Annual Sisterhood Dinner Fills Ballroom of Talley Student Union

Dr. Linda McCabe Smith at 2017 Sisterhood Dinner

The annual Sisterhood Dinner filled the Ballroom of Talley Student Union on Monday, February 27, 2017 with several hundred attendees who celebrated the achievements of women. The event also honored this year’s winners of the Equity for Women Awards from a group of exceptional nominees.

The evening’s program included speakers Kim Davis, chair of the Council on the Status of Women, Dr. Linda McCabe Smith, vice provost for institutional equity and diversity, Lisa LaBarbera-Mascote, director of the Women’s Center and student Achaia Dent, who performed “Ain’t I a Woman?,” a speech originally delivered extemporaneously by anti-slavery speaker Sojourner Truth in 1851. Dr. Patricia Caple, professor emerita of communications and theater, memorably performed the same soliloquy at a previous Sisterhood Dinner.

Before the presentation of awards, Maria Gallardo-Williams, teaching associate professor in Chemistry, led attendees in remembering MIT physicist Dr. Millie Dresselhaus, who died on February 20, 2017. Dr. Dresselhaus, holder of the National Medal of Science, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and many other awards, was known as the “queen of carbon science ” for her work in carbon science and nanostructures. Dr. Faye Cobb PaytonShe also worked to promote the opportunities for women in science and engineering. In December, Chancellor Randy Woodson conferred an honorary degree on Dresselhaus at NC State’s fall commencement.

Dr. Faye Cobb Payton, faculty scholar in the Poole College of Management, gave the keynote address, speaking dynamically about mentoring and her own mentors. Tracy Dixon, chair-elect of the Council on the Status of Women, gave the closing remarks.

Equity for Women Awards

We congratulate the following nominees for the 2017 Equity for Women Awards:

  • Dr. Katherine Annett-Hitchcock, associate professor, College of Textiles (winner);
  • Dr. Diane D. Chapman, teaching professor, College of Education and director, Office of Faculty Development;
  • Dr. Robin Dodsworth, associate professor, Department of English;
  • Dr. Rosanna Garcia, associate professor of marketing and innovation, Poole College of Management;
  • Dr. Joy Gayles. associate professor, educational leadership, policy and human development, College of Education;
  • Dr. Elizabeth Nelson, lecturer, interdisciplinary studies;
  • Dr. Justin Schwarz, Kobe Steel Distinguished Professor and department head, materials science and engineering;
  • Dr. Jelena Vukomanovic, assistant professor, College of Natural Resources (honorable mention).

Equity for Women Award Winner Katherine Annett-Hitchcock

“Kat is co-founder of AWE, the Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs at NC State. She is actively involved with numerous community groups, including Redress Raleigh and Community Hope, a downtown literacy youth program in Raleigh for grades K-12.  She is committed to helping all people improve their health, well-being and overall quality of life through intelligent clothing design but puts a special emphasis on women and her students …. Dr. Annett-Hitchcock’s scholarly research focuses on how the language women use as entrepreneurs differ significantly from the language men use. The intent of the research is to normalize the way that women and men approach entrepreneurship on equal footing …. As a mentor and advisor to female students of the College of Textiles, her influence is not limited to just the classroom …. Past students are continually returning to Dr. Kate for mentorship and support as they launch their own companies… In her scholarship, the research that Kat conducts is extremely important in influencing universities on how they advertise and promote entrepreneurship programs, as the language used can alienate women. Many women don’t seem themselves as entrepreneurs but nevertheless are business owners. Universities need to change how they address the needs of women entrepreneurs and Kate’s research will help that change come about.”

