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Meet our Inspirational Woman of the Year Award Winners!

Published: Wednesday, 01 Feb 2017
Author: Galena Marie Rhew Ostipow
Department: Center for Gender in Global Context

The Inspirational Woman of the Year Award recognizes the achievements of women staff and faculty affiliated with Michigan State University (including main campus and all off-site and satellite campuses). The award highlights woman-identified individuals who demonstrate integrity, leadership, quality performance, integrative and inclusive action, and influence on campus and in the community. Three individuals will be honored—one per category of Professional Achievement, Community Engagement, and Culture of Empowerment.

Meet our winners:

Dr. Filomena Nunes
Presented with the award for Professional Achievement
Dr. Filomena Nunes was nominated for the Inspirational Woman of the Year award by Dr. Scott Bogner. Dr. Nunes is a Professor of Physics in the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory and Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Nunes is being recognized for her extensive contributions to the STEM field, particularly in the field of Theoretical Nuclear Science. She has made immeasurable impacts on the development of the work that will be carried out at the Michigan State University Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. Dr. Nunes' work is extensively published, cited, and called upon for conference presentations and workshops. In 2015, she was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), which is an honor given to only a tiny fraction of APS members each year. Dr. Nunes also created the FRIB Theory Alliance, which will bring researchers together from around the world and establish MSU as the global center of theoretical nuclear physics research. Additionally, she has served as an advocate for diversity and gender equality in the sciences and society, by increasing diversity among the organizations she participates in and by highlighting the research of up-and-coming female and minority scientists. "In my nearly 20 years in Nuclear Physics, I'd be hard pressed to name another person (of either gender) with a comparable balance of professional excellence, visionary leadership, and strong commitment to fairness and equality," wrote nominator Dr. Scott Bogner.

Denise Troutman
Presented with the award for Culture of Empowerment
Dr. Denise Troutman was nominated for the Inspirational Woman of the Year award by Maria Martin. Dr. Troutman is an Associate Professor in Linguistics and Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures. She is also a faculty-affiliate with the African American and African Studies Program. Dr. Troutman is being recognized for her work as the co-founder of Daughters of the Collective (DOC), a mentoring organization that connects Michigan State University students with 6th-8th grade girls throughout Lansing and Detroit. DOC simultaneously builds the leadership capacity of African American female MSU students and the self-confidence and support for African American youth throughout the community. Dr. Troutman was also a U.S. Senior Fulbright Scholar, received the Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award from the Center for Persons with Disabilities, and received an American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women. "She is a rigorous scholar and champion of diversity and inclusion. Over the time that I have known her, she has been a supportive, honorable, patient, and hardworking mentor for Black women and girls on MSU's campus, in the greater Lansing community, and also Detroit," wrote Martin in the nomination packet.

Sophia Koufopoulou
Presented with the award for Community Engagement
Sophia Koufopoulou was nominated by Kelly Birch Maginot. Koufopoulou is an Instructor (Adjunct/Fixed Term Faculty) in the Department of Sociology and in 2016, she was a recipient of the Undergraduate Teaching Award. Koufopoulou is being recognized for her impressive and innovative strategies for weaving together community service, college-level learning, and cultural immersion. Her instruction and facilitation of a sociology-based study abroad program Greece and Turkey: Contemporary Culture, Politics and Society is particularly noteworthy. Not only did she tailor the learning experiences for each student individually, but she also coupled the curriculum with community service as a learning tool for her students. During the summer 2015 study abroad program, Koufopoulou developed a service learning project with local NGOs and activists in order to serve the influx of refugees from the Middle East and Northern Africa to Greece – all while teaching students about migration flows and crisis response. Koufopoulou has demonstrated a global impact through her community engagement, through her personal service and also by inspiring students to continue their own engagement with the migrant populations locally and in Greece. In the nomination packet, Birch Maginot wrote, "Particularly through her response to the refugee crisis in Greece over the past two years, she has served as an exemplary model for how to engage personally and professionally on both local and international levels." Sophia Koufopoulou works not only to create awareness of the current refugee crisis in Greece, but also to demonstrate the solidarity and compassion of the Greek people, particularly the response towards refugees on the island of Lesvos.

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