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Posted on May 10, 2011

The President’s Commission for the Status of Women presented awards to two outstanding students during a luncheon May 4 in Kara Alumni House.

Graduate student Katie Mercadante and undergraduate Amanda Smith were recognized at the spring 2011 Woman of the Year event.

The awards are given each semester by the commission, which was established in 1990. President Angelo Armenti, Jr. and Provost Geraldine Jones were among those at the luncheon to congratulate the honorees.

This is the second Woman of the Year honor for Mercadante, who received the undergraduate award in fall 2009. She has earned three degrees in six years: a bachelor’s degree in earth science with a concentration in meteorology; a bachelor’s in secondary education: earth and space science; and a master’s degree in mentally/physically handicapped education.

Mercadante has organized several residence hall programs geared toward women, such as a Think Pink program for breast cancer awareness and Walk a Mile in Her Shoes to help prevent domestic violence. She also writes curriculum for summer camp programs at the Carnegie Science Center and volunteers at Old Economy Village in Ambridge, Pa.

Mercadante, who graduated May 6, has accepted a position as assistant director of residence life at Gannon University in Erie, Pa.

Smith graduated May 7 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in women’s studies. She completed an internship with the Women’s Studies program at Cal U in spring 2010.

Smith’s outstanding contributions as an intern and then a work-study student were particularly evident while Dr. Marta McClintock-Comeaux was on maternity leave this semester. Smith was one of the keys to the success of the recent Audrey-Beth Fitch Women’s Studies Conference.

A member of Pi Gamma Mu honor society, she worked with other undergraduate students to start Social Justice Activism Now – So Just Act Now. 

She is a member of the women’s hockey team and was named its most valuable player during the final game of the season.

Also at the luncheon, Dr. Lisa McBride was announced as president of the President’s Commission for the Status of Women. She had been serving as interim president.

Rhonda Gifford will be vice president of the organization. She served on the spring semester’s nominating committee, along with Dr. Melanie Blumberg, Dr. Emily Sweitzer, Rose Markovich and Sheleta Webb.