chinese Learners Association, and singer Madeleine Toerne, an OHIO senior majoring in integrated language arts. For more photos, go online to ohio.today.org/ fall-2016. —McKenzie Powell, BSJ ‘16, BA ‘16
Photo by Emily Matthews, BSVC ’18 fa l l 2016
Rx for women: Be well
aige Gutheil Henderson welcomed attendees of the 10th annual Celebrate Women Conference at Ohio University Lancaster Campus in March by sharing one of her life hacks. She was only able to say “yes” to serve as opening speaker for a daylong event themed “Embracing Wellness: Mind, Body, Spirit” by saying “no” to the myriad requests this Columbus-based osteopathic family physician, OHIO faculty member, and ohiowomen in medicine chair receives daily. Gutheil, DO ’02, applauded the 450-plus participants who did the same. “Thank you for saying ‘no’ so you could be here,” she said, striding across the stage. “I had to practice ‘no’ and it was really, really hard.” She paused. “But I’ve learned that every ‘no’ makes space for a perfect ‘yes.’” Those seeking ways to further wellness chose from 15 sessions and workshops on everything from the art of mindfulness to apps
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that help manage life’s demands. This mix of science and data-driven information challenged attendees to take a step back, look at their reality through a critical lens, and ask: What works in my life? What needs to be fixed? Gutheil’s prescription: “Thrive in every area in life.” Don’t settle for “not sick.” Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the first African American and second female surgeon general of the U.S., gave the keynote address. [See sidebar.] Conference founder and 2016 co-chair Pamela Kaylor, PHD ’02, CERT ’02, associate lecturer in communication studies and in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at the Lancaster Campus, touted the gathering as “a rich opportunity to explore new ideas and learn about a variety of topics from medical professionals.” Co-chair Candice Thomas-Maddox, communication studies professor at the Lancaster Campus, relayed that surveyed attendees “focused on how applicable and beneficial the sessions were in their everyday
Telling it like it is PAGE 4 LEFT: Participants at the 10th Annual Celebrate Women Conference at Ohio University Lancaster Campus in March learn about guided imagery, health screenings, and other topics about “Embracing Wellness: Mind, Body, Spirit,” as the event’s theme put it. PAGE 4 MIDDLE AND THIS PAGE: Robin Newburn, DO ’93, assistant professor of primary care at OHIO’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dublin, leads a workshop entitled “Mindfulness: The Art of Being Present.” Attendees make origami animals in an exercise to foster such awareness. Photos by Kaitlin Owens, BSVC ‘17
lives,” noting that the conference reinforced the imperative to “devote attention to our personal needs in our increasingly hectic lives.” Before the crowd dispersed for their first session, Gutheil, smiling, instructed them to write a personal prescription on a provided index card about what they would say “yes” and “no” to for the remainder of the conference. The “illness” to cure? Imbalance. “In order to be well in mind, body, and spirit,” she advised, “one must act with balance as their guide.” —Managing Editor Kelee Riesbeck, BSJ ’91, CERT ’91
» Go online to ohiotoday.org/fall-2016 for a photo gallery and Q&A with
alumnae and students from the ohiowomen Washington, D.C. chapter launch in March. Also go online for coverage of the spring Women’s Leadership Symposium, co-hosted by OHIO’s Alumni Association and Cleveland State University in Cleveland.
