Celebrating women leaders

Celebrating women leaders

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Annual event April 10 celebrates excellence and achievement among women on campus
portrait of Karla Miller
Karla Miller

For nearly 35 years, Karla Miller has championed the needs of sexual assault victims and survivors. From providing empathetic counsel to shaping local and statewide policy, she has helped create a more inclusive, supportive community for those who have experienced sexual abuse.

On Thursday, April 10, Miller—director of the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP)—will join other outstanding leaders at the annual University of Iowa Celebration of Excellence and Achievement Among Women.

The celebration will honor six UI students and three faculty and staff members who have demonstrated a dedication to scholarship, research, service, leadership, and activism.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place Thursday, April 10, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Iowa Memorial Union Second Floor Ballroom. A reception will be held prior to the celebration at 3 p.m.

Debra A. Schwinn, dean of the Carver College of Medicine, will give the keynote address. All portions of the program will be interpreted in American Sign Language.

Distinguished Achievement Award, Staff

The Distinguished Achievement Award recognizes an outstanding accomplishment or a lifetime record of service and achievement.

Miller was nominated for her decades of dedicated advocacy work and expertise in the field of sexual assault and traumatic stress. She has twice stepped up to guide RVAP as executive director, a position she has held for a combined 22 years.

In the last four decades, Miller has educated thousands of students, community members, and public servants from across the state on how to better respond to victims of violence. She is a past United Way Agency Director of the Year, and a qualified expert witness in state and federal courts.

“The mission of providing care to victims of sexual assault is extremely difficult to balance. It demands unique skills including diplomacy, the art of counseling, firmness and emotional poise in very trying situations. Karla possesses all of these qualities and more,” says a nominator.

Distinguished Achievement Award, Faculty

portrait of Teresa Mangum
Teresa Mangum

Teresa Mangum—director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and associate professor in the UI Department of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies—was nominated for being an “exceptional” student mentor, a public humanities advocate, and an internationally recognized feminist scholar, among other achievements.

Mangum recently edited a collection of articlesA Cultural History of Women: The Age of Empire, 1800-1920. She serves on the boards of the National Humanities Alliance, the leading national advocacy organization for the humanities, and Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life. She has given numerous speeches at a national level and was the 2010 recipient of the Biennial Award for Contributions to the Studies of British Women.

According to a nominator, “As a feminist scholar, teacher and leader, Mangum is an unstoppable engine for finding ways to bridge the creation of knowledge with new strategies for advancing the public good…”

Jean Y. Jew Award

The Jean Y. Jew Award is given annually by the Council on the Status of Women and the UI Women's Resource and Action Center, and honors a member of the UI community who has demonstrated outstanding effort or achievement in improving the status of women at the university.

portrait of Jessica Hook
Jessica Hook

This year’s recipient is Jessica Hook, research specialist in the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics at the Carver College of Medicine. Hook is a self-described molecular biologist, activist, volunteer, networker, mother, and agent of change who focuses on leadership development and reproductive justice.

A former chair of the Emma Goldman Clinic board of directors and the first coordinator of the Iowa N.E.W. Leadership program—a residential institute to empower women in public leadership—nominators note that Hook “connects people and motivates them to work hard for great results.”

“She has a knack for taking something and transforming it to something better, more inclusive, and more effective,” they say.

During Hook's five years with the Emma Goldman Clinic board of directors, she served as chair of the board for two of those years. During her tenure, she also served on the executive, development, and public issues and education committees, chairing the executive committee for two years and the development committee for several years.

Student Achievements

Six students are recognized with scholarships to honor their work and commitment to women’s issues, diversity and social activism.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, call 319-384-3435 in advance.


Amy Mattson, University Communication and Marketing, 319-384-0070


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