WOW Awards highlight amazing women

(Lichelle Jenkins/ The Signpost)
Latrisha Hughes and her nominator Becky Roe (Lichelle Jenkins/ The Signpost)
(Lichelle Jenkins/ The Signpost)
Isabel Asensio and her nominator Dr. Electra Fielding (Lichelle Jenkins/ The Signpost)

Staff, faculty, students and special guests filled the Shepherd Union ballroom Thursday to honor women at Weber who have gone above and beyond to make a huge impact on those around them.

This year the fifth annual Women of Weber (WOW) Awards had the most people attending since the ceremony’s inception.

The awards featured many amazing women and the nominators who deemed them worthy of an award. The Women’s Center hosts this award presentation every year, allowing the exceptional women of Weber to receive recognition.

“I really think this is a special time, because during Women’s History month, I think we all need to step back and honor the contributions and stories of the amazing women that are around,” professor Jan Winniford, vice president of Student Affairs, said at the beginning of the ceremony.

Winniford mentioned that the nominated women have a passion for making Weber State a better and more special place. She also mentioned that these women are writing their own stories and histories, or rather their “herstories.”

This play on words is used to show the impact women have on the world. “There’s a special way that women have of working with others, relying on others and getting to others. I think this helps shape this environment that honors and cares,” Winniford said.

There were three women nominated in each category: A staff member, a student and a faculty member. Each was called to the stage to receive an award, along with their nominators.

For example, nominator Darcy Gregg had this to say about Woman of Wonder winner Pamela Payne, “During her first semester she was diagnosed with cancer. The way Pam has handled this whole experience was inspiring.”

Similarly, Hendrik Ombach said this about J’Lene Rea, another Woman of Wonder, “She balances raising a family and attending school while battling challenges that would stop even the best of us.”

Rea is a military veteran who has excelled as a student and as a student leader, according to nominator Joshua Hunt.

The three women in each of the nine categories were able to stand in front of the audience and be honored for their accomplishments. Overall the winners felt thankful for winning these awards.

Professor Isabel Asensio, nominated in the Woman of the World category, said she was “very happy and honored.” At the same time she was surprised that someone thought of her as a Woman of the World.

“Now I have the responsibility to continue doing what I’m doing,” she said.

Emily Whitby, a Woman of Wit, mentioned that she was surprised when she was nominated.

“It’s really neat because you don’t think students notice or care enough to nominate you,” she said. She also mentioned that it’s good to know students are affected by the way she teaches.

Shelby Sakamoto said that she was honored and excited to win the Woman of Warmth award. “I like to be an example for others and it’s really fun to create a community environment,” she said.

Women of Weber winners are Catherine Zublin for faculty, Karin Hurst for Staff and Tessa Diamond for student.

Women of Wonder winners are Pamela Payne for faculty, Stephanie McKee for staff and J’Lene Rea for student.

Women of the World winners are Isabel Asensio for faculty, Yulia Goff for staff and Valerie Jacobson for student.

Women of Wisdom winners are Stephanie Wolfe for faculty, Jennifer Grandi for staff and Ashlee Cawley for student.

Women of Wellness winners are Geri Conlin for faculty, Raeanna Johnson for staff and Chelsea Wheeler for student.

The Women of Wit awards went to Emily Whitby for faculty, Monica Rodriquez for staff and Joy Ence for student.

The Warrior of Women award went to students Latrisha Hughes and Sherrie Sodaro.

The three Women of Warmth winners are Toni Asay for faculty, Sherrie Jensen for staff and Shelby Sakamoto for student.

Lastly, Women of Worth went to Barbara Chrisman, a community member.