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Posted on May 5, 2017

Woman of the Year awards were presented to, from left, Cherie Sears, graduate student, Melanie Blumberg, faculty, Jaclyn Boehnke, undergraduate student and Sheri Anderson, staff by President Jones, center, during a ceremony in Manderino Library.

The President’s Commission for the Status of Women selected four women to receive the spring 2017 Woman of the Year award for their work on behalf of women at Cal U and in the community.

Graduate student Cherie Sears, undergraduate student Jaclyn Boehnke, staff member Sheri Anderson and faculty member Dr. Melanie Blumberg were recognized at a reception May 3 in Manderino Library. 

“The consistent theme among all these women is that they touch people’s lives,” said University President Geraldine M. Jones.

Cherie Sears

Sears, president of The Village Early Childhood Education Center in California, Pa., will graduate May 12 with her master’s degree in early childhood education. She also earned her bachelor’s degree from Cal U, in 1981.

“Cherie went back to Cal U to get this graduate degree in order to better serve The Village and everything the center is trying to accomplish in order to better the lives of others,” Ashley Roth, director at The Village, wrote in her nomination letter.

The Village supports single parents enrolled full-time in school by providing scholarships for free child care while they are in class. Many of the recipients are women enrolled at Cal U. In addition, many Cal U students work at the center, earning real-world experience in the early childhood education field.

Sears supports the Col. Arthur L. Bakewell Veterans Scholarship at Cal U, which is named for her father. She also is active in the community with the Rotary Club of California and will serve as district governor for Rotary International in 2018-2019.

Jaclyn Boehnke

Boehnke will graduate May 13 with a degree in social work and has been accepted into the Master of Social Work program at Cal U.

As a work-study student in the Women’s Studies Office, she helped to plan events such as Audrey-Beth Fitch Women’s Studies Conference, the Free the Girls bra-collection campaign to raise money to rescue women from sex trafficking, and performances of The Vagina Monologues.

“I am so proud of the confident, intelligent, mature woman she has become,” said Dr. Marta McClintock-Comeaux, director of Women’s Studies and chair of the commission.

Sheri Anderson

Anderson, a secretary in the Department of Psychology, was honored for her tireless work behind the scenes in her nearly 30-year career at Cal U.

“She is a role model to her family, friends, staff, faculty and students,” wrote psychology instructor G. David Sivak in his nomination letter.

“The student workers admire and respect her. Her caring about others is to be celebrated as she deals with the pressure and deadlines in the office and carries off her duties with style and grace.”

Melanie Blumberg

Blumberg, a professor in the Department of History, Politics and Society, was chosen for encouraging women to see themselves as “active participants in the political arena,” wrote Christine Kindl, associate vice president for communications and public relations.

Through her work for the American Democracy Project at Cal U, Blumberg has empowered women to seek life-changing experiences. In 2016, for example, two female students attended the national political conventions. 

“As a colleague, she is a stalwart support of equal opportunity for all. And through her own political engagement, she makes it plan that women can, and do, make a difference in our society.”