Women of Achievement Awards

Since 2015, the Annual Women of Achievement & Spotlight Awards Luncheon celebrates the scholarship and research of women faculty and outstanding achievements by women campus staff and students. The prizes are partially funded through the Mather Spotlight Series Endowment, established in 1989 by the Mather Centennial Celebration Committee of the Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Association.

The Flora Stone Mather Center for Women and the Mather Spotlight Awards Selection Committee invite nominations of CWRU women faculty, staff, and students for the biennial Mather Spotlight Award, which recognizes the achievements of two women faculty, two women staff, one woman graduate or professional student, and one woman undergraduate student whose outstanding professional accomplishments, leadership, and service have had a significant positive impact on our university and campus community.

From 2005-2013, The Mather Spotlight Awards occurred on an annual basis and recognized the scholarly achievements of eight women faculty members, each selected by their respective schools. The awards have now expanded so as to recognize the contributions and achievements of women staff and students, as well as women faculty members, and the awards ceremony will occur on a biennial basis going forward.

2021 Mather Spotlight Prize Winners

For the 2021 Mather Spotlight Prize, the following women will be honored at a virtual screening on October 28th, 2021 at 4 pm. 

Register for the 2021 Women of Achievement Awards Livestream Event here.

Dr. Jennifer Carter, Faculty Director, SCSAM, and Associate Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Headshot of Dr. Jennifer Carter

Dr. Carter's research focuses on understanding microstructural evolution and the performance of interface-rich materials for extreme environments. Her work utilizes data-science techniques to integrate disparate theories, measures, and methods in order to inform the design of processing routes and improve reliability and performance. They develop high-throughput measurements of metrics of microstructural evolution and material performance that rely on traditional and machine-learning algorithms for computational efficiency. Her teaching and mentoring focuses on enabling new engineers to work and thrive by embracing their whole selves.

Dr. Damaris Puñales-Alpizar, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literature

Dr. Punales Alpizar headshot

Dr. Damaris Puñales–Alpízar, is an Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies, Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, and Executive Sponsor of Alianza Latina/Latin Alliance. She studied Journalism at the University of Havana, and has worked as a journalist in Cuba, Belize, and Mexico. In Belize, she founded Conexión, the first bilingual and trans-border newspaper, and in Mexico she was correspondent for regional and national mass media outlets. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. At CWRU, she teaches Hispanic Caribbean and Latin American literature and culture. She is the founder and director of two study abroad programs at CWRU. Her publications are expansive and her scholarly articles have appeared in leading journals in the United States, Cuba, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Peru, France, and Spain. In 2018, Dr. Puñales-Alpízar was a Fulbright Scholar in Russia to complete research for her current scholarly project on the geopolitics of socialist translations. In 2021, she won an Expanding Horizons Initiative Grant to organize the international conference “Translation Practices during the Cold War: A Multidisciplinary Approach.” During the 2013–2015 period, Puñales-Alpízar was elected delegate from the Great Lakes region to the Modern Language Association. Regularly, she writes and translates for the Collective Arts Network Journal, CAN, in Cleveland, and publishes op-ed pieces in a Spain newspaper. She is a Member of the Board of LatinUS Theater Experience Company, in Cleveland, and founder and vice-president of the non-profit organization Trasatlántica. Poetry and Scholarship. She is also a member of the Editorial Board of the academic journal Caribe. 

Michelle Corcoran, Department Administrator, Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences

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Michelle Corcoran is currently the Department Administrator in Sociology. She has been with the department since 1999, starting as a Department Assistant 2. In her role, she oversees departmental and grant related budgets and annually determines the allocation of departmental funds, recommending the distribution of annual student tuition and stipend support. In addition, she is responsible for overseeing the scheduling of departmental colloquia, organizing meetings and events, gathering data and preparing reports from annual departmental updates to graduate program reviews. Lastly, Michelle processes leave paperwork, student employment applications, time approval, graduate student stipends, lecturer and adjunct appointments, annual performance evaluations and exit paperwork, and as the HR point person, is also the departmental constant that people rely on for accurate answer and kind words when they are concerned about next steps in the program. Previously, Michelle worked with the Cleveland Bicentennial Commission and Cleveland Tomorrow. She has an MBA from CWRU and also holds a BA in Interpersonal Communications from Bowling Green State University.

