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Campus Ministry

Miryam Award Winners 2020

By Mary Niebler

It is with great pleasure we announce the co-winners of the 2020 Miryam Award: Dr Megan Reissman and the Dayton Athletics Women Leaders.  Each year, Campus Ministry’s Center for Social Concern, in collaboration with others across campus, recognize a faculty member, staff person, student, or group who has enhanced the climate for women at the University of Dayton.  This year’s winners have gone above and beyond their normal call of duty and have held space for those in need, created new and exciting experiences and have expanded the inclusivity the UD strives for in all we do. This award reflects the inspiration found in Mary’s “yes” at the Annunciation to God’s call to carry the hope and love of Jesus into the world.  The presence of Dr Reissman and the Dayton Athletics Women Leaders here at UD continue to inspire many.

With what we believe to be a record number of nominations, six in total, Dr Megan Reissman has been a stand out to her students over the years as one to support and encourage female students in the male-dominated discipline of engineering.  Current and former students Sydney Lundell, Kristen Sanson, Lanna Klausing, Tessa Hill, Leah O’Shea, and Diana Harbach all submitted nominations for Dr Reissman.  They shared that through support, encouragement, opportunities and inspiration for learning, Megan has provided for them the environment for them to thrive and succeed in their field.  For example, one nominator shared, “Being a woman in engineering is very difficult… Junior year got tough and I was debating on switching my major. When Dr. Reissman became my advisor, she was the support I needed to push me through. I am only one example of the many women that she has helped during my time at UD. I have always had positive conversations about her with fellow classmates. She is respected and admired by all.” 

Dr Reissman is a full time faculty member in the School of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.  She teaches courses on experimentation, analysis, and multidisciplinary design.  She also encourages her students to participate in GoBabyGo! initiatives, where engineers help to retro-fit toy electric cars for toddlers with mobility issues.

Nestled in the world of UD Athletics lies a small grassroots committee of women known as the Dayton Athletics Women Leaders.  Consisting of Taylor Filzen, Vera Gomes, Kristin Tritt, Krystal Warren, and Jenna Willhoit, the DAWL has worked together for the past year to achieve the following mission:  offer development and networking opportunities to UD athletics staff/coaches; curate relationships within the UD athletics department; offer ways to empower staff and let them know their value to the department and university; and develop, re-engage, and enhance relationships with campus and community partners.  Nominated by their spearheader, Krystal Warren, the DAWL has clearly exceeded their stated mission and proves to be a very worthy recipient of this year’s Miryam Award.

Since their kickoff event on January 27, 2019, DAWL has offered more than 50 programming activities, at virtually no cost, to staff, coaches, and students. The committee meets at least once a month to determine programming for the following month. They “strive to provide women with the tools and the support to be successful in their professional and personal lives.”

As we all work, teach, and learn from home, let us recognize and thank these shining examples of what makes our community so wonderfully inclusive, constantly finding ways to reach those in the margins and fill the gaps needed in a truly welcoming campus.

Many thanks to the Miryam Award selection committee, including: Allison Leigh, Gwyn Fox Stump, Anita Middleton, Mary Niebler,  Angie Petrovic, Jessica Brown, Melanie Henterly, Andrea Wade, and Matthew Witenstein.

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