efore Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. surgeon general, spoke at Celebrate Women, she chatted with ohiowomen. Edited excerpts follow. Go online to ohiotoday.org/fall-2016 for more of the Q&A. —Kaitlyn Pacheco, BSJ ‘17
What childhood experiences influenced your career? Growing up in a rural area, very poor, very much impacted some of my thinking. And that was how I really got so involved in preventing teenagers from becoming pregnant. I felt if they became mothers before they became adults, they would grow up poor, ignorant, and enslaved for the rest of their lives. It just became a real mission to try and prevent that from happening. So many of our young women, especially young black women … had been abused; we’re talking about eight-and nine-year-olds becoming pregnant. Discuss reaction to your position on preventing teenage pregnancy. Oh, I’ve been called everything. Baby killer, everything else. But I tried to convince the politicians that I never knew a woman who needed an abortion that was not already pregnant. What I was about was preventing those unplanned pregnancies. Why did you pursue pediatric endocrinology? Well, having been mother hen forever, I enjoyed being a pediatrician. I really dedicated a lot of time to endocrinology and trying to prevent teenage pregnancies. ABOVE: Milestones for Dr. Joycelyn Elders span being the first African American surgeon general of the U.S. and the first person in the state of Arkansas board certified in pediatric endocrinology. President Bill Clinton appointed her surgeon general in 1993; she served for 15 months. Photo by Kaitlin Owens, BSVC ‘17
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Surf’s up Professor navigates online consumer reviews
lexa Fox is in the business of unlocking the mysteries of online shopping. The assistant professor of marketing at Ohio University’s College of Business comes with a natural curiosity about the nuances of online communication, and it forms the basis of her research in digital marketing, user-generated content, consumer behavior, online privacy, and neuromarketing, the study of brain responses to marketing stimuli. Online product reviews by consumers carry a lot of weight, and companies know it. So does Fox, who earlier in her career worked for strategic marketing and online marketing firms after having earned a bachelor’s degree in international business and an M.B.A. in strategic marketing from the University of Akron. “Consumers have so much power to say whatever they want,” says Fox. “I wanted to focus on it because the marketing literature has traditionally looked at more formal company-generated marketing. There’s a lot of room for looking at how companies can work with that content and how they can recover from not the greatest information out there.” Fox analyzed the link between company performance and online consumer reviews for her doctorate at the University of Memphis by using eye-tracking and facial expression technologies. She zeroed in on write-ups about products or services with a negative cast. The College of Business’s OHIO Consumer Research Center has similar technology, and Fox guides students in using the tools for real-world clients. Marla Royne Stafford, Great Oaks Foundation Professor, researcher, and chair of the department of marketing and supply chain management at Memphis, co-directed Fox’s dissertation and praises her acumen and determination. “She knew what she needed and she was going for it,” Stafford says. “She’s very driven. If she wants to accomplish something, she will do that.” —Sally Parker is the special projects editor at the Rochester (New York) Business Journal. Her freelance credits in higher education include Duke University, Oberlin College, and Cornell University. “I love that digital marketing gives companies the opportunity to learn from consumers’ online user-generated content,” Alexa Fox says. She also loves “that consumers can really get to know companies by having the opportunity to interact with them in more of a one-on-one manner than ever before.” Photo by Megan Johnson, BSVC ‘17
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The act of telling
torytelling is often regarded simply as the act of holding an audience’s attention with an entertaining tale. But for three OHIO alumnae—Alysia Burton Steele, MA ’10, Rani Crowe,
MFA ’14, and Jeanette Buck, MFA ’98—being a storyteller entails much more. Listening to the history that surrounds you, paying attention to emotion and details, and prioritizing connections are just some considerations these artists take into account when they craft a story.
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To portray 54 women in Delta Jewels, Bobcat Alysia Burton Steele (BOTTOM RIGHT) took 7,000 photos and recorded 240 hours of audio over nine months. Her intent: “to show beautiful black women just like my grandmother.” Interviewees included Katie Richardson, 87 (PAGE 8 LEFT); a tornado killed three of her children. The immediate family of Velma Moore (PAGE 8 RIGHT) includes 15 children, 145 grandchildren, 33 greatgrandchildren, 23 great-greats, and 15 greatgreat-greats. Photos courtesy of Alysia Burton Steele PAGE 8 CENTER: Lisa Bol, MFA ‘15 costars in “Texting: A Love Story,” a short film by Bobcat alumnae.
or Steele’s book, Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom (Center Street, 2015), she sifted through more than 240 recorded hours of oral histories from African-American “church mothers” in the South. The project started as a way to feel connected with her grandmother, also a “church mother,” who passed away two decades ago, she says. “I decided with all of the skills that I’d learned, it would be nice to pay it forward and collect stories from other people’s grandmothers,” Steele says, about subjects who ranged in age from 64 to 105. Steele, who earned her master’s degree in photojournalism and is an assistant professor at the University of Mississippi, created the book from interviews, portraits, and other photos. “A good story makes people feel,” Steele
says. “If you react strongly to something, chances are others will react as well.” Marilyn Howard at Columbus Free Press praises Steele’s ability to connect emotionally with readers. “Delta Jewels made me weep for the grandmothers I never had, and for the dear mother I lost,” Howard writes. New York Times religion columnist Samuel Freedman was intrigued by the stories he found in the photos and the individual histories. “What struck me most about Alysia Steele during the day I spent with her in the Delta was her very deep connection to the church mothers,” he says. “They had grown to love her, and she had grown to love them.”
» Go online to ohiotoday.org/fall-2016 for Alysia
Burton Steele’s TEDx Jackson talk and her video featuring audio excerpts from women in Delta Jewels.