Daniela Solomon, Research Services Librarian for Chemistry and Engineering, Kelvin Smith Library

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Daniela has over 10 years’ experience as an academic librarian specialized in engineering disciplines. She holds a Master’s Degree in Library Science and Information from the University of Arizona, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the ”Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University, Iasi, Romania. Daniela’s work as an engineering librarian is largely influenced by her personal experience as an engineer, which determined her to make special effort to support and empower women faculty and students throughout their academic career and beyond. Her purpose is to educate on the research tools available and the scholarly publishing best practices.

In her role at Kelvin Smith Library, she continuously seeks to understand the needs and interests of the researchers, faculty, students, and students groups or campus offices, and uses her enthusiasm and creativity to develop programs and learning opportunities that engage the campus community and beyond. Her research interests include technical standards education and scholarly impact metrics. In addition to her library position, Daniela holds leadership positions in the American Society for Engineering Education, Engineering Libraries Division, and the STEM Interest Group, American Library Association of Ohio.

Jessica Salley Riccardi, Doctoral Candidate, Communication Sciences, Department of Psychological Sciences

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Jessica Salley Riccardi, MS CCC-SLP, is a doctoral candidate in Communication Sciences in the Department of Psychological Sciences. Before starting her PhD program at CWRU in Fall 2018, she earned her BS from the University of New Hampshire, her MS in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and worked as a speech-language pathologist. Currently, her research focuses on the long term outcomes of childhood brain injury, including in the area of cognitive-communication and in high-risk populations such as justice-involved youth. Jess is planning to graduate in May 2022 and is pursuing a career as a research-academic in a tenure-track faculty position.

Joy Mason, Bachelor of Science Candidate, Business Management – Healthcare, Weatherhead School of Management

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Joy Mason is a fourth-year undergraduate student studying business management with a minor in psychology and a concentration in healthcare. After being adopted from China, Joy has lived in Mentor, OH. On-campus, Joy is serving as a Resident Assistant in the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Apartments in the Upper Class Experience after being an RA for two years for First-Year students. Joy is a fourth-year Scholar for the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning, where her primary volunteer site is University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. Joy is also the President of CWRU’s Model United Nations Team, and a Fellow for the Model UN program at the Cleveland Council on World Affairs. Additionally, Joy serves as President of the CWRU Donald J. Kamalsky Chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary. This semester, Joy is also the Programming Chair of the Central Atlantic Regional Leadership Conference, in affiliation with NRHH. Outside of CWRU, Joy works as a Certified Roller Skating Instructor at Joy’s Roller Rink in Mentor-on-the-Lake, OH. Upon graduation, Joy is looking forward to beginning a Master of Healthcare Administration in Fall of 2022.

2021 Notable Woman of the Year

Headshot of Alex Boone

Alexandria Johnson Boone, President & CEO, GAP Communications Group, Chairwoman & Founder, Women of Color Foundation, and Founder of C L Magazine.

Alexandria Johnson Boone has been a long time supporter of the Mather Center and women at CWRU as a member of our Community Advisory Board and alumna. Alex is a wise leader with business acumen that is to be envied. One does not achieve her level of success without the expertise, savvy, power and influence to meet challenges and tough odds with strength, resilience and courage. 

Under her leadership GAP gained state and national recognition for its PR and other services and is now one of the most sought-after minority-owned special events and communications firms in the state. In 2020, Dominion selected the Women of Color Foundation as an awardee for their Black Women's Leadership Project: Developing Leaders, Building Communities. The program focuses specifically on Black women professionals and entrepreneurs to provide training and support to accelerate their rise to senior and executive level positions in their respective fields. Overall Alex and the Women of Color Foundation provide opportunities for individuals who identify as women of color to participate in leadership workshops, symposiums, conferences, and C-Suite mentoring activities to enhance their leadership skills to create a more inclusive culture of women in leadership.

