Three USI employees and two students were among those honored March 19 at the eighth annual Phenomenal Women of USI and the Community Recognition Ceremony, sponsored by the USI Multicultural Center, Old National Bank, and the American Association of University Women.
Held during Women’s History Month, the program honors and celebrates women from all walks of life who have made contributions to diversity in the University and greater Evansville communities. Through annual recognition of their contributions, the program aims to inspire others to embrace and promote diversity within their own lives.
USI employees honored were Dr. Shelly Blunt, Jeannie Kuebler, and Renee Rowland.
Phenomenal USI Faculty
Dr. Shelly Blunt, associate dean of the Pott College of Science and Engineering, joined USI in 1999. She was instrumental in bringing the Pott Foundation Tri-State Science and Engineering Fair, now in its third year at the University, to USI. She is genuinely concerned with student well being and success, has served on the University Advising Council, and was awarded an Outstanding Advising Award in 2007-08. She also is dedicated to the community at large and often does outreach work, whether it be visiting a local high school or putting on a chemistry demonstration show on campus. Recently, she was doing a chemical demonstration for a group of more than 100 students from Mt. Vernon Junior High School in Mitchell Auditorium. Though she fell at the beginning of the demonstration, she carried on for another hour. Later it was discovered that she had broken her foot. That is a telling example of Blunt’s dedication.
Phenomenal USI Support Staff
Jeannie Kuebler, senior administrative assistant in Recreation, Fitness, and Wellness, was recognized for her tremendous community service, remarkable organizational skills, social awareness, sincere loyalty, positive personality, and contributions to the highly successful Recreation, Fitness, and Wellness program. Kuebler keeps the highest level of standards and service to the University and the community through involvement in Welcome Fun Fest, The Student and Employee Wellness Fair, Rec Madness, Southern Hospitality Days, Labor Day at the Lake, Student Immunization Program, Archibald Eagle’s Food Closet, USI Koman Race for the Cure team, etc. Kuebler is a friendly, vibrant, inspiring, and uplifting presence in Recreation, Fitness, and Wellness.
Phenomenal USI Administrative Staff
As lead advisor in University Division Advising, Renee Rowland supervises eight full-time advisors and advises 100 students. In these roles, Rowland provides leadership, personal commitment to quality service to students and colleagues, and a strong professional work ethic. She is well respected because she is knowledgeable, sensitive, and approaches every student with genuine care and interest in their academic and personal lives. Rowland demonstrates a passion for academic advising, and is constantly looking for ways to improve the services that the University Division delivers to students. Her skills and professionalism have been rewarded with a NACADA Outstanding Advising Certificate of Merit and the USI Outstanding Advisor Award.
In addition, two USI students were honored at the ceremony: Amy Beard, an undergraduate, and Semise Harrison-Gary, a graduate student.
Phenomenal USI Undergraduate Student
Amy Beard, president of the Student Government Association, has made quite a splash on campus. Under her leadership, SGA has revamped RedZone and altered the by-laws allowing more freshman representation. She’s used her office as a bully pulpit to involve USI in philanthropic endeavors such as Operation Iraqi Children and Relay for Life. She also tutors students in Academic Skills, gives campus tours as a student ambassador, and holds an internship at Berry Plastics. She’s a member of Econ/Finance Club, Alpha Mu Gamma Foreign Language Honor Society, Pre-Law Club, and is an Honors student. Beard manages all of this while juggling a triple major in economics, Spanish, and international studies with minors in chemistry and political science and maintaining a high GPA. She plans to attend law school after graduating in May.
Phenomenal USI Graduate Student
Semise Harrison-Gary relocated to Evansville from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Already a registered nurse with an associate degree, she entered USI’s RN-MSN program in 2006. At the same time she took a job as a cardiology staff nurse at The Heart Hospital at Deaconess Gateway Hospital. In 2006 and 2007, she was awarded scholarships from the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA). In 2007, she was selected to represent the NBNA in the Aetna Scholars/National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations (NCEMNA) program. This year the Aetna Scholars/NCEMNA program selected her as one of 10 scholars for a mentoring program. She completed a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2007 and upon graduation from the master’s program in May, plans to work in primary care as a family nurse practitioner with the underserved and uninsured.
Regina Denu, Jane Kratochvil, and Sadia Ragland were honored as Phenomenal Women of the Community.
Regina Denu is executive director of the Ozanam Family Shelter, where she has written and received grants that allowed for expansion to the shelter including an addition to the shelter, more parking, and a fenced-in playground. She also created a health and nutrition program utilizing volunteer health professionals who instruct residents in the benefits of healthy habits such as exercising. She has touched many lives by helping them to reclaim their independence.
Jane Kratochovil, a nurse practitioner with IMPACT Christian Health Center, joined the facility in 1998 as a volunteer registered nurse. At that time, patients were seen for only four hours one day per week. Recognizing a need for extended healthcare in the community, she returned to college at USI and earned her Nurse’s Practitioner license. Through her efforts, IMPACT now serves the community for 38-40 hours per week. Kratochovil developed partnerships with USI and University of Evansville and a patient assistance program that acquires affordable medications directly from pharmaceutical companies.
Sadia Ragland is a preschool teacher at Joshua Academy, a charter elementary school. She cheered for three years for the Indianapolis Colts and teaches at the Children’s Dance Center for Education, where she is a company member. She studied dance in New York and shares her talent and enthusiasm by performing and conducting workshops in the community – for schools, Girls in Bloom, the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, and the African American Museum, to name a few. She is a model for young girls of color who aspire to be ballet dancers. Ragland graduated from the University of Evansville with a Bachelor of Science degree in art and a minor in education.
Wendy Knipe Bredhold
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