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“A good story makes people feel. ... If you react strongly to something, chances are others will react as well.” —Alysia Burton Steele
Annyce Campbell, 90, the cover image for Delta Jewels, is so proud of U.S. President Barack Obama that she replaced wall photographs of her grandchildren with images of him. Photo courtesy of Alysia Burton Steele
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creenwriter Crowe and director Buck, creators of the award-winning short film “Texting: A Love Story,” say chronicling modern romance in the digital era involved decisions about how the audience might connect to the story, especially since the action relies on cellphone conversations. The 8-minute comedy, shown at more than 70 festivals since its 2015 release, follows an evolving romance between a tech-savvy heterosexual young couple, almost exclusively taking place over their cellphones. “People are yearning to connect,” says Buck, “but they may not have the emotional tools, so they’re using whatever tools they have.” A plot twist reveals the depths to which the lovers depend on their electronic devices, but with some dark comedy mixed in. “Yet, it wasn’t just making fun,” Crowe adds. “It says ‘A Love Story’ in the title—that is part of it. There is something real and tender there.” This type of storytelling, like most others, hinges on fundamental questions, Buck says, such as: What do you want the audience to feel? What do you want them to walk away with? “When I sat in the audience and watched people watch (the film),” Buck explains, “they’d turn to me and they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s totally true, I totally get that.’” Steele’s careful curation of oral histories celebrates collective pasts. Crowe and Buck’s whimsical and delicately crafted fictional narrative gives a glimpse into a possible future. —Ellee Achten, BSJ ’14, MA ’17
“Texting: A Love Story,” by OHIO alumnae Rani Crowe (left) and Jeanette Buck, has appeared at venues nationwide and worldwide—from Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival, Lafayette, Louisiana, to Fargo (North Dakota) Film Festival, and from RapidLion Film Festival, Johannesburg, South Africa, to Snowdance Independent Film Festival, Landsberg am Lech, Germany. Photo by Ben Siegel, BSVC ’02
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Photo by Anna Winstead, BSVC ‘16
rowing up, engineering physics major Sara Sand was the kind of gymnast who didn’t merely swing from the uneven bars and tumble on the balance beam. She wanted to know why this move or that motion made a difference in her performance. “My coaches would give a correction on how to do a skill better. I would always be thinking, why would that be easier, or why would that make me flip faster?” says Sand. Why, for example, was it best to have her feet in front of her when she hit the springboard to flip over the vault? Leaning back seemed counterintuitive. But hitting the springboard at an angle propelled her forward. “So I was always curious about why everything worked. I didn’t realize it was physics.” A senior in the Honors Tutorial College, Sand brings a similar curiosity and drive to science. And Sand’s projects take her to labs and conferences around the world.
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Sand landed a position last summer in the Earth System Research Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado. She was one of the agency’s 13 Hollings Scholars embedded there (out of 150 total Hollings Scholars). Scientists at this lab focus on identifying the best places to develop wind energy in the U.S. Sand concentrated on sharpening her programming skills—“never a bad idea” for someone aiming for a career in research, she says. Sand presented her findings to fellow Hollings Scholars in Maryland, then spent 10 days in Tucson, Arizona, on a Udall Scholarship, given by the Udall Foundation. At the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa, she attended workshops and met with 60 scholars chosen for their commitment to the environment or American Indian nations. This fall, she began her thesis on developing dye-sensitive, or organic, solar cells. She wants to pursue environmentally friendly ways to produce solar energy.
LET THE SUN SHINE Sand’s research reflects a growing effort to boost solar power’s efficiency while reducing production costs. “Dye cells can be made with impure materials,” Sand says. “Silicon takes a lot of energy and work to get it the way you want it. It needs to be pure, and it means you have to throw stuff out. We can make dye-sensitive cells a lot more easily and inexpensively, but they’re not as efficient.” Sand uses an electron-spinning technique to measure how long electrons last without being attached to an atom. The longer they do, the more efficient the system. Sand’s passion for solar technology blossomed during an internship last summer with DAAD, a German academic exchange service, in the University of Konstanz labs in southern Germany. “I worked in a lab with people from all over the world—Germany, India, Pakistan, China, Hong Kong, Korea, and all over Europe,” she says. “This was a whole team that focused on solar cells, which was amazing to me and what I really want to do.” Sand studies under Martin Kordesch, professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at OHIO, who pegs her as one of the top three students he’s taught in his 26-year career. “We’ve got a lot of good students, but she’s really good. She’s well-adjusted, personable, friendly—and she’s also super smart. She’s the type of student you wish you could have more of,” Kordesch says. MAKING HER MARK Sand worked with a balance of men and women in her field last summer. A 2013 survey by the National Science Foundation indicating that men greatly outnumber women in physics and engineering in the U.S. doesn’t faze the Athens native. “I grew up with my dad saying, ‘You should really be an engineer.’ I grew up in a very liberal college town. I never thought about it.”