Many Thanks to the 2021 Award Selection Committee

We greatly appreciate the help of the selection committee, who took the time to read all of the nominations, discuss the merits of each, and make the final decisions:

  • Susann Brady-Kalnay, PhD, Department of Molecular Biology & Microbiology
  • Heather E. Burton, PhD, Senior Director for Faculty and Institutional Diversity, Office for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity
  • Janée Kelly, M.Ed., Assistant Director for Retention and Graduate Outreach, Office of Multicultural Affairs


Distinguished University Professors

Faye Gary, EdD, RN, FAAN

Faye Gary, the Medical Mutual of Ohio and Kent W. Clapp Endowed Chair and Professor of Nursing, is a respected thought leader and researcher at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing who has shaped the field of psychiatric nursing. A fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, Gary has been widely published and received numerous grants totaling more than $24 million during her career. Her work has informed health policy related to child and adolescent mental health, health disparities and domestic violence.

In 1993, Gary’s clinical textbook, Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, was named Book of the Year by the American Journal of Nursing. A competitive honor, the award acknowledges the importance of a book to nursing and its impact on shaping the practice of millions of registered nurses in the United States.

In 2013, with the support of former Provost William “Bud” Baeslack, Gary established the Provost Scholars Program, a partnership between East Cleveland City Schools and Case Western Reserve to create opportunities for the city’s students to become successful undergraduates at the university.

“This groundbreaking program reflects Dr. Gary’s vision, expertise, and commitment to dismantling systems that promote economic and health disparities,” Dean Carol M. Musil wrote in Gary's nomination. “Her ability to leverage community resources to help vulnerable youth positively shape their futures has had, and continues to have, positive effects on the university and East Cleveland Communities.”

Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN

For almost 40 years, Dr. Fitzpatrick has shaped the leadership of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, and the leadership of the profession nationally and globally. She was first recruited to be Dean of the Bolton School in 1982, and was appointed as the Elizabeth Brooks Ford Professor of Nursing. She served for 15 years as Dean, and since 2018 has served as the Inaugural Director of the School’s Marian K. Shaughnessy Nurse Leadership Academy. She was a Fulbright Scholar at University College Cork, Cork, Ireland (2007-2008) and has received two honorary doctoral degrees.

As a global leader she founded and led the Bolton School WHO Collaborating Center for Nursing. She has provided consultation on nursing education and research throughout the world, including universities and health ministries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. With the CWRU School of Medicine, she designed a series of educational interventions focused on HIV/AIDS prevention in Uganda. Additionally, providing local and national leadership for nursing, she drove the development of innovative academic programs, community initiatives, and clinical partnerships, including key partnerships for advanced nursing education with the top 3 hospitals in Cleveland, for nurse midwifery with the Frontier Nursing Service in Kentucky, and for nurse anesthesia with the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Fitzpatrick is widely published in nursing and health care literature with over 400 publications; she has written/edited more than 85 books, several with junior faculty who she has mentored. Over her career she has mentored hundreds of graduate students in nursing, and helped launch their careers in scholarship and leadership. She served as director for a Nursing Care Quality Initiative, a multi-system, 10-hospital project focused on improving the care provided to hospitalized elders and their families that received a multi-million grant from the New York Health Alliance and the Brookdale Foundation.

Among other honors, Dr. Fitzpatrick was elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 1981, Fellow in the National Academies of Practice in 1996, and an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners in 2018. She received the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award 20 times, and in 2014 Dr. Fitzpatrick was inducted into the STTI Research Hall of Fame Award.

2020 Faculty Distinguished Researcher Award

The Faculty Distinguished Research Award was established in 2013 to recognize those who uphold and build upon Case Western Reserve's history as an innovative, research-driven institution, and established national and international reputations for their research or creative projects.

Rose Gubitosi-Klug

Professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine

Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine

Jaclene A. Zauszniewski

Kate Hanna Harvey Professor in Community Health Nursing, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing

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