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Awards and inspirational speakers set for Women's History Month

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Mariah Parker, Charlotte Arsenault and Mariela Romero will be speaking at UNG's Women's History Month Celebration at noon March 23.

Women's History Month will offer the University of North Georgia (UNG) community the chance to honor female student leaders and hear a trio of successful women share their personal stories. Registration for all events is available through UNG Connect.

"We want to celebrate UNG's female leaders," said Wade Manora Jr., interim director of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA). "A lot of times women's contributions can be overlooked. We want to let our female student leaders know they're doing a good job."

Faculty and staff can nominate female student leaders online for the Golden Nighthawk, True Blue Woman to Watch, and Game Changer awards. Winners will be recognized in a virtual ceremony at 5 p.m. March 31.

  • The Golden Nighthawk award will honor students who exemplify MSA and UNG's Openness, Understanding, Respectfulness, and Safety (OURS) Diversity Campaign while focusing on representing leadership in its highest form as a female leader.
  • The True Blue Woman to Watch award will recognize students who are either freshmen or sophomores who inspire their peers and lead with unwavering passion and commitment to a cause bigger than themselves.
  • The Game Changer award will honor students who have significantly contributed to their field or community and have led to inspiring change and/or innovation with new ideas that positively influenced their community.

Also this month, the UNG community and the public will hear from three women representing different backgrounds and career fields at noon March 23, with registration available at UNG Connect and a special option for the public to register as guests. Speakers include Mariela Romero, regional community empowerment director for Univision; Mariah Parker, Athens-Clarke County commissioner and hip hop artist; and the Rev. Charlotte Arsenault of the Georgia Mountains Unitarian Universalist Church.

UNG students, faculty and staff may also test their knowledge of women's history in a virtual trivia event set for noon March 17.

UNG student Noemi Nolasco said Women's History Month is a good time to examine the underrepresentation of women, particularly women of color and LGBTQ women, in certain careers. Seeing Vice President Kamala Harris as the first woman and first Black or Southeast Asian person to hold her office also elevates the conversation, Nolasco said.

"It's really important to the future generations," said Nolasco, a junior from Atlanta, Georgia, pursuing a degree in modern languages with a concentration in Spanish language and literature. "The fact that we have a woman who's a vice president in office right now, that inspires many young women."

Brittany Stephenson-Simpson, a senior from Miramar, Florida, pursuing a degree in psychology, said this month highlights the diversity of women's contributions.

"Showing different cultures and the different abilities women have is a neat way to showcase that women aren't only in office jobs," Stephenson-Simpson said. "They're qualified for any job."

That is exactly the kind of mindset cadet Maj. Alison Gaynor brings to every task as a leader in UNG's Corps of Cadets.

"Being able to lead in a way that shows other women they can do this too, it helps them imagine themselves in this position," Gaynor said. "I want to set the standard for other women and show them we can accomplish anything the men can do."

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