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WSU Vancouver to celebrate inspiring women this month

Women of Distinction is an annual event that celebrates Women’s History Month. The event recognizes women who have made a difference in others’ lives or have empowered others in some way. Washington State University Vancouver will have its seventh Women of Distinction event in March.

“I think it’s honestly all about the impact that they’ve made, whether it’s mentoring, empowering, or inspiring. The nominations from last year were amazing. The impact on the lives they had of other people was just significant,” said Nikki Hinshaw, student activities advisor.

Students, staff, and faculty at WSU Vancouver can nominate a woman in three different categories: high school student, WSU Vancouver student and community member. A committee of community members and WSU Vancouver representatives will choose the final award recipients.

This year all of the nominees will be invited to a luncheon on Mar. 25. Hinshaw said that the luncheon will serve as an opportunity to get to know the nominees as well as give them an opportunity to network with each other.

Stephanie Leeper, an intern for the Office of Student Involvement, is also involved with organizing the event. She expressed excitement for the coming event, saying, “At the program, each woman who has been nominated will be called up the stage and she gets a rose. I think that’s really my favorite part, seeing women that get recognized for their work in the community.”

Recipients from previous years have represented a wide array of women making positive contributions to their community. Brittany Curtiss was the 2015 recipient for high school students. At the time, Curtiss was a running start student at Clark College and worked as a preschool teacher’s aide.

Kai Calderon was last year’s WSU Vancouver student recipient. At the time she received the reward, Calderon was a social science major at WSU Vancouver. Calderon was known for promoting positive well-being for children. In addition, Calderon donated a kidney to a man she met on Facebook.

For the first time, 2015 recognized two different people in one category. Jennifer Cullison was first the community member recipient. Cullison is a high school teacher at Woodland High School. Cullison created a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and health sciences program at Woodland High School.

Amy Holmes was the other community member recipient. Holmes was the founding principal of Hayes Freedom High School in Camas, where she provided support to her students and helped them find their own path in life. Her students, in their nominations, talked about her endless availability to help students not only with academic problems, but personal issues as well.

The event takes place March 31 at 6 p.m. in VFSC. It is open to the public, but RSVPs are requested. Students, staff, faculty or community members who have questions about this year’s women of distinction event can contact Nikki Hinshaw at nikki_hinshaw@.wsu.edu or Stephanie Leeper at van.osiintern@wsu.edu.

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