Sand’s father, Jim Sand, PHD ’01, is assistant director of West Green with Housing and Residence Life at OHIO. He says her years as a gymnast fueled his daughter’s determination and drive to compete. “She has grown up to be both a wonderful person and an exceptional scholar,” Jim Sand says. “She has accomplished and done more at 21 than what I have at 57. Nancy (his wife and Sara’s mother) and I have loved watching both our daughters grow up to be strong, confident women.” Sara Sand recalls feeling different when she walked into a math classroom full of young men her first year. But her college career has unfolded largely as she had hoped, so she shrugs it off. “It feels nice to be allied with women in your classes,” she says, “but to me, it’s been nice not to sit down next to the only other woman in the class. It makes a difference: [to] sit down among the men.” Not only does Sand hold her own in a classroom among men and women, she also excels at her field across campus. Last fall, she was one of 49 OHIO undergraduates to win a Provost’s Undergraduate Research
PAGE 12: Senior engineering physics major Sara Sand, posing last spring in Emeriti Park, praises OHIO’s Honors Tutorial College for its sense of community, access to professors, and encouragement to apply for opportunities and travel. RIGHT: “I am using a bonding machine to connect contacts from a titanium dioxide sample to do electrical measurements of titanium dioxide, which is used in hybrid solar cells,” Sand explains about her work in a nanostructure lab at University of Konstanz, Germany, in July 2015.
Fund award. She and another student won an award for a project exploring more energy-efficient ways to kill bacteria and viruses during disinfection processes such as water purification. Wojciech Jadwisienczak, PHD ’01, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology, handpicked the two students, and they conducted research in his lab. “Sara took the lead on this out-of-the-box project and showed a high level of academic maturity and strong desire for new scientific findings,” Jadwisienczak says. “She has, indeed, shown a true interdisciplinary research spirit when collaborating with me and other faculty and students on campus.” Sand says each research apparatus, sequence, and execution—to borrow terms from gymnastics—brings her closer to her life’s work. “My big thing is, I’m kind of an environmental nut,” she says. “That’s what drove me to solar cells. I want to be able to look back and know I contributed something that I really cared about and the impact it would make. I can make a difference there.” —Sally Parker
Photo by Inka Reiter, University of Konstanz
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G Stepping up, one student at a time
» ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Go online to
ohiotoday.org/fall-2016 for a joint profile of a current OHIO mentor-mentee relationship.
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eneva Murray still remembers the first time someone told her that women don’t necessarily have the same opportunities as men. “In fifth grade, I told a boy I wanted to play baseball for the Texas Rangers,” Murray recalled. “He told me I couldn’t.” A voracious reader in an erudite family (her father had her reading Tolstoy in elementary school), Murray decided by ninth grade to pursue a career in women’s studies, garnering her doctorate in the field from University of York in the U.K. She also received a master’s degree in public policy with a concentration in women’s studies from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Texas Tech University. Instead of becoming a professor, she directed the Women’s Center at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh before coming to OHIO in August 2015 to do the same. “I love being student-centered—it allows me to work with students, staff, and faculty in an academic environment and tie that work into learning outcomes,” she said. Finding her feet in Athens wasn’t easy, Murray admitted. Classes and programs were already in progress; plus, she stepped into the shoes of Susanne Dietzel, leader of the Women’s Center for almost all of its eight years and now executive director of Eden House, a New Orleans-based haven for women entangled in human and sex trafficking. “I had to figure out what was going on!” Murray said. “What could I do to honor what Susanne Dietzel had started? And I started looking to see what I could do.” FINE-TUNING OPTIONS She began by tweaking the Women’s Mentoring Program, which pairs female students with OHIO alumnae, its professional community, and Athens professionals whose work relates to the students’ area of study. Murray opened the program to sophomores, tripling enrollment for 2016–17.
“I created Stay Out of Your Own Way because of what I saw myself and my students doing to undersell themselves.” —Geneva Murray PAGE 14: “Graduate school can be isolating, as research is overwhelming. So it’s vital to develop social connections,” Geneva Murray, director of OHIO’s Women’s Center (foreground), explains at a Women in Graduate School Coffee Hour in September, as an OHIO graduate student listens. RIGHT: Bukky Shaba (left), pursuing communication and development studies, and Brielle Clark, studying social work, flank Murray during a discussion about the complexities of dating in graduate school.
