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Virginia Wolf Distinguished Service Awards

2024 Virginia Wolf Distinguished Service Awards Reception and Celebration

12:30 – 2 p.m.
Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Clearwater-Whitewater rooms, First Floor, ISUB

Each year, members of the campus and local community are recognized with the Virginia Wolf Award for their continuous dedication to activism for gender justice.

Virginia (Ginny) Wolf was a professor of physical education at U of I from 1964-1982. Ginny took an active role in addressing issues affecting women on campus, including chairing U of I Women’s Caucus and helping to launch the campaign that brought about the establishment of a permanent Women’s Center.

The award was created in 2002 to recognize individuals who reflect a similar level of commitment and demonstrate a level of activism reverent of what Ginny gave more than 30 years ago. Selection of awardees is by review from a panel composed of past honorees. Women’s Center staff members serve as advisors to the nominations review committee but do not participate in the review process.

Upcoming Events

The Women’s Center offers a wide variety of events to help inform, educate, inspire and empower around women’s and gender-related issues.

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2023 Recipients

Akorede SerikiAkorede has taken bold steps towards breaking the glass ceiling by pursuing academic success in a field traditionally dominated by men. She has seized every opportunity to occupy positions that enable her to contribute to promoting gender equity within and outside her field. Akorede has taken on numerous leadership roles at University of Idaho, serving as a board member for the African Students Association (ASA) and National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE-UI), which are student bodies designed for underrepresented minorities. From 2021-2022, she took on the role of Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for the Randall Women in Science (RWiS) group, an interdisciplinary project funded by Dr. Jan Randall, an alumna of University of Idaho. The theme of this group aligns with her values for the professional development of women, while challenging sexism and misogyny. Akorede facilitated avenues for women to showcase their success with the academic community, increasing their representation, and leveraged on her position as a council member for Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA), to advocate for RWiS to be a Graduate Student Organization, thus granting them access to funds to drive her diversity, equality and inclusion initiatives. Akorede also served as a Graduate Student representative for Ubuntu, a committee that focuses on the needs of underrepresented and/or under-served students, staff and faculty.

She contributed to formulating policies such as the anti-bullying policy and the Resolution on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice, which was approved by Faculty Senate. She also represented GPSA in the U of I Title IX Advisory Committee, providing input on the implementation of Title IX Regulations, which prohibit all forms of sexual harassment and promote gender equality on campus. She also won the 2021 MLK, Jr. Art & Essay Contest in the Graduate writing category for her article addressing equality, social, racial and ethnic justice. Akorede is the student leader of the International Student Support Group, where she works to provide community for her fellow international students on campus. In 2022, she was awarded the Athena Student Excellence award. This year, she is the young ambassador to Idaho for the American Society for Microbiology, where she promotes the field of microbial sciences to improve the world for all. In this capacity, she received Young Ambassador Project Funds to champion initiatives to boost the representation of women in science. Akorede's work has had a significant impact on the university community and her field, and has helped to advance gender justice in highly meaningful ways.

Emilie McLarnanEmilie has built her career on a foundation of empathy, understanding and advocacy. Growing up in a family of social workers, she saw the need of community members and the broken systems that had been built in the hope of helping those in need. Watching her family navigate those systems and help those who needed it most helped build the foundation of her professional career path. She began an extensive career as an advocate and educator on domestic abuse. Early in her career, she provided education on assault prevention to diverse populations in a domestic violence shelter in Ohio. While there, she also facilitated a children’s domestic violence support group, and served as a grant-funded project coordinator, where she worked on violence prevention education projects, including “A Call to Men.”

After receiving her master's degree in social work in 2006, she arrived in the Moscow-Pullman area and started a long stint with Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse (ATVP) as a Direct Service Advocate, working with clients experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault. She engaged in prevention outreach, trained other facilitators and worked with local agencies identifying and addressing gaps in service to those in need in the community. She was quickly promoted to the Associate Director of ATVP, where she supervised and mentored staff, coordinated direct service, developed agency goals and worked directly with both Washington State University and University of Idaho on sexual violence crisis intervention for students. In 2016, Emilie transitioned to University of Idaho, where she became the Associate Director of Violence Prevention Programs, working directly with students experiencing dating and domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. She has developed and facilitated intervention programs and worked collaboratively with student groups and student government on addressing issues of inequality in support programs for students. She’s brought speakers and trainings to campus who address gender equality, advocacy for women, violence prevention and related topics, providing space for those who attend to think differently, opening their minds and their hearts to experiences that are not their own. In Fall 2022, Emilie started a new position in the Dean of Students office as a case manager, where she continues to support and provide resources for all students, specifically working with students who have experienced sexual assault, dating and domestic violence and stalking. She has continued serving as a facilitator for Green Dot and has supported the new Coordinator of Violence Prevention in her work, ensuring that the foundation of support and education that she created remains strong. Emilie approaches her work from a trauma-informed lens, and understands the complicated nature of preventing and addressing power-based personal violence. She sees the systemic inequality inherent in structures meant to support those in need, and she works tirelessly to fix those systems, whether they are internal structures within the university, regionally or nationally. Emilie has the knowledge, skills and heart to make meaningful, systemic change in her advocacy for all women.

Dr. Rebecca ScofieldDr. Scofield works tirelessly on campus and in the community to improve and enhance equity and inclusivity through her extraordinary service, scholarship, teaching and mentorship. For the last 15 months, Dr. Scofield has worked as a Humanities Fellow for the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, tasked with improving equity and inclusion in the college. She is innovative in her ideas for improving campus, working diligently to accomplish these goals, standing strong in the face of resistance. Dr. Scofield has demonstrated the importance of being creative in the face of institutional obstacles, finding new routes to improving campus culture when a policy or procedure stands in the way. She refuses to accept a “no” when an action is vital to institutional improvement and opportunities for students. She also uses her positions on campus to educate others about equity and inclusion, bringing a number of important scholars and speakers to campus to explore issues related to equity and justice. Dr. Scofield also uses her own voice in similar ways, regularly speaking on campus and in the community, engaging tirelessly in broad and various efforts to make Moscow and University of Idaho a better, safer and more equitable place.

