Women of Distinction


The rich tradition of women’s contributions to Washington State University encompasses teachers and scholars, staff and advisors, students and alumni, administrators and regents, volunteers and friends. The WSU Women* of Distinction and Woman* of the Year Awards are traditionally presented annually during National Women’s History Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of women to the academic and local community, and to our society.

Women* of Distinction awardees usually include an alumna, a faculty member, a staff member, or a student (undergraduate or graduate). Individuals not affiliated with WSU but who work with WSU in community engagement, development, student engagement, or other areas can also be nominated.  All nominees for Women* of Distinction awards are eligible for the Woman* of the Year award, and nominations from all WSU campuses and locations, as well as self-nominations, are encouraged.

Solicitation for nominations for the 2025 Women* of Distinction and Woman* of the Year awards will be announced Fall 2024.

These prestigious awards recognize women* for their accomplishments and contributions to society and the lives of women.

To Be Considered for the Awards, the Nominee Must:

  • Have distinguished themselves in academic work, career, leadership, public service, or any combination thereof.
  • Have contributed to the personal growth and success of others, especially women, through education, research, or public volunteer service beyond expected job responsibilities.
  • Have created positive social change, increased equality for all, and helped build community through service.
  • Have not been honored with this award in the last five years.

  1. With the list of qualifications in mind, provide a statement indicating the nominee’s distinguished contributions and achievements that addressed each of the qualifications above (limit 2 pages).
  2. In addition to the statement, provide any supporting documents to assist the committee in making this decision (limit 2 pages each and no more than 4 supporting documents). Examples include letters of support, additional nominations, and/or statements of reference).
  3. If you choose to include references, please include the names and contact information for references for the nominee.

This award is for people who identify as women and their allies, who have worked to elevate the status and equality of women.

Congratulations to the 2024 Awardees

Amaris Cupples
Graduate Student:
Ping Ping Tang
Corri McGrath
Tenure-Track Faculty:
Debbie Lee
Career-Track Faculty:
Julie Padowski
Dawn DeWitt
Tess Wakasugi-Don
Woman* of the Year: Kimberly Christen

Past Awardees

Congratulations to the 2024 Awardees

Left to right: Dawn DeWitt (Administrator), Deborah Lee (Tenure Track Faculty), Tess Wagasuki-Don (Alumna), PingPing Tang (Graduate Student), Amaris Cupples (Undergraduate Student), Kim Christen (Woman* of the Year), Corrie McGrath (Staff). Not Shown: Julie Padowski (Carreer Track Faculty), Allison Munch-Rotolo and Terry Buffington (Community Partner co-winners).

Amaris Cupples
Graduate Student:
Ping Ping Tang
Corri McGrath
Tenure-Track Faculty:
Debbie Lee
Career-Track Faculty:
Julie Padowski
Dawn DeWitt
Tess Wakasugi-Don
Woman* of the Year: Kimberly Christen

Previous Women of the Year

Dr. Kimberly Christen, 2024

A closeup of Jennifer Adam.

