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Women's Leadership Awards

The Women’s Leadership Awards were first presented in March, 2004 in conjunction with USF’s Women’s Status Committee and the Diversity and Equal Opportunity Office. President Judy Genshaft established this award to recognize women who work to improve the lives of women and girls through mentoring, career advancement, health care, and social justice projects. A total of six awards may be presented to USF students, staff, and faculty and to nominees from the community. The awards are presented each spring during Women’s Awareness Month.

Award Criteria

The Women’s Status Committee has established the following criteria for the Women’s Leadership Awards. The nominee must have an affiliation with USF, i.e., an employee, a student, an alumnus, etc. The nominee's work may include
- assisting women in advancing their careers
- mentoring and nurturing women and girls in the community
- focusing on issues of health and well-being of women and girls
- creating one or more programs that support women’s lives
- impacting policy and decision-making
- working on social justice issues, i.e., domestic abuse, etc.

2009 Recipients of the USF Women's Leadership Awards

Recipients 2009

(from left) Deidre Hodges, Anna Abella, Eileen Dabrowski, Dr. Eileen Powers, Dr. Kathleen Carvalho-Knighton, and Dr. Donna Elam at the 2009 Women's Leadership Awards Reception, March 24, 2009 at the USF Marshall Center.

Learn More about the 2009 Recipients

Anna Abella is an alumna of USF (BA Anthropology, 2004) and is Director of School Programs for the Ophelia Project and Boys Initiative of Tampa Bay. She works with Hillsborough County schools to implement gender-specific programming that meets the diverse needs of girls and boys. Her work with the Ophelia Project includes teaching and developing curriculum, training facilitators, as well as serving as a facilitator of girls’ circle groups, including girls in foster care. Anna works directly with coming-of-age girls in the community to reinforce positive attitudes and self-esteem by providing empowering curriculum and a safe discussion environment. Through her vast knowledge of the Ophelia Project curriculum and its emphasis on body image, stress, boundaries, relationships, health and fitness, and art and creativity, Anna gives voice, agency, and opportunities for growth and self-reflection to hundreds of girls in Tampa Bay.

(from left) Anna Abella, President Judy Genshaft, and Lee Davidson

Dr. Kathleen Carvalho-Knighton is an alumna of USF (PhD Analytical Chemistry, 2000) and is currently Assistant Professor of Chemistry at University of South Florida, St. Petersburg in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Geography. Dr. Carvalho-Knighton is dedicated to promoting women students in the STEM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) through her own mentoring of women undergraduate and graduate students, research teams comprised of women, and grant work. Most recently, Dr. Carvalho-Knighton is Principal Investigator on a $541,000 NSF Grant Scholarship, focusing on mentoring, leadership, and service, making USF College of Marine Science one of the sites for the NSF S-STEM program. This NSF grant provides 100 scholarship awards to low-income, underrepresented minority and women students. Dr. Carvalho-Knighton is an outstanding role model, teacher, researcher, and advocate for women in the sciences.

Carvalho Knighton
(from left) Jenny Gum, Dr. Kathleen Carvalho-Knighton, President Judy Genshaft

Eileen Dabrowski is a senior in Biomedical Science and Chemistry at USF. She is the President of NITE (Necessary Improvements to Transform our Environment), a student organization dedicated to safety issues on campus. NITE was named the Outstanding Student Organization at USF in 2008; its Take Back the Night walk was named Volunteer Community Event of the Year by USF’s Center for Student Involvement. With her outstanding leadership and organizational skills, Eileen has worked tirelessly on campus safety issues and violence against women awareness programs, forging NITE’s partnerships with the USF Advocacy Program, the USF Police Department, REAL (a student group working with men against issues of sexual violence), and dozens of sororities, sports teams, and feminist student groups to address safety issues at USF that benefit us all.

(from left) Rachel Silverman, Eileen Dabrowski, President Judy Genshaft

Dr. Donna K. Elam is Associate Director for Program Development and External Affairs in the USF College of Education. She currently serves in her second term as Chairwoman of the Florida Commission of Human Relations, advising the Governor of Florida on issues affecting women, minorities, and civil rights policy. Dr. Elam reaches hundreds of school districts across the nation with her leadership, advice, and technical assistance in areas of race, sex, and national origin desegregation. She has spearheaded initiatives in diversity training, writing in multicultural education, and sexual harassment awareness. Dr. Elam has been honored by Morehouse College for her work in civil rights; the FBI Director’s Award for her work on hate crimes; and by the US Department of Education for her work in youth development. In all her work, Dr. Elam’s dedication to education, cultural competency, diversity issues, and social justice gives hope, confidence, and courage.

