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Women who mentor, inspire and empower to be celebrated at WSU Vancouver

March is Women’s History Month and WSU Vancouver is hosting our 5th annual Women of Distinction event. Women of Distinction will be held in the Firstenburg Student Commons on March 28 at 6:00 p.m.

The purpose of this event is to celebrate women who have inspired, mentored and empowered others around them. It was first introduced by Office of Student Involvement manager Michelle Mcllvoy in 2008, and has been a successful recognition of female achievement since.

The women honored at this event are done so through a nomination process. During the nomination submission, the women are placed into one of three categories, WSU student, community member, or high school student. The high school student category is new to the event this year and was added to raise the awareness about the importance of acknowledging distinctive women regardless of age.

“Last year when I was nominated I was so honored. Even though I didn’t win, just sitting in the same room with all of the nominated women was so electric and it was such a privilege to be among such driven and intelligent people,” said Audrey Miller a 2012 student nominee and a graduate student in the master’s of public affairs program.

Each year a non-profit organization within the community is chosen as a beneficiary and a unique theme is developed. In 2010, the Women of Distinction event had a “Women in Business” theme and the organizers collected business attire donations for the selected non-profit. This year, Young Women in Action will be the event’s non-profit beneficiary with a theme of developing life skills and success.

Young Women in Action is a mentoring program for fifth grade girls focusing on life skill development such as friendship, health and hygiene, career, etiquette and planning their future. This program is entirely run by volunteers and is a great opportunity for students to be involved with the community. As stated by the Young Women in Action website, “the goal of YWIA is to encourage fifth grade girls to have confidence, faith in their ability to make the ‘right’ choices and allow them to see the world through a different set of eyes.” YWIA can be found online.

Lara Hoffmans has been selected as the keynote speaker for Women of Distinction this year. Hoffman also sits on the Women of Distinction award recipient selection committee. Hoffmans is an accomplished businesswoman in the surrounding community as well as the co-author of several best selling books. Attaining her bachelor’s degree in theater at Notre Dame, Hoffmans is a woman with many talents.

Nominations for Women of Distinction were taken electronically up until February 26 and now will be reviewed by the Women of Distinction award recipient committee. One worthy recipient from each of the three categories will be chosen to receive the Distinguished Woman of the Year award from WSU Vancouver.

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