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Simply ‘Phenomenal’

Massachusetts Women in Public Higher Education honors 28

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Twenty-eight “phenomenal” women were recognized for their contributions to the Bridgewater State University community during a reception held at the Dunn conference suite on Tuesday.

The BSU Chapter of Massachusetts Women in Public Higher Education (MWPHE) hosted the inaugural affair.

“We wanted to recognize the unsung heroes on campus and shine a light on those doing a good job behind the scenes,” said Alexis Conley, prospect relations and university advancement event coordinator for Alumni Relations.

In early March, as part of National Women’s Month, the MWPHE Bridgewater chapter reached out to faculty and staff seeking phenomenal women nominations; looking to recognize those who go above and beyond what their job description entails.  

Dr. Deniz Zeynep Leuenberger, chief of staff and interim vice president for External Affairs congratulated the 28 nominees.

“It’s wonderful to be in a roomful of people who are inspirations to each other and our students,” Dr. Leuenberger said. “We build upon the success of each other.”

Those recognized at the reception included, Carolyn Anderson, staff assistant for the Center for Advancement of Research and Scholarship; Donna Balkcom, reproduction services supervisor for the copy center and print shop; Kelley Baran, director of Information Technology and administrative systems; Dr. Jessica Birthisel, assistant professor Communication Studies; Dr. Margaret Brooks, director of the Center for Economic Education and director of the Office of Financial Literacy initiatives; Kathy Brown, Alumni Relations; Valerie Cabral, coordinator, Office of Collections and Financial Counseling; Gael DeIuliis, assistant director New Student and Family Programs; Eva Gaffney, assistant vice president and chief marketing officer, Marketing and Communications; Debra Gould, area coordinator, Residence Life and Housing; Beth Gracia, administrative assistant, College of Education and Allied Studies; Jolanta Grodecki, Facilities Management and custodial services; Dr. Maria Hegbloom, assistant professor, Communication Studies; Dr. Cindy Kane, special assistant to the provost for academic innovation; Melinda Lamoureux, associate director, Facilities Management; Laura Machado, staff associate, President’s Office; Katie-Ann Mason, associate director, Graduate Admissions; Dr. Melanie McNaughton, professor communication studies; Dr. Jenna Mendell, associate professor biological sciences; Lee Ann Needham, administrative assistant facilities management and customer service; Ann Reichert, administrative assistant economics;  Dr. Irina Seceleanu, associate professor, Mathematics; Dr. Thomasena Shaw, associate professor Communication Studies; Maria Soares, management, Custodial Services; Sonya Soloway administrative assistant, Student Employment; Suzanne Tjoelker, assistant registrar, Dr. Hui Zhang, assistant professor, Communication Studies.

Ms. Conley, who was also one of the nominees, was recognized for her work on campus over the years.

It was Ms. Conley, who serves on the MWPHE statewide organization, Tracy Charbonnier, treasurer for the MWHPE statewide organization, and others who campaigned to bring a MWPHE chapter to BSU.

“We really wanted to bring MWPHE here to create events where women on campus can get together to stay connected,” said Ms. Charbonnier, staff associate in the College of Education and Allied Studies.

The Phenomenal Women Reception will be an annual event, Ms. Conley said. 

“The goal is to continue to make connections, to recognize these women and their contribution. This is what makes the campus run,” she said. (Story and photo by Heather Harris Michonski, University News)

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