CLEMSON — The President’s Commission on the Status of Women at Clemson University has announced its 2010 Outstanding Women and Distinguished Contributor Award honorees.

The commission was established in 1994 by former Clemson President Max Lennon with a singular focus of improving the quality of life for women at Clemson. The first Outstanding Women Awards were presented in 1995 to recognize those who make significant contributions toward this mission.

These are the 2010 honorees:

Cari Goetcheus, assistant professor of planning and landscape architecture, was named outstanding woman faculty member. Goetcheus is an active advocate for women through Women in Land Design, also known as WILD, a program she established to support women on the cusp of design careers by linking them with professionals in the industry through networking and mentoring. She represents Clemson University on the state level as a cultural landscape expert to the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, and secured the highly competitive $160,000 Getty Foundation grant to develop a campus preservation master plan highlighting Clemson’s significant historic resources. She has been working with basket weavers in 10 African-American communities in Mount Pleasant to preserve their historic environments and protect their cultural heritage. Goetcheus was one of six panelists invited by the Japanese government to speak in Tokyo at the Continuing Landscapes Conversation Workshop and has presented her work at several other conferences across the United States. Her work often is published in peer-reviewed publications and she serves as a reviewer for the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture. Goetcheus receives the highest student reviews in her department and, according to colleague Frances Chamberlain, she is an active, engaged, productive, caring individual who inspires all those who have the opportunity to work with her.

Wendy Howard, an accountant and fiscal analyst in electrical and computer engineering, was named outstanding woman classified staff member. Howard’s efforts toward innovation and efficiency have resulted in cost savings and improvements in the day-to-day operations of her office. She has served on the Staff Senate, President’s Commission on the Status of Women, the University’s Council on Community and Diversity and with many other organizations across campus. Howard has devoted significant time and effort to the university’s Ad Hoc Committee on Staff Development, responsible for developing a pilot Staff Development Program that will begin officially in July. She is chairwoman of the program’s steering committee. Howard has served her community as den leader and committee chairwoman with the Boy Scouts of America and continues to serve as treasurer for a local troop even though her own sons have grown too old for the program. Her colleagues say she always is ready to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Carrie DuPre, outstanding graduate student, is praised by her professors and peers for her passion for her research in leadership development of female college students. As a teaching assistant, DuPre assisted in research in how music affects the body image of college students, resulting in her initiative to implement a week of activities for women aimed at enhancing self-confidence. She has also conducted research on female students in English composition courses, resulting in an upcoming conference presentation and published journal article in “Teaching English in the Two-Year College.” In order to put her research into action, DuPre works with youth to find their voices and on efforts to stop domestic violence through her service on’s advisory board. DuPre has participated in two alternative spring breaks and volunteers for Mary’s House, Habitat for Humanity, the United Way and Girl Scouts of America. She serves Clemson University in many campus activities, including Greek leadership, Safe Zone, LeaderShape and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The dean of students at Coker College spoke of Carrie as kind, smart, compassionate, strong, an inspiration and a leader.

Sarah Comer, the undergraduate honoree, is a senior communications studies major praised for her academic achievement and her service to the Clemson community and beyond. She has excelled academically while serving as a mission trip leader, student senator and senate relations chairwoman, communication director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a member of Central Spirit and the Student Government Philanthropy Committee. Comer has been a Bible-study group leader for women, helping guide women on issues of self-image, character and the goal of living as a woman of integrity. She has served as a volunteer, chaperone and gymnastics coach for the Special Olympics for the past 10 years, and helped her mother implement a program called T-Recs, aimed at teaching athletic skills to special-needs children. She participates in many causes on campus, such as Relay for Life and Dance Marathon.

Susan Alford, director of The Girl’s Center at Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute, was honored as outstanding contributor. Understanding that self-assured, aspiring and achieving women rise from girls who are empowered to develop these attributes early in life, Alford has dedicated her entire professional career to research, policy analysis, advocacy and innovative program development on behalf of girls. She has been recognized as a national champion for the redesign of services for girls in the juvenile justice system, and her leadership in this area transformed the organizational culture of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. Because of her work, the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice, the Youth Learning Institute and many other state agencies and community-based programs use a gender-responsive approach to achieve success in their work with young women. She developed the blueprint for the creation of The Girl’s Center at Clemson and implemented The Empowering Girls Symposium, an annual gender-responsive conference that is co-sponsored by Columbia College and the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice.

Erika Diven, a senior political science major and member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, received the Thea McCrary Student Award for Outstanding Service. This award honors a female or male student who is engaged in public service or public education on matters critical to the lives of women and society in general. This award was established in 2005 to honor the late Thea McCrary, former captain of the Clemson University Police Department, charter member and former chairwoman of the Women’s Commission and recipient of one of the first Outstanding Women Awards. Diven was instrumental in the success of last year’s Sex and the 21st Century forums on sexual violence, which drew standing-room-only crowds to the Self Auditorium at the Strom Thurmond Institute. She has participated in philanthropic events such as Up ‘till Dawn and Relay for Life; however, her most exemplary efforts have been in the fight against domestic violence. Last year she organized “Kiss Domestic Violence Goodbye,” a lip-gloss sale for Valentine’s Day that supported Safe Harbor and The Missy Wiley Fund. She also organized “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” and recruited more than 100 students — male and female — to walk a mile in high heels to raise awareness and funds for the fight against domestic violence. Through her many fundraising efforts, including a gala dinner and silent auction for 120 guests, Diven has raised more than $7,000 for Safe Harbor, providing safe emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy and community outreach and education in Greenville, Pickens, Anderson and Oconee counties. She is also a trained childcare advocate for the shelter, and often visits with the women on holidays.


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