OSU Women of Achievement

The 2011 Women of Achievement are, from left, Cath Kendrick, Vicki Ebbeck, Nicole Strong and Kryn Freehling-Burton. (photo: Theresa Hogue)

Each year, in conjunction with National Women’s History Month, the Women’s Center Advisory Board at Oregon State University (OSU) presents the Women of Achievement Awards. These awards honor the contributions and commitment of outstanding women on our campus and throughout the state of Oregon whose work has benefited women. These awards are given to encourage women in their work and to let them know their contributions do not go unnoticed.

The awards ceremony for the winners took place April 26 in the Memorial Union Lounge.

Nicole Strong has been an instructor in the OSU Extension Service Forestry Program since 2004. Since then, she has coordinated and taught over 140 non-credit classes for 2300 forestland owners looking to acquire new skills in forest and wildlife management, financial and estate planning, and gaining access to technical and financial assistance. In addition to her tireless teaching, she also developed and fostered a project called Women Owning Woodlands Network (WOWnet). This educational program was created to lend support to the growing number of women owning forests by offering workshops designed around a peer-learning approach for sharing knowledge, skills, and networking in a safe environment. This program has taken her across the country to lead workshops and set up networks for support and other resources. What makes her even more remarkable is that her position is entirely self-funded which has required her to seek out grants in addition to all the work she puts into her work. Since 2005, she has secured over $1,000,000 for herself and her program.

Vicki Ebbeck is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences and the Co-Director of the Sport and Exercise Psychology Laboratory. She is well-known for exemplary work advising graduate students and for seeking out non-traditional students who have difficult paths to traverse to complete their graduate work. Her feminist values are also reflected in her research. She studies women in transition at Linn-Benton Community College through a program called Turning Point Transitions that works with single parents and displaced homemakers. Her research focused on understanding the sense of autonomy in these women and how to improve upon that development through promoting behaviors that increase physical and emotional well-being. She has studied those who are traditionally overlooked in research including women who were survivors of domestic violence, substance abusers, post-menopausal women, and those who were transitioning to college from non-traditional backgrounds. Ebbeck is inspirational because she has gone above-and-beyond in her work researching and helping disadvantaged women.

Kryn Freehling-Burton is an Instructor in Women Studies whose seemingly unrelenting work ethic and passion for students has led her to become an integral part of the program. In addition to a time-consuming teaching schedule, Freehling-Burton finds time to do an array of activism including feminist-centered theatre work and consciousness-raising about issues around motherhood. Her love for theatre has been brought into her classes to inspire alternative forms of learning while her interest in motherhood led to the creation of her own class, “Sex, Lies, & Motherhood.” Her innovative teaching style and her infectiously-bubbly personality have virtually guaranteed large classes and highly positive reviews by students at the end of each term. Not only has her teaching ability impacted the department, her work behind the scenes has been invaluable. She has sat on numerous committees including undergraduate honors thesis committees and graduate committees, search committees, and the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. She has worked as the interim program associate for Difference, Power, and Discrimination in 2008 and as the coordinator for the women studies online program. Freehling-Burton does it all – and then some.

Catherine “Cath” Kendrick currently spends much of her time volunteering for Project HER, an organization spreading awareness and education about breast cancer and support for those at all stages. She attends appointments with women to take notes, offer advice or comfort, sit with them during chemotherapy, and other supportive needs. In addition, she also has participated in Good Samaritan’s “No One Dies Alone” program where she spends time with terminally-ill patients. Her empathy and selflessness have inspired countless friends and acquaintances to fight through tough battles and to help others. Cath has tutored students from her home since 1992 and previously worked as an instructor/ tutor for math in the Educational Opportunities Program and the Health Careers Opportunity Program at OSU. She has tutored students from elementary school to high school and she has taken part in a program that brings girls to campus for inspiration and support to stay interested math and science. Her long involvement with tutoring young girls and with groups and organizations that support women in the sciences stems from her desire to show that science is not a discipline solely for men. During her time at OSU, Kendrick was a part of the Women’s Center Advisory Board, the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, the Association of Women in Science, and the Faculty Women’s Network.

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