  • Ada Baldwin, housekeeping director, Facilities;
  • Jason Dye, sergeant/detective, NC State Police;
  • Analis Fulghum, program manager, Waste Reduction and Recycling;
  • Christopher Jefferson, associate director, Fraternity and Sorority Life;
  • April Shaeffer, research specialist, Animal Science (winner);
  • Nessa Stone, operations manager, Waste Reduction and Recycling;
  • Jessica White, associate director, Office of Student Conduct;
  • Dr. Regina Gavin Williams, director for student engagement and diversity coordinator, College of Education;
  • The Staff of NC State Live.

Equity for Women Award Winner April Shaeffer

“April works in Extension, and she noticed that women farmers were quiet and often did not participate in the hands-on opportunities offered by NC State at cattle and grazing workshops. April is a leader and a problem-solver, so she wrote a grant and created “North Carolina Leadership and Cattle Handling for Women Producers” to allow women to fully participate in educational and leadership activities …. April’s program now consists of an introductory one-day session, a second two-day training and includes more detail and hands-on training in tractor and truck safety and operation and beef quality assurance certification, and additional one-day workshops. There have been over 180 women participants in the 11 workshops held over the last years …. recently, April has written collaborative grants and the program has expanded in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi …. April is a real role model for our students, extension agents and livestock producers who shows women can work for gender equity and develop a proactive program in that area …. Participating in April’s program has been an inspiration for many women who without her influence would not be in the active management and leadership roles they are today. In April 2016, April came to the attention of the founder and President of FarmHer, a national women-in-agriculture program and syndicated television program … that highlights women farmers and other women contributors to agriculture …. When FarmHer proposed featuring one of the women’s workshops on their television program, April quickly called her team together to create a special workshop for filming and presentation to the national farming audience. The episode aired on RFD-TV in November 2016 and this national exposure has led to a rapid expansion of interest in the program.”

  • Veronica Cateté, graduate student, computer science (winner);
  • Mary Chamblee, senior, communications and women’s and gender studies;
  • Lauren Frey, senior, environmental sciences and women’s and gender studies;
  • Krystin Gollihue, graduate student, communications;
  • Amani Manning, senior, political science;
  • Caroline Myrick, graduate student, sociology, English linguistics;
  • Sara Jo Taylor, graduate student, chemical engineering, women’s and gender studies

Equity for Women Award Winner Veronica Catete

“Veronica currently serves as president ex-officio of STARS computing corps (a student leadership development program focused on broadening participation in computing) …. she is a consultant for the Women in Computer Science student organization and a go-to panelist for the Minority in Engineering Graduate Student Association …. Veronica is a leader in scholarship. She is pioneering computer science education research, creating rubrics that may revolutionize the way that computer science educators assess student work, making it more equitable and fair to novice learners …. Veronica has received highly selective, nationally competitive scholarships to fund her graduate work. She is a Microsoft Graduate Women’s Research Scholar and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. She has completed over 500 hours of community outreach and service while maintaining academic rigor. Veronica has made an incredible impact at NC State and beyond, through outreach, tutoring, mentoring, leadership, service and global advocacy for gender equity …. In 2016 alone, Veronica planned and implemented four new programs for women: Lady-Wolf App-a-Thon, Eastman’s Fall Sit with Me event, bringing together industry leaders, campus organizations and faculty to raise awareness of the need for gender equity in computing for over 300 attendees from across campus. Veronica created a new high school computing outreach program, Females Learning Awesome Math, Engineering, and Science.  Veronica designed and implemented the Pivot Academy project to train students and teachers in Byimana, Rwanda to use tablets to bring interactive science simulations and experiments to a 600-person all-girls boarding school …. This past summer, Veronica spent 6 weeks in Rwanda … where she taught over 80 girls how to use tablets in hands-on constructive learning …. she also mentored over 150 personal student projects and trained teachers to use the tablets through interactive simulations and experiments. Veronica also trained local university faculty to run the program and met with the Rwanda Education Board and the Ministry of Youth and ICT to secure partnership for continued growth and replication of the program.”


  • See the video slideshow of the 2017 Equity for Women Award nominees.

Lisa LaBarbera-Mascote is director of the Women’s Center.