Dr. Jennifer Adam, 2023

Nairanjana “Jan” Dasgupta

Dr. Nairanjana “Jan” Dasgupta, 2022

Erica Crespi

Dr. Erica Crespi, 2021

Sheryl DeShields

Sheryl DeShields, 2020

Photo of Dr. Anna Plemons, 2019 Woman of Distinction

Dr. Anna Plemons, 2019

Photo of Dr. Katrina Mealey, 2018 Woman of Distinction

Dr. Katrina Mealey, 2018

Photo of Sheila Kearney Converse, 2017 Woman of Distinction

Sheila Kearney Converse, 2017

Photo of Anna King, 2016 Woman of Distinction

Anna King, 2016

Photo of Nikki Finnestead, 2015 Woman of Distinction

Nikki Finnestead, 2015

Photo of Laura Griner, 2014 Woman of Distinction

Laura Griner Hill, 2014

Photo of Lisa Brown, 2013 Woman of Distinction

Lisa Brown, 2013

Photo of Julia Pomerenk, 2012 Woman of Distinction

Julia Pomerenk, 2012

Photo of Cathryn Claussen, 2011 Woman of Distinction

Cathryn Claussen, 2011

Photo of Rebecca Craft, 2010 Woman of Distinction

Rebecca Craft, 2010

Photo of Joan O'sa Oviawe, 2009 Woman of Distinction

Joan O’sa Oviawe, 2009

Photo of Sue Armitage, 2008 Woman of Distinction

Sue Armitage, 2008

Photo of Christine Gregoire, 2007 Woman of Distinction

Christine Gregoire, 2007

Photo of Rebecca Miles, 2006 Woman of Distinction

Rebecca Miles, 2006

Previous Women of the Distinction


  • Michelle Kelly, Alumna
  • Olivia Yang, Staff
  • Michelle Carter, Faculty
  • Amanda Westbrook, Undergraduate
  • Ayumi Manawadu, Graduate


  • Lindha Sagen, Community
  • Michelle Lee, Undergraduate
  • Misty Lefler, Graduate Student
  • Jeannette Hurt, Staff
  • Vicki McCracken, Faculty


  • Anika VanDeen, Student
  • Robin Stratton, Staff
  • Kelly Brayton, Faculty


  • Lysa C. Salsbury, Community
  • Christine Oakley, Faculty
  • Davi I. Kallman, Graduate Student
  • Gillian Khoo Coldsnow, Staff


  • Marie Dymoski, Community
  • Amy G. Mazur, Faculty
  • Melanie Thornton, Graduate Student
  • Marcela Carrillo Pattinson, Staff
  • Fadumo Ali, Undergraduate
  • Jacqueline van Wormer, Alumna
  • Sue M. Durrant, Lifetime Achievement


  • Kimberly Garland Campbell, Community
  • Candis Claiborn, Faculty
  • Faith Lutze, Faculty
  • Katherine Bittinger, Graduate
  • Melynda Huskey, Staff
  • Dominique “Nikki” Norman, Undergraduate
  • Dorothy Wiley, Lifetime Achievement Award


  • Beatriz Schweitzer, Community
  • Catherine Cooper, Faculty
  • Lynn M Becerra, Graduate
  • Sita Pappu, Staff
  • LaKecia Farmer, Undergraduate
  • Jalisa Harris, Undergraduate


  • Carol Guthrie, Community
  • Roberta Paul, Faculty
  • Amber Morczek, Graduate
  • Vanessa Delgado, Undergraduate
  • Susan Rahr, Alumna


  • Carmento Floyd, Community
  • Rev. Kristine Zakarison, Community
  • Elizabeth “Libby” Walker, Faculty
  • Sina Sam, Student
  • Kimberly Green, Staff
  • Judy Rogers


  • Susan Wofford, Community
  • Peg Motley, Community
  • Kimberlee Kidwell, Faculty
  • Sharon Morgan, Staff
  • Francesca White, Undergraduate


  • Robin Woltering, Community
  • Amy Skinder-Meredith, Faculty
  • Katherine Baril, Staff
  • Deborah Gracio, Alumna


  • Rebecca Craft, Faculty
  • Alice Smethurst, Staff
  • Bernadette Mencke, Graduate student/staff


  • Lori Carris, Faculty
  • Heidi Stanton, Staff
  • Margo Tamez, Student
  • Theresa Schulz Norris, Alumna
  • Gladys Jennings, Lifetime Achievement Award


  • Xyanthe Neider, Graduate


  • Jean Johnson, Faculty
  • Andrea Hall, Student


  • Samantha Swindell, Faculty
  • Vicki Owens


  • Lucy Luginbill, Staff
  • Lucy Loera, Graduate
  • Donna Shavlik, Graduate
  • Pauline Seals, Alumna