Women's Center

WomC Awards 2018

Womens center - womc awards - Ramirez

WomC Emerging Impact Undergraduate Award
Ana Ramirez, Define American

In its first year alone, and under Ana's leadership I'll reiterate, Duke Define American has traveled to Washington D.C., meeting with prominent senators and congressmen to lobby for a clean DACA bill to be added to the national budget. Ana is Co-President and the founder of Duke Define American. Through this political, social, and cultural organization, she has helped empower young undocumented and DACAmented women throughout this past year. of the executive board members of Define American are themselves undocumented, anxious of the precarity of their statuses. And yet, thanks to individuals like Ana, they remain undeterred in their activism. As an undocumented student, Ana is legally restricted to stay in the United States. In fact, one of the concerns Ana faced in her flight from Alaska was incidentally getting lain over in Canada, and therefore confronting the possibility of being stuck in an international country, and possibly being deported. Nevertheless, Ana bravely confronts this peril head-on, not letting the contradiction of what I'll coin her, "undocumented DREAMS," hinder her growth as a scholar and leader.

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

Adela Deanova is a PhD candidate in Philosophy. Her doctoral dissertation is on the natural philosophy of Robert Boyle and John Locke, and Cavendish's critique of Boyle and Hooke. Her research focuses on the relationship between hypotheses, observations and experiment, and the problem of unobservable entities which are core problems in early modern experimental philosophy. Currently, she project manages Project Vox (projectvox.library.duke.edu), which seeks to recover the lost voices of women who have been ignored in standard narratives of the history of modern philosophy. The aim is to change those narratives, thereby changing what students around the world learn about philosophy’s history. As part of Project Vox, Adela is working on a translation of the Masham-Leibniz correspondence into English.

Womens center - womc awards - Elizabeth Barahona

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

One of her proudest accomplishments at Duke University is founding the Zeta Mu Chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc (LTA). When she arrived to Duke University as a first-year student, she realized that there were few, if any spaces for young women to come together as a community. As a Baldwin Scholar she understood the limitations that an elite and small organization had in order to empower the number of women seeking resources and mentorship to become advocates in their community. As a first-year student, Elizabeth organized first, second, third and fourth year Asian, White, Black, Latina, undocumented, documented, international, domestic, poor, wealthy, first-generation, and multiple-generation college women to come together as an organized community to empower one another. Through the platform of a sorority, they could have access to a larger international network of women who were working on immigration issues, gun control, voting rights, and equal pay initiatives. Unlike most sororities, the group would pay little, if any, dues to the organization, and instead focus on social justice initiatives on campus. Being that many of the members were engineers, first in their families to come to college, and undocumented, Elizabeth made it her mission to provide the community, in and outside of LTA, with the academic and professional resources for them to thrive at Duke University. In their first year as an organization, the sorority had the lowest grade point average in our entire multicultural Greek council. Today, after hours of one-on-one tutoring, training in writing applications and grants, writing and research workshops, and graduate application sessions, Elizabeth is proud that the community has established a legacy of academic and professional excellence that has spread beyond our organization and into our larger student community. More importantly, the members are humble leaders and powerful advocates in the Duke community, working on undocumented student advocacy initiatives, improving accessibility for girls in STEM fields, organizing farmworkers in local agricultural communities, and conducting groundbreaking research about women in the Caribbean, Latin America, and in indigenous communities. Elizabeth is confident that when she graduates from Duke University, the young leaders in her organization will continue to advocate for marginalized students and community members, they will continue to empower incoming young women, and strive to make Duke a place where all students can succeed.

Womens center - womc awards - Marissa

WomC Community Impact Award
Melissa Beretta, The Girls Club

For more than three years, Melissa has served as a volunteer mentor with The Girls Club (TGC), a student group/afterschool program advised by my office, which operates out of the Emily K Center. TGC matches female Duke Students with at risk Durham middle school girls, all come from minority backgrounds. With TGC, Melissa and her fellow mentors create an environment that encourages self-respect, healthy lifestyle choices, and the importance of education. The curriculum has been well developed for middle school girls and has access to a Duke mental health professional (Ali Giusto) to assist as well

Melissa’s service with TGC has been outstanding. As a mentor she’s worked one on one with the young mentees, boosting their confidence while guiding them through the complex and ever changing environment of adolescence for four years. With TGC, Melissa has served in a variety of important roles. During her sophomore year, she served as the VP of Education for the group, creating the curriculum for the year and guiding the mentees and mentors in their activities each week. She planned and organized TGC’s annual spring college and civil rights trips to Richmond in 2016 and to Asheville in 2017, where the group visited local museums and landmarks, including the Biltmore House. For her dedication to both mentees/mentors within the organization, Melissa was elected as the President of TGC for 2017—2018.

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

Chandler and Eliza (both Class of 2018) were paired together in Tony Brown’s social entrepreneurship class as sophomores. They were tasked with identifying a social issue and designing a solution. They discussed how if black and Latina women are featured at all in media, they are portrayed in stereotypical ways. Chandler and Eliza decided to create their own media platform called The Bridge (thebridgeis.com) to claim space for the voices and stories of black and brown women. The site features writing, photography, film, and dance. During their sophomore year, they gathered 15 team members. Two years later, they have approximately 100 team members: contributors, social media marketers, web design experts, and event planners. The site hosts 6000+ unique users monthly.

Chandler and Eliza worked all summer to plan the roll-out of Mela (short for melanin), which will expand the impact of The Bridge to all women of color from all age groups. The new site will have broader reach, will feature new voices, and will create a larger platform for creatives to feature their talent. The Bridge will now include a fellowship program for members. Members who are serious about pursuing the arts will receive one-on-one industry mentors, support to create professional portfolios, and the opportunity to connect with representatives in at media companies in order to find internships and job opportunities. The Bridge recently received the Kenan-Biddle Partnership Grant of over $12,000 to begin to execute this new component of the organization.

Womens center - womc awards - Katie

WomC National Impact Award
Katie Wyatt, El Sistema, USA

2018 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow KATIE WYATT is a change maker, social innovator, and currently serves as the Executive Director of El Sistema USA, which is headquartered on the beautiful campus of Duke University in Durham, NC, in partnership with the Duke Social Sciences Research Institute. The El Sistema movement of “Music for Social Change” was developed more than 40 years ago by Venezuelan educator, musician, and activist Jose Antonio Abreu who believed that rigorous music instruction and orchestras could be used to break the cycles of poverty that he witnessed in his home country. Having proved to be a wildly successful model, El Sistema went on to grow and expand beyond Venezuela to the global phenomenon that it is today. El Sistema USA is based in the core values of equity, empowerment, excellence, impact, sustainability, joy, and community. El Sistema USA is a Membership organization which supports more than 80 El Sistema-inspired organizations. Under Katie's leadership, El Sistema USA strives to ensure that every Member organization has access to annual national learning and research events, a monthly webinar series, quarterly regional workshops, advocacy partners, grants for reinvestment in the field and future programming, evaluation and research updates, and online resources that help to build awareness.  There are no obstacles that would hinder Katie's efforts in servicing the needs of girls and/or women. She has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to diversity and advocacy.