Women of the Weber State University community received recognition Wednesday afternoon at a banquet announcing the recipients
of the WOW awards, awards offered to women of WSU who make significant contributions to the community.
WOW awards are accolades put on by the Women’s Center, awarded to women who inspire others through their actions but might go unnoticed. WOW awards are all acronyms, fitting the eight various categories of awards.
Carol Merrill, director of the Women’s Center, said the awards were instituted to help recognize exceptional WSU women.
“We realized that there are so many women on campus who are doing amazing, amazing things and are not necessarily acknowledged for them,” Merrill said. “So I felt a responsibility to find a way to look around campus and to discover the variety of different skills and talents of women and find a way to spotlight them.”
WOW awards consist of eight categories, with one faculty member, staff member and student eligible to win in each category.
Woman of Weber, the award for campus and community service, went to Sally Shigley, Laura Albright and Emily Nelson.
Woman of Wonder, the award for a woman who has overcome difficulties and challenges and inspires others, went to Sylvia Newman, Tammy Critchlow and Tina Hunter.
Woman of Wisdom, the award for a woman who uses her intellect to encourage and help others, went to Maria Parrilla de Kokal, Kassidy Symonds and Jennifer Stevens.
Woman of the World, the award for a woman who shares her culture and helps others to see the beauty of the world, went to Prasanna Reddy, Leann Mortensen and Hannah Rice.
Woman of Wellness, the award for a woman who helps others to value the importance of wellness and health, went to Molly Smith, Rachel Smith and Hannah Cross.
Woman of Wit, the award for a woman who has a good sense of humor and brings joy to others, went to Sara Dant, Tricia Cook and Sherri Horton.
Woman of Wages, the award for a woman who has worked to end sexism in the workplace, went to Sherri Melton and Megan Gour.
Warrior of Women, the award for a female veteran who has served her country and helps others find their own strength, went to Elizabeth Hansen.
Gour, a WSU student and the Stop the Hate chair with the Center for Diversity and Unity, won the Woman of Wages award for the work she’s done to raise awareness of and end sexism.
“I’ve worked hard with my position in the Diversity Center to try to end racism, sexism, homophobia and any other things,” Gour said. “It just meant a lot to me for people to recognize that it has been happening, that equality has been happening on campus.”
Reddy is the faculty member who won the Woman of the World award. In presenting the award, Merrill said Reddy was receiving the award because of her kindness and her willingness to share her culture with WSU students. Reddy is originally from India, though she has lived in the United States and worked at WSU for 35 years. Reddy has given presentations at WSU about aspects of her country’s culture, presentations on everything from marriage in India to spices used in Indian cooking. Reddy said she loves sharing her culture with WSU, and the award was just a bonus to her.
“It’s a great honor,” she said. “What I do, I do really because I love doing it. To be recognized for that is just the sprinkles on my ice cream.”