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SIUE honors women for embracing and promoting diversity, equity, inclusion 

A photo collage of the 2021 Phenomenal Women, including most nominees.

The incredible contributions of inspiring women who embrace and promote diversity, equity and inclusion within their own lives and the lives of others were showcased during Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s annual Phenomenal Women’s Celebration held virtually on Monday, March 29.

The 2021 Phenomenal Women honorees included 14 leaders from a competitive pool of 26 nominations. At the celebratory event, coordinated by the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, kind remarks were shared by each of the honorees’ nominators, underscoring their worthiness of this distinct recognition.

“Congratulations to this year’s Phenomenal Women,” said Venessa Brown, PhD, associate athletics director for diversity, equity and inclusion. “Each year we hear about new women across campus and in our communities, who are doing amazing things to embrace and advance diversity, equity and inclusion. We are proud to celebrate their incredible impact.”

Brown was among the 2021 Phenomenal Women. She and the other honorees were formally announced by Chancellor Randy Pembrook.

– Alicia Alexander, PhD: professor in the Department of Applied Communication Studies, and director of the local affiliate of Support the Girls – Edwardsville
– Carolyn Compton: assistant director of Community Engagement in the Kimmel Student Involvement Center
– Riane Greenwalt, RN: director of SIUE Health Service
– Candace Hall, EdD: instructor in the Department of Educational Leadership and co-director of the College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA) program
– Jessica Harris, PhD: vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion
– Elizabeth Kamper: first year engagement and retention librarian in Library and Information Services
– Heather Kniffel: creative director in University Marketing and Communications
– Edna Patterson-Petty: SIUE 2009 Alumni Hall of Famer and celebrated artist
– Kylea Perkins: senior studio art major and Undergraduate Research and Creatives Activities (URCA) associate
– Britt Peterson, PhD: assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and IMPACT Academy trainer
– Amy Reed: interim coordinator of the School of Nursing’s Simulated Learning Center for Health Sciences, and instructor in the Department of Family Health and Community Health Nursing
– Stephanie Simpson: assistant director of Online Student Services in the Office of Online and Education Outreach
– Melinda Stitzel: assistant director of Leadership Programs in the Kimmel Student Involvement Center
– Jay’nee Alston, a graduate student in the kinesiology program and former SIUE Women’s Basketball player, spoke about what it means to be a strong Black woman.

“Being a woman in today’s society, we face many challenges such as sexism, lack of access to equal opportunities and overall lack of respect,” Alston said. “I respect every woman in this world who does not let today’s society define them by gender.”

Alston also underscored her mother’s strength, who led a single-parent household. Her presentation concluded with the reading of “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou.

The annual celebration concluded with the 2021 honorees sharing words of gratitude and motivated calls for increased collaboration within the accomplished group.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose to shape a changing world. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of nearly 13,000.

Photo: A photo collage of the 2021 Phenomenal Women, including most nominees.

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