Dr. Scofield teaches and studies on the topic of gender in the American west, in which she promotes awareness of often ignored and silenced populations. Her scholarship more broadly deals with understanding gender oppression and promoting equity. She has written about Dolly Parton and plastic surgery, women’s suffrage in Idaho, Li’l Nas X and global fashion. Dr. Scofield uses her coursework as a launching point to mentor undergraduate and graduate students. She has served on 13 graduate committees, mentoring students and supporting them as they too examine a more inclusive vision of history. Dr. Scofield’s mentorship extends also to her peers. She recently became the chair of the History department as a first-year Associate Professor. In this role, she works to equalize service and opportunities in her program. Dr. Scofield offers mentoring opportunities for students, such as social gatherings focused on post-graduate job applications and hiring. Finally, she serves as a mentor to women across campus in her wise sharing of advice, constant support and resilient encouragement. One of Dr. Scofield’s greatest efforts to improve University of Idaho was in helping the Athena/Faculty Senate parental leave working group lobby to advance paid parental leave on campus. She tirelessly researched similar policies at other institutions and designed options for U of I, despite being blocked at various points by people who didn’t think such a change was possible. In this work, Dr. Scofield models the very best of what advocacy and institutional change can be.

Rev. Elizabeth StevensThe Rev. Dr. Stevens has been actively involved in gender justice work, both as Unitarian Universalist minister and as a community leader, since she moved to the Palouse in 2012. She officiated the first legal gay marriage in northern Idaho in October 2014, organized and spoke at the Women’s March in Moscow on January 21, 2017, and participated in the March to Defend Reproductive Freedom in October 2021. In 2022 alone, she helped organize the gathering at the Latah County Courthouse to protest the leaked Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision, spoke at the Rally for Reproductive Rights and participated in Bans Off Our Bodies. She has also led her congregation at every Pride March since 2012, and she appeared on Dateline NBC this past September to speak out against the patriarchal and bigoted messaging of a local fundamentalist religious organization. At the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse (UUCP) where she serves, she regularly preaches on topics of gender equity and the harms of patriarchy, including an annual Pride service.

On her blog, Dr. Stevens regularly examines gender issues, and has she written for the Moscow-Pullman Daily News on behalf of the Moscow Interfaith Association to support reproductive rights. The UUCP, under Dr. Stevens’ leadership, also offers regular Our Whole Lives (OWL) lifespan sexuality courses for children and youth that celebrate sexual and gender diversity and strongly affirm the worth and dignity of all people. All of these specific accomplishments, however, fail to convey the power of Dr. Stevens’s presence, devotion and example as an advocate for gender justice and inclusivity. Her fierce commitment to creating a world where people of all genders, sexualities and identities are valued, respected and secure pervades her work, and she strives tirelessly to establish the UUCP as a sanctuary for those who may not feel safe or welcome elsewhere in our community. The words of welcome recited by her congregation each Sunday state: “We are one people of many beliefs, identities, origins, sexualities and genders. All are welcome here.” She is a true warrior in the fight for equal rights and respect.

Past Recipients

2022- Farjahan Shawon (student), Kristin Haltinner (faculty), Amy Sharp (community member)

2021 - Briana Navarro (student), Erin Chapman (faculty), Maureen Laflin (community member)

2020 - Samragyee Gautam (student), Leontina Hormel (staff), Maureen Taylor Regan (community member)

2019 - Ashley Ayala (student), Julia Keleher (staff), Christine Wall (community member)

2018 - Catherine Yenne (student), Christina Vazquez-Ayala (staff), Nancy Nydegger (community member)

2017 - Madeline Scyphers (student), Rula Awwad-Rafferty (faculty), Erin Tomlin (community member)

2016 - Courtney Kersten (student), Ryanne Pilgerem (faculty), Sally Fredericks (community member)

2015 - Sara Spritzer (student), Maribel Franco (student), Laura Putsche (faculty), Kathy Sprague (community member)

2014 - Kaitlin Moroney (student), Yolanda Bisbee (staff), Deb Payne (community member)

2013 - Whitney Chapman (student), Colleen Kulesza (student), Virginia Solan (staff), Heather Shea Gasser (staff), Lela Ames (community member)

2012 - Micah Kehrein (student), Jane Lear (staff), Jama Sebald (community member)

2011 - Lynn McAlister (student), Chelsia Rice (student), Christine Moffitt (faculty), Christopher Bidiman (community member)

2010 - Rachel Todd (student), Francesca Sammarruca (faculty), Liz Sullivan (community member)

2009 - Anne-Marije Rook (student), Rebecca Rod (staff), Joann Muneta (community member), Jeannie Harvey (lifetime activist)

2008 - Tara Malmquist (student), Liz Brandt (faculty), Amy Stone Ford (community member)

2007 - James French (student), Traci Craig (faculty), Mary Jo Hamilton (community member)

2006 - Cassie Searle (student), Kathy Aiken (faculty), Ginny Foote (community member)

2005 - Selena Lloyd (student), Betsy Thomas and Valerie Russo (staff)

2004 - No awards given

2003 - Lori van Buggenum (student), Debbie Storrs (faculty)

2002 - Emily Sly (student), Kay Keskinen (staff)

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Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1064
Moscow, ID 83844-1064

Phone: 208-885-2777

Fax: 208-885-6285


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