Commission for Women honors Schraer, Achieving Women award winners

March 21, 2005

The Commission for Women announced the winners of its annual Achieving Women Awards and the Rosemary Schraer Mentoring Award winner at its annual banquet Monday evening (March 21).

The Schraer Award, created in memory of Rosemary Schraer, former associate provost for Penn State, honors a current University employee who exemplifies Rosemary Schraer's giving of herself as a mentor. Mentoring activities include advising, facilitating, encouraging and paving the way for others to recognize and realize their potential in their personal and professional endeavors. Consideration is given to any employee, whether administrator, faculty, technical service or staff member who has a record of outstanding mentoring service going beyond the requirements of his or her employment duties and responsibilities and who has voluntarily, over a period of time, excelled in helping others recognize and achieve their potential.

This year's Schraer Award winner was Sally Kalin, associate dean of the University Libraries. According to her nominator, Sandy Ball, Kalin is someone who is willing -- and offers -- to help others, and is constantly seeking growth and development for herself. In one of the letters of support for Kalin's nomination, a colleague wrote, "Sally mentors so well, that you don't even know she's doing it." Ball added, "I'm certain Sally doesn't realize she's mentoring. It's simply an essential part of who she is." According to Ball, "Kalin is a role model for everyone with whom she comes into contact -- to the librarians on tenure track in the library, to fellow students in her Mastering Supervision class, to the department heads who report to her, and to me. It's simply not possible to come into contact with Sally and not be positively impacted."

Achieving Women awards are given to employees who have shown leadership and are accomplished in their fields; have supported Penn State's diversity efforts and promoted equal opportunity; and have contributed to human causes and public service activities. The following people were honored:

-- Staff non-exempt: Marcy Ann Bencivenga is a champion of health promotion in the rural and medically underserved populations in northwestern Pennsylvania and southern New York state. Through her position as field coordinator with Northern Appalachia Cancer Network, Bencivenga has driven thousands of miles to provide the 119 members of her various coalitions with training and technical assistance related to cancer education, program planning and evaluation, leadership, networking and outreach.

-- Graduate student: Andrea Ryan is the mother of three children and a returning adult student. She received her bachelor's degree from Occidental College in Los Angeles, Calif., and her master's degree from Penn State. She currently is working toward her doctorate in agricultural economics and rural sociology from the College of Agricultural Sciences. As a teaching assistant, Ryan consistently demonstrates a commitment to helping students master the content and appreciate the importance of the topics covered. In recognition of her teaching skills, she was awarded the Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award last fall.

-- Undergraduate student: Jennifer Searcy, an undergraduate adult learner and mother of four young daughters, is enrolled in the honors program at Penn State Fayette. In 2003, she received an IdeasHappen.com VISA-sponsored Community Grant to develop a series of children's books on CD that would help to teach individuals about epilepsy. Searcy collaborated with Duquesne University and created the CD as part of a course for Duquesne's masters in multimedia technology degree.

-- Administrator: Susan Welch, dean of the College of the Liberal Arts, has combined academic leadership in her primary discipline of political science with a strong administrative career. She has been successful both as a research scholar and as an administrator. During the recent Grand Destiny Campaign, Welch led the college in meeting and exceeding fundraising goals three different times, ultimately raising $52.5 million. Welch also has increased the number of women faculty and staff members from other underrepresented areas.

-- Technical service: Patricia J. Waite has been a food service worker in Findlay Commons for 10 years. Married with five children, Waite considers the students that she serves to be her extended family. She means a lot to the students, and often serves as a substitute mom, helping homesick students feel at home. According to a nominator, Waite "puts her heart into her job day in and day out."

-- Faculty: Carol Colbeck, director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE), put the icing on Penn State's Sesquicentennial Celebration by championing a national symposium on "The Future of the American Public Research University." Looking to the future is natural for Colbeck, a teacher, mentor and internationally recognized scholar, who reorganized the CSHE with the higher education degree program to build synergy and bring focus to challenges facing higher education in the next 150 years.

-- Staff exempt: Ann Wolf assumed the position of manager of Penn State's Soil Testing Laboratory in 1986 and was appointed director of the Agricultural Analytical Services Laboratory (AASL) in 1991 when the College of Agricultural Sciences integrated its testing programs into one operation. Under Wolf's leadership, the AASL has become one of the most visible and highly esteemed public agricultural testing laboratories in the United States.

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    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated January 10, 2015