Murray also revamped a professional leadership program into She Leads OHIO, a series of seminars and workshops that prepares participants—students or employees, male or female—for challenges women face in the labor market and in life. Enrollees who fulfill all requirements earn a certificate of completion. Although the program is open to OHIO employees and men, Murray pays particular attention to drawing in like-minded women students. “I want to develop a cohort feeling,” she said. “These students are networking with everyone else, but not with each other. When you can put women together with the same drive, good things can come out.” Just ask Kentisha Dinham, who worked in the Women’s Center until her graduation last spring with a degree in public relations. “I love Dr. Murray,” said Dinham. “She was one of the most helpful and commendable resources during my time at Ohio University.” PROVIDING EMPOWERMENT The Women’s Center offers three seminars. Two are initiatives of the American Association of University Women, which promotes equity and education for women and girls: Elect Her trains women to run for student government and future political office, while $tart $mart teaches salary
Photos by Kaitlin Owens, BSVC ‘17
negotiations. Murray developed the third seminar: Stay Out of Your Own Way, which addresses how women tend to sell themselves short and coaches participants on strategies to present themselves to employers and colleagues. Although Murray had offered $tart $mart for several years, it didn’t cover personal presentation. “We weren’t doing a good job preparing folks for their salary negotiation if we weren’t also working with them on how to believe in themselves,” she said. Sarah Jenkins, former Women’s Center program coordinator and now the mentoring coordinator for the Women’s Center at University of Virginia, praises Murray’s sixth sense for programming and her desire for programs “to be very inclusive and welcoming and representative of the diversity on campus.” Dinham agreed, recalling a workshop she attended senior year, Changing the Face of Power: Empowering Young Women to Create Lasting Change on Campus and Beyond, aimed to build leadership skills and encourage civic involvement. “I learned a lot about intersectionality and how that affects diversity in college and professional settings and how to identify and embrace my own identities,” Dinham said. “I learned how to use my diverse attributes to positively impact my community and my future.”
GENERATING GOODWILL Murray sees the Women’s Center as both a resource for students and employees and a collaboration with academic and administrative units. Results include coffee hours for international women and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and teaching guides to help professors integrate gender studies issues into their syllabi. Murray’s outreach has caught some by happy surprise—like Terry St. Peter, coordinator for OHIO’s Veterans Services. Last spring, Murray suggested they partner on a military history program for Women’s History Month. The resulting panel, Beyond Rosie the Riveter: Recognizing Women Veterans throughout History, featured three OHIO alumnae who are active-service military members and a veteran of the WAVES during World War II. “It was a great evening,” St. Peter said. “Geneva not only gave a face but a voice to successful leaders who happen to be women.” That’s what Murray wants: for anyone to be able achieve one’s dreams, no matter the gender. “I want to have a program that helps people be the best people they are: confident, wellrounded people we want to see as alumni and alumnae,” she said. —Corinne Colbert, BSJ ’87, MA ’93, is a freelance writer based in Athens.
fa l l 2016
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save the date! ALUMNI AWARDS
CHICAGO NETWORKING WEEK
ON THE GREEN WEEKEND
Nominate a deserving woman for an alumni award. Sample categories: recent graduate recognition, outstanding service to the University, achievement or distinction in one’s field, alumna of the year, and honorary Bobcat. Deadline for submissions is FEB. 1, 2017.
Attend the Chicago Networking Week from MARCH 22–25, 2017. OHIO Alumni Association networking weeks bring OHIO students to major cities to be shown the ropes by alumni volunteers. To watch a video of last year’s gathering in Washington, D.C., go online to ohiotoday.org/fall-2016.
Renew wedding vows with your Bobcat sweetheart at “OH, I dO,” admire classic cars at the Cruise-In at the Convo, and eat up BBQ on the College Green. Save the date: MAY 17–21, 2017. Go online to ohio.edu/ alumni/onthegreen.
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Do you like OHIO best when nature colors it green or white? Artist Betsy Ross Koller’s Winter at Ohio University marks the second in a series of four seasonal paintings of the Green by the OHIO alumna.
