17 Apr

Honors and Awards 2013-14

Elizabeth | April 17th, 2014
majors and minor april 12 2014 The Center for Women’s & Gender Studies held its 2014 Honors and Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Jennifer Orlikoff, Interim Director of the Center, welcomed honorees and their families to the Mountaineer Room in WVU’s Mountainlair for the 4:00 pm ceremony.

The first order of business was to recognize undergraduate students who have completed their degree requirements and to present Women’s & Gender Studies stoles to those present.

Graduating in August 2014, Melissa Dalton will earn a Regent’s Bachelor of Arts degree with an Area of Emphasis in Women’s & Gender Studies.

Bachelor of Arts Degree Candidates, Women’s & Gender Studies Major for May 2014 are Matthew Carter, Jamie Crestfield, Lakiah Edwin-Bankston, Angela Mathias, and Benjamin Seebaugh. Candidates for August 2014 are Kathleen Brant and Audrey Charbonneau.

Graduating with a Women’s & Gender Studies Minor in December 2013 was Karissa Blackburn. The May 2014 candidates are Aaron Ferrari, Celeste Lantz, John Railing, Megan Vealey, Laurel Walker, and Stephanie Michelle Watson.

This year’s award for the Outstanding Women’s & Gender Studies Senior, Benjamin Seebaugh is WVU’s 22nd Truman Scholar and is the outgoing Student Government Vice President. He is graduating with majors in Women’s and Gender Studies, Political Science, and International Studies, and minors in English and Spanish. He will be entering the Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy program in The Fletcher School of Tufts University.

In his remarks, Benjamin spoke of his experiences at WVU and how he gradually became more involved with women’s and gender studies through the encouragement of Prof. Jara.

Dr. Kasi Jackson recognized Graduate Students in Women’s & Gender Studies. Jessica Kalvitis, Jessica Mathias and Allyson Perry all earned Graduate Certificates.

The Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant, Hannah Liebreich is completing her master’s degree in sociology with a graduate certificate in women’s and gender studies, and will be beginning a Ph.D. program this fall in sociology with a focus on feminist criminology. While Hannah has been a GTA in Women’s and Gender Studies for only one year she has gone above and beyond in her commitment to women’s and gender studies both inside and outside the classroom. During Hannah’s weekly office hours you would usually find her meeting with students, focused on her teaching, and shamelessly recruiting new students to the minor, major, GEM, and Spectrum. At the time of the ceremony, Hannah was giving a presentation to the North Central Sociological Association in Cincinnati but sent a video message for the audience.

The awards for Outstanding Women’s & Gender Studies Senior and Graduate Teaching Assistant are given through the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Women’s & Gender Studies for exemplary work.

Matt & Niina April 12 2014
In an addition to the program this year Niina Riivald recognized Matt Carter for his exemplary work as teaching assistant in WGST 150. With 250 students to track and grade, his support over the past two years made a huge difference to the management of the class.


Jennifer Orlikoff presented the Carrie Koeturius Scholarship for Returning Women Students to Kelly Odenweller.

“Carrie” scholarships were first endowed in 1987. This scholarship, worth $4,000, helps women who have interrupted their education to complete their undergraduate degrees. The award’s namesake, Carrie Koeturius, is a former Morgantown activist for women’s issues who came to WVU to finish her bachelor’s degree in social work. She has enjoyed great success as a conference and event organizer.

Kelly Odenweller is a PhD student in Communication Studies at WVU. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in communications from the University Of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in 2004 and then spent six years working in the marketing industry and building a family. While enjoying her life as a young professional, she longed for a career that was more socially significant and returned to graduate school at WVU in 2010. Her goal is to conduct research and teach Communication Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies at the university level. As a mother of two, her line of research “seeks to minimize conflicts and foster supportive and unifying interactions between subgroups of mothers.” This scholarship will allow the family a respite from financial worry while Kelly completes her doctoral studies.

Kasi Jackson announced the winner of the Sallie Lowther Norris Showalter Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Related Disciplines.

This $2,000 award recognizes an undergraduate woman who demonstrates high mathematical/scientific achievement and commitment to social justice. One of the first women admitted to WVU in 1889, Sallie won the freshman math prize in 1890 and spoke eloquently for women’s rights to a higher education.

Kathleen Baker is a dual major in Computer Science and Women’s & Gender Studies at WVU where she served as WVU STEM Ambassador for Summer 2012 and 2013. She has become aware through personal experience and through the experiences of her peers that women are frequently discouraged from furthering careers in her chosen field through various systems of oppression and privilege. Her goal is to have a direct impact on changing the systems so that young girls wishing to engage in the field will not have such negative experiences.

The Velma Miller/West Virginia Alliance for Women’s & Gender Studies Graduate Scholar Award was presented by Brian Jara to Lauren Deckelbaum.

This $1000 award supports graduate work in women’s studies and honors Velma Miller (1907-1996), a founding board member of the West Virginia Alliance for Women’s Studies in 1986.

Lauren earned a B.S. in health and physical education from Frostburg State University and an M.S. in Athletic Coaching Education from West Virginia University. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Kinesiology: Physical Education Teacher Education with a cognate area of women in sport and is a graduate teaching assistant in the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. Sports have always been a big part of her life and, while working on her Master’s degree, she became aware of the numerous barriers that female coaches encounter. Learning about these barriers motivated her to focus her research on issues surrounding women in sport. She is passionate about trying to improve the culture within sport and increasing equality for all coaches no matter their sex, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

Jennifer Orlikoff recognized Women’s & Gender Studies students who have received University Awards. Jordan Lovejoy received the Morris K. Udall Undergraduate Scholarship and Benjamin Seebaugh the Order of Vandalia, a prestigious West Virginia honor,

To wrap up the program, Triota, the Women’s & Gender Studies Honorary Society, held its Induction Ceremony which began with a History and Goddesses of Triota read by Matthew Carter. The 2013-2014 Inductees were Matthew Carter, Audrey Charbonneau, Lauren Deckelbaum, Lakiah Edwin-Bankston, Olivia Given, Hannah Liebreich, Jordan Lovejoy, Brendan Muckian-Bates, and Benjamin Seebaugh. The ceremony concluded with a poetry reading by Jordan Lovejoy.