Women's Center


WOMc Awards recognize individuals and organizations making an impact at Duke and beyond. 

Submit your nominations here

2019 WOMc Award Recipients



Amelia Steinbach

Amelia is unapologetically a feminist, and has a  willingness to combat and tackle institutions of power and privilege. She constantly inspires and has never hesitated to fight for what she believes in and call out cases of injustice. Her commitment to gender equity is demonstrated in her work on campus, where she leads Duke Honor Council and hosted a Women’s Rights Film festival earlier this semester, serves as editor of the Muse, a feminist publication, and teaches a house course called “Women’s Empowerment at Duke and Beyond.” Amelia also conducts research through the Duke Political Science Department about the effect of gender on midterm campaigns and is a NC Fellow for the UN Commission on the Status of Women, where she analyzed the intersection of intimate partner violence, HIV, and affordable housing in Durham. Her work on gender equity demonstrates a lifetime commitment to creating a more fair, representative world for all women. It's exciting to see all that she does when she runs and eventually serves in public office. Amelia influences her peers to be feminists and motivates them to speak out, especially against those who abuse their position of power.



Sydney Lane

Through her leadership as president of The Black Women's Union, Sydney Lane creates an environment that fosters genuine relationships of empowerment, support and inclusion within the Black female student body and between other groups on campus such as Asian Student Association and The Black Men's Union. Sydney has greatly shown her dedication to impacting not only the Black Women on Duke's campus but Duke community as a whole by reaffirming voices and experiences often unheard or silenced. She has embodied what it means to lead with grace and ambition.




Uyi Idahor

For the WomC Community Impact Award, the Women’s Center would like to recognize Uyi Idahor for her outstanding role in shaping Durham into a more inclusive and welcoming environment. At North Carolina Central University, Uyi founded Queen ReDefined, LLC. with the goal of building a community by encouraging self-love and expression of the Queen within all women. She expanded with this success and went on to co-found Black Women of Durham. The organization seeks to promote unity among Black women in Durham and create an uplifting and inclusive space for discussions about the social, political, mental, and physical well-being of the community. Monthly meetings include conversations about criminal justice and LGBTQIA+ issues, Black businesses, and planning of events such as the march to the polls in November. Uyi also reaches Durham’s youth community through her role as a co-facilitator for Young Women of Progress, an initiative at Northern High School that improves the lives of female students of color.



North Carolina Council for Women and Youth Involvement

Through dedicated research, programs, and initiatives, the council has advocated on behalf of women and youth to make North Carolina a safer and more inclusive state. Their work includes programs for sexual assault and domestic violence awareness and prevention, batterer and abuser intervention and re-education, and advocacy towards eliminating the gender pay gap or more accurate accounting for the state’s children. The council recently succeeded in encouraging Governor Roy Cooper to sign executive order 93, which categorically promotes wage equity and prohibits the requesting of salary history from applicants, a practice which perpetuates the income gap. They also offer state grants for programs that promote the safety and wellbeing of women. The council supports these initiatives and more through dedicated data collection to better represent the needs of women and children. We thank the Council for Women and Youth for their unending commitment towards making North Carolina better for all. 



Kelly Fair

Starting in her hometown of Chicago and expanding to cities including Durham, Kelly Fair has guided young girls of color into being the best versions of themselves both personally and career wise. With her non-profit organization, Polished Pebbles, Ms. Fair has encouraged girls and women of color to take pride in what makes them who they are, seeking opportunities for personal and career development and building healthy personal and business relationships. She has made it her business to be an active mentor for the girls following her. Kelly has and continues to shine her light and pour her heart into her community.




Anwuli Ngozi Okonjo

Global impact begins with amplifying the voices of stories that unite us as a global society. Anuwuli Ngozi founded Through the Eyes of African Women, a digital media organization that empowers young women in Africa to share their experiences, reclaim their narratives, and find connect with each other as agents of social change. Anwuli has built a pan-African network of female-led activist groups called the Young African Women Activists Collective, facilitating an environment for social change that is collaborate, narrative-driven, and puts gender equity at its forefront.




Cathy Watson 

This year’s Woman of Strength shows that the greatest embodiment in strength lies in nurturing the strength in others. Cathy Watson, the director of student life at the Duke Divinity School, not only oversees the Duke Divinity Women’s Center as well as countless other student groups on campus, but also, to quote one nominee, “offers a safe space for students.” The nominee wrote, “Cathy, as a black ordained clergywoman, constantly challenges the status quo and conquers obstacles for and with students at the Div School. Whether a student feels excluded, not represented, or just want to talk something out, Cathy goes above and beyond to meet their needs time and time again.”


2018 WOMc Award Recipients

WomC Emerging Impact Undergraduate Award: Ana Ramirez, Define American

WomC Emerging Impact Graduate/Professional Award: Adela Deanova, Project Vox

WomC Campus Impact Award: Elizabeth Barahona, Lambda Theta Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

WomC Community Impact Award: Melissa Beretta, The Girls Club

WomC Digital Impact Award: Chandler Phillips and Eliza Moreno, The Bridge

WomC National Impact Award: Katie Wyatt, El Sistema, USA

2017 WOMc Award Recipients

WOMC Emerging Impact Award: Julia Roberts, Women in science and engineering.

WOMC Community Impact Award: Tangela Stoner-Blackwell

WOMC State Impact Award: Partnership for Appalachian Girls' Education

WOMC National Impact Award: NC Organizers, Women's March on Washington

WOMC Global Impact Award: Alexandria Miller, Critical analysis of artistry of Caribbean Women.