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Celebrating International Women's Day with the Gannon Family

Published: 03/08/2021

Read on for more on some of the exceptional women in the Gannon Family.

Read on for more on some of the exceptional women in the Gannon Family.

On International Women's Day we celebrate the many exceptional, talented and inspirational women of the #GannonFamily. Thank you for everything you do.

We asked you to share women in the Gannon family are your role models and inspiration. Some of your nominations included:

Becky Perry'11 (1) is the director of Gannon's Center for Social Concerns and Global Exploration.

"In her role with CSCGE, she oversees programming for students that includes service and community engagement opportunities, advocacy and awareness building, and cultural immersion experiences where they "come to know the gift of humbly serving, learning, and listening to our neighbors" and are "challenged to reflect on these experiences and broaden their worldview." She has accompanied over 100 Gannon students on a dozen trips, visiting communities in Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa."

Chante Woodard (2) celebrated ten years with Metz Dining at Gannon University in 2020, and she never misses an opportunity to lift up those around her. "Chante brightens our day, every day. She is the heart of the Gannon family." Have a blessed day, Chante.

Stacy Ress (3) is the assistant director of Career Exploration and Development at Gannon University, working with students and faculty to ensure Gannon students are prepared for what's next. "She believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. Forever grateful for her."

Charmaine Wilson (4) is the director of the McNair Scholars Program. Under Charmaine's guidance, the program serves students interested in engaging in undergraduate research and other scholarly activities, pursuing a graduate education, and earning a doctorate degree. McNair participants are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential. The goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase graduate degree awards for students from underrepresented segments of society.

Dr. Anjali Sahay (5) is an educator, leader, author, researcher, and a performing artist in Indian classical dance who works at Gannon as associate professor of political science and international relations. Originally from India and passionate about serving the AAPI communities, she has served on Governor Wolf's Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs and on the Executive Committee of the Indian Association of Greater Erie.

Ashley Caldwell (6) is the Honors Program Assistant at Gannon University, and is active in many aspects of student life and has been recognized for her outstanding service to the University.

"Thank you for all you do for students in quarantine."

Aly Eagle, LPC, NCC (7) is a staff therapist at Gannon University's Health and Counseling Center, providing essential support and counseling to the GU community.

Each of Gannon's three colleges is helmed by an outstanding dean.

Lori Lindley, Ph.D. (8) is the dean of the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. Since coming into the role, Lindley has established goals to position the university as a top regional liberal arts institution, strengthen graduate programs in the liberal arts, oversee the liberal core revision, and link the college to the community and world.

Sarah Ewing, Ph.D. (9) is the dean of the Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences.

"For Ewing, what characterizes successful students is that they walk away from Gannon with a quality education, prepared to transform the lives of others. The purpose statement of the university rings so true to me. My hope is that we develop students who recognize their ability to impact and transform the people around them,” Ewing said. “I feel as though Gannon does an exceptional job developing competent, kind, selfless and innovative professionals who are committed to lifelong learning, social responsibility, and a passionate pursuit of their goals."

Karinna Vernaza, Ph.D. (10) is the dean of Gannon’s College of Engineering and Business.

"For Dr. Vernaza, a hallmark of her work has always been connecting with students in ways that will advance them in S.T.E.M. fields. I see my job as providing opportunities where others can distinguish themselves,” Vernaza said, explaining that she feels particularly inspired to support students of diverse populations, which she said can be gender, race, economic background, or level of experience.

Recognizing a few of our #GannonFamily alumni:

Julie Kleber, BSN, RN, BMTCN ‘11 (11) is a Registered Nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Her Bone Marrow Transplant Unit was suddenly converted into a COVID-19 care unit when the pandemic struck.

“We all know the numbers, the statistics, the bed counts, the ICU headroom,” Kleber said. “But as a nurse, we know that the bed occupies a person, and we treat them holistically as a person. That’s what we learn as a Gannon nursing student. Be intentional with your actions and treat your patients as people.”

Kristal Ambrose '16, (12) also known as Kristal Ocean, earned the 2020 Goldman Environmental Prize for The Bahamas, dedicating the award to her enthusiastic team of "plastic warriors," student members of her NGO, The Bahamas Plastics Movement.

Candace Battles '93 (13) has served her community in countless ways since 1966, serving on many boards including the Housing and Neighborhood Development Services (HANDS) Board of Directors, Gannon African-American Affinity Group, Our West Bayfront Steering Committee, Gannon University Board of Trustees and more. She has been recognized for her service by the Northwest Pennsylvania Division of the National Association of Social Workers and received the YMCA’s Black Achiever’s Award in 2002.

After graduating in 2001, Denise Kolivoski '01, '08M (14) began a successful career in local Erie broadcasting. Her career took a significant turn in 2008 when she joined the board of the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) of Erie. After seeing the challenges that families affected by mental illness face, Denise came to strongly believe in the life-changing impact of NAMI’s mission of education and support. She was named Executive Director of NAMI of Erie County in 2009 and continues in that role today. She established NAMI’s first investment fund and expanded the organization’s educational programming, such as the Peer-to-Peer and Family-to-Family programs. These programs, offered at no cost to the community, provide individuals and families the education, skills, and tools they need to continue on the path to recovery.

Sue Ram OTD, OTR/L (15) graduated from Gannon University's Doctor of Occupational Therapy program on the Ruskin, Florida campus in 2019 and has gone on to excel in and advocate for her profession. She has served as a Student Resource Communicator for the Florida Occupational Therapy Association, Federal Affairs intern and ASD Steering Committee Secretary for AOTA, and is now employed at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center as a Full-Time Occupational Therapy Fellow.