Plymouth, N.H.—The President’s Commission on the Status of Women at Plymouth State University has honored two PSU women for their contributions to the advancement of women’s issues.
The Powerful Outstanding Woman’s Advocate Award was presented to Alison Leigh Turkos, a senior English major and Women’s Studies minor at PSU. Turkos is described as an “approachable activist who embraces the title feminist without using it as a shield, or tool to divide” and a “passionate promoter of women’s issues … [who] lives the message of women’s empowerment and choice.”
One nominator wrote, “Alison demonstrates her commitment to the advancement of women by inspiring other women (both younger and older) to think in new ways about what they can achieve and how they might achieve those goals with collaboration … I believe Alison is a rare and exceptional leader whom we will be hearing more from in the future.”
Turkos is president of the Alliance for Women’s Awareness Rights and Equality (AWARE) on campus, vice president of Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society, and recently directed the PSU production of The Vagina Monologues.
A President’s List honor student, Turkos volunteers with Voices Against Violence in Plymouth, and works part-time at New Hampshire Public Radio.
She attributes her personal development to the influence of her parents, the faculty and staff at Plymouth State University, and her friends who are willing to accept her as “a loud outspoken woman who likes to speak her mind.” She says “It is terrific that at Plymouth State we can speak out. We are doing something great here.”
The Theo Kalikow Award was presented to Ann McClellan, associate professor of English. McClellan has taught a number of women’s studies courses at Plymouth State and is chair of the Women’s Studies Council. Under her leadership the Council has worked to increase its visibility and add students in women’s studies. McClellan is described as “an advocate and mentor for women students, providing them with opportunities to explore their interests in a supportive, caring environment.”
McClellan has served on the Faculty Welfare Committee and is faculty advisor to Sigma Tau Delta and to Iota, Iota, Iota Women’s Studies Honor Society.
Talking about the difficulties of building a women’s studies program without full-time faculty or staff or facilities, McClellan described the many ways in which she, personally,”is not women’s studies at PSU,” using that theme as a way to celebrate the work of the many people who make women’s studies at PSU what it is: the strong women faculty, staff and administrators; the visionary women and men of the Women’s Studies Council; the SAGE Center that reaches out to students and builds feminist studies; the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and most importantly, the students in the women’s studies minor like Aly Turkos.
The Theo Kalikow award was established in the mid-1990’s and honors Theodora Kalikow, former PSU Dean of the College, who served as interim president from 1992-1993, and is now president of the University of Maine at Farmington.
Keynote speaker for the event was independent historian Susan Ware, a noted expert on 20th century American women. Ware was chair of the Library of Congress’ Scholars Advisory Committee for American Women, a Library of Congress guide for the study of women’s history and culture in the United States. Her latest book,Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King, Title IX, and the Revolution in Women’s Sports, will be published in 2011.
Ware congratulated Plymouth State for its “powerful commitment” to women’s history and Title IX, before giving a brief overview of Title IX legislation and the relationship of modern feminism and women in sports, calling Title IX “the best thing to happen to women since women’s suffrage.” She exhorted the group not to stop challenging inequality, saying “forty percent is not equal.”
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