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ohiowomen Ohio Today informs, celebrates, and engages alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends of Ohio University. ohiowomen is its annual publication for female Bobcats. Editor Peter Szatmary Managing Editor Kelee Riesbeck, BSJ ‘91, CERT ‘91 Art Director Sarah McDowell, BFA ’02 Designer Rachel Rogala, BSVC ‘18 Contributors Ellee Achten, BSJ ’14, MA ’17 Shari Clarke Corinne Colbert, BSJ ’87, MA ’93 Megan Johnson, BSVC ’17 Emily Matthews, BSVC ’18 Kaitlin Owens, BSVC ’17 Kaitlyn Pacheco, BSJ ’17 Sally Parker McKenzie Powell, BSJ ’16, BA ’16 Joel Prince, BSVC ’12 Inka Reiter Ben Siegel, BSVC ’02 Hailee Tavoian Anna Winstead, BSVC ’16
Proofreaders Emily Caldwell, BSJ ’88, MS ’99 Brian Stemen, MA ’98 Printer The Watkins Printing Co. Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis, BSED ’70 Chief Marketing Officer Renea Morris, MED ’12 Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations and Executive Director of the Alumni Association Jennifer Neubauer Executive Director of Advancement Communication & Marketing Jennifer Shutt Bowie, BSJ ’94, MS ’99 Associate Director of Digital Communication, Advancement Communication & Marketing Sarah Filipiak, BSJ ’01 Ohio Today advisory board Melissa Wervey Arnold, BSJ ’99 (alumni representative), chief executive officer, Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Amber Epling, BSJ ’04, director of presidential communications Cary Frith, BSJ ’92, MS ’98, associate dean, Honors Tutorial College Jenny Hall-Jones, AB ’95, MED ’97, PHD ’11, dean of students Laurie Sheridan Lach, BSC ’92, director of development and external affairs, Ohio University Lancaster/Pickerington Heather Lawrence-Benedict, associate professor, sports administration; academic director, Graduate Programs; Freeman Professor, College of Business Peter Mather, interim dean, University College, and vice provost for undergraduate education Jennifer Neubauer, assistant vice president, Alumni Relations, and executive director, Ohio University Alumni Association Brian Stemen, MA ’98, senior editor and copywriter, University Communications and Marketing Lorraine Wochna, MA ‘04, reference and instruction librarian, University Libraries
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Ohio University Alumni Association Board of Directors Ronald Teplitzky, AB ’84, chair Casey Christopher, BS ’02, vice chair Joseph Becherer, BFA ’87, MFA ’89 Robin Bowlus, BFA ’98 Craig Brown, BSC ’82 Bryon Carley, BSC ’81 Damian Clark, BSC ‘05 Brenda Dancil-Jones, AB ’70 Jim Daniel, BSED ’68, MED ’72 Steve Ellis, BS ’82 Alissa Galford, BSC ’05 Shara Glickman, BSJ ‘98 Todd Grandominico, BBA ’00, CERT ’00 Mike Jackson, BSED ’68, HON ’12 Matthew Latham, AA ’06 Jeffrey Laturell, BSC ’80, MBA ’82 Timothy Law, DO ’94 Connie Lawson-Davis, BSED ’67 Robert “Rocky” Mansfield, BSCHE ’74 Carolyn “Bitsy” Merriman, BFA ’77 Gregory Moore, BSC ‘83 Julia Brophy Righter, BSC ’78 Kenneth Rusche, BSED ’73 Dustin Starkey, BS ’98 Larry Starr, BSED ’68, MED ’71 Stacia Taylor, BSC ’82 Kyle Triplett, BA ’12 Makenzie Olaker, BBA ’17, Student Alumni Board president Julie Mann Keppner, BBA ’02, immediate past chair of the board
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More women named OHIO Distinguished Professor
lack-and-white portraits of OHIO’s Distinguished Professors adorn the third floor of Alden Library. This likeness of Gerardine Botte, the 2015 recipient, joined the august ranks in July. Russ Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology and founding director of its Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research, she developed a “pee-to-power” process to create hydrogen from human and animal wastewater for use in fuel cells, with clean water as the only byproduct. Botte was the third female and first Latina to earn OHIO’s highest academic honor, which dates to 1959. In April, Judith Yaross Lee, the Charles E. Zumkehr Professor of Speech Communication and director of studies for Communication Studies in the Honors Tutorial College, became the fourth. An interdisciplinary Americanist who studies rhetoric at the intersection of media, social, and intellectual history, she specializes in American literary humor and popular science and technology. Her library photo will come later. —Staff report
Photo by Kaitlin Owens, BSVC ‘17
ohiowomen is an annual imprint of Ohio Today, Ohio University’s alumni magazine.