(from left) Maniphone Dickerson, Dr. Donna Elam, President Judy Genshaft

Deidra Rangel Hodges is a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering at USF, dedicated to reaching girls and recruiting young women to enter the fields of Science and Engineering. Deidra was central to the organization and outreach of the College of Engineering’s Annual Engineering Expo in 2007, including the recruitment and involvement of Girl Scout Troop 387 from Winter Haven in creating their own mini “solar systems” and solar cells in hands-on demonstrations. Deidra developed and facilitated the promotional materials and activities at “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” Day held at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Deidra is an exemplary leader, mentor, and role model, involving USF students in alternative energy research, offering encouragement and support to her peers, and inspiring those all around her.

(from left) Dr. Bernard Batson, Deidre Hodges, and President Judy Genshaft

Dr. Pauline Powers is a long-time faculty member in the USF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, specializing in research and treatment of eating disorders. She is past President and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Eating Disorders Association, has been principal investigator on dozens of clinical trials for treatment of eating disorders, and has received numerous awards for her path breaking work, including the Outstanding Clinician and AED Leadership Award from the Academy for Eating Disorders. Dr. Powers is the founder of Hope House, A Tampa out-patient clinic for early intervention and treatment of eating disorders, established through a $420,000 award. Dr. Powers is a model of leadership in her efforts to care for her patients, to prepare future health care professionals, to find methods for treating eating disorders, and to encourage community involvement in treatment programs.

(from left) Dr. Mimi Hutcheson, Dr. Pauline Powers, and President Judy Genshaft


2008 Recipients of the USF Women's Leadership Awards

Dr. Marion Becker
Dr. Becker is Professor in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policyat the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at USF. Dr. Becker is a nationally-recognized researcher and advocate for vulnerable populations of all ages. Her research has focused on improving the lives of women with co-occurring mental and substance abuse disorders and histories of trauma, children in the child welfare system, and the elderly.

Lillian Lima
Ms. Lima is an alumna of USF, earning  her BA in 2002. Lillian Lima receives awardFrom 2000-2007, Ms. Lima developed and implemented MOAR, “Making Opportunities by Accepting Responsibility,” the Attorney General of Florida’s character development program for middle-school girls, focusing on school achievement, personal development, and community involvement. Ms. Lima reached 2,800 at-risk girls through MOAR, encouraging them to set, meet, and exceed their own goals. (Pictured from left: Dr. Sandy Cooper, Dr. Elizabeth Bell, Ms. Lillian Lima, and USF President Judy Genshaft.)

Dr. Gwendolyn Quinn
Dr. Quinn is Associate Professor in the Department of Oncologic Sciences, College of Medicine, and an Associate Member in Residence of the Moffitt Cancer Center, Health Outcomes and Behavior program. She serves as the Director of the National Training Collaborative for Social Marketing. In all of her work under these titles, she engages in life-sustaining and life-enhancing projects to foster the careers and health of women.

Allison RhodesAlly Rhodes receives award
Ally Rhodes is an M.A. student in Communication at USF, a student activist, organizer, and leader, working on a variety of social justice projects and in USF student groups, including the Feminist Student Alliance and USF Voices for Planned Parenthood. Ms. Rhodes has organized USF events for V Day, the ClothesLine Project, and spearheaded student involvement in sexual equality, reproductive rights, and environmental issues. (Pictured from left: Rachel Silverman, Ally Rhodes, and President Judy Genshaft.)

Barbara Sparks-McGlinchy
Ms. Sparks-McGlinchy is Senior Associate Director of Athletics at USF. Ms. Sparks-McGlinchy has worked tirelessly on behalf of women in athletics and continues to serve both on the USF Title IX Committee and as the primary person responsible for oversight of Title IX compliance. She played a key role in adding new opportunities for women athletes at USF, including the addition of women’s cross country, women’s track & field, women’s soccer, and women’s sailing during her tenure.

Past Recipients of USF Women's Leadership Awards

Ilene R. Berson. Dr. Berson is a USF Associate Professor and internationally recognized scholar researching adolescent girls and children's issues.

Santiana Jean-Baptiste. Ms. Baptiste is a USF senior in Chemical Engineering, Presiden of Florida-Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participants.

Dr. Carolyn Ellis. Dr. Ellis is Professor of Communication and Sociology at USF.

Delores F. Jeffers, MPH, RN. Ms. Jeffers is a USF graduate in public health with over 30 years dedicated to the health of women and children in the Tampa Bay Community.

Carol A. Mullen, Ph.D. Dr. Mullen is a USF Associate Professor and scholar, editor of the international journal Mentoring and Tutoring.

Ms. Soha Patel is a medical student in the USF School of Medcine.

Karen Marie Perrin, Ph.D., MPH, RN. Dr. Perrin is a USF Assistant Professor and co-principal investigator for amaternal and child health leadership training grant for over ten years.