Campus Honors Female Role Models

  Maureen Masterson ’06, Laura Lockwood, director of the Women's Center, and Sarah Carter ’06

In front of the nearly all-female crowd gathered at Hamlin Hall on March 6 for the Women in Academia Banquet, Maureen Masterson ’06 rhetorically asked the audience with great sincerity, “How can you thank someone for changing the lens through which you view the world? How can you thank someone for embracing the person you are and seeing how you can change the world you now see?” As she read aloud her essay in honor of Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion Laurie Cassidy, Masterson spoke eloquently and confidently—as her professor had taught her—thanking her teacher “for being a great professor and a great friend.”

Organized by the feminist sorority, Zeta Omega Eta, the event offered the opportunity for students to read their 300-word essays honoring female professors “who have inspired, challenged, and helped them become better scholars and people.”  The sorority, which focuses on community service, academics, and bonding Trinity women, came to fruition three years ago with the leadership of Meghan Boone ’06. Last year the group of feminists decided to extend the bond of the sorority to the greater Trinity community by honoring the many women on campus who had served as role models for them—both academically and personally—with the banquet and bound booklet of essays.

Masterson, who co-chaired the event with Sarah Carter ’06, admits that “college is such a personal thing. It’s about you. But sometimes you need to take a step back and see who you can thank for that.” Honoring Associate Professor of Legal and Policy Studies Adrienne Fulco, Mara Giorgio ’06 had the opportunity to express her gratitude for her professor’s ability to demand excellence of her and help her work to achieve her personal best, “She makes you want to do the best you can, pushing you because she knows you can always do better. … the kind of professor you want to make proud.” Giorgio confessed that when she receives e-mails from her professor cordially signed “Renny,” out of a deep respect, she continues to respond by “calling her Professor, with a capital P.”

  Levana Polate, principal lecturer in modern languages and international studies, and Amy Weiner ’06

With an admirable ability to inspire a love of learning, many professors at the event were recognized for their excitement over their areas of expertise. As Amy Weiner wrote in her essay about Levana Polate, principal lecturer in modern languages and international studies, “The mark of a great professor is her ability to convey, with such conviction, her adamant love of the subject matter. However, the mark of an even greater professor is her ability to transpose that love upon the heart of her student. Levana is the latter.”

After enjoying generously portioned cakes and pastries and wonderfully expressed words of appreciation, the women academics of campus were full of smiles and a deep sense of gratitude for the recognition at the banquet. Professor Cassidy, after hearing her student read her essay aloud, responded simply, “It’s astounding. It’s really astounding.” If her student, Maureen Masterson, was still wondering how she could thank someone who changed her view of the world, the question, although rhetorical in nature, now seemed answered out loud.

Story contributed by Carlin Carr

back to top

Return to eQuad table of contents