This month, community colleges celebrated Women’s History Month, or, as some like to call it, Womyn’s Herstory Month. “Herstorically,” in this country, the celebration began as a week-long event in 1982. Five years later, it obtained month-long status.
Women are celebrated during March in the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom and Australia. Plus, since 1911, International Women’s Day also happens on March 8. So, it’s an all-around wonderful month for honoring women.
Last year, the theme was “Valiant Women of the Vote” to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the suffragette movement. This year’s theme? “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced,” which continues last year’s call with some extra pizzaz.
It’s the time to recognize women’s contributions to our country, our world… and our community colleges!
1. Women’s History Month Icons Celebrated at Community Colleges
Women Taking Office
Roxbury Community College in Massachusetts celebrates swearing in Mayor Kim Janey on March 24. The 55th Mayor of Boston, she’s also the first woman and the first black mayor in the city’s history.
According to The Boston Globe,
“Unemployment rates for residents of color spiked higher at the start of the pandemic,” Janey said. “Over the past year, the same communities hardest hit by the public health crisis have experienced the highest rates of housing and food insecurity. I will address these economic disparities with new urgency to reopen Boston’s economy with equity.”
Women’s History Month is also a great time to celebrate community college teacher, ed advocate and First Lady Dr. Biden. And since we’re taking a moment to fangirl, here are some other amazing quotes from our First Lady about the power of community colleges:
Women Taking Over New York!
Students at Jamestown Community College and throughout the SUNY system asked some powerful questions this month.
“What if we honored women’s history the way we honored professional athletes?”
“What if a month after the Super Bowl, we celebrated super women?”
Thus, the 2021 Women’s Empowerment Draft was born. It’s a state-wide collaboration featuring 32 colleges and universities. Students honored trailblazers, living legends and lives lost too soon by emblazoning iconic women on jerseys and trading cards.
Students throughout the state paid homage to women like Sojourner Truth and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They also commemorated lives that were lost, including Breonna Taylor.
These Des Moines Area Community College students are cooking up a feast… With a side of humor! Doesn’t everyone love green eggs and ham?
2. Fundamental Faculty of Women’s History Month
Elgin Community College shares Dr. Irina Del Genio’s moving story and how she immigrated to this country. The professor says,
“No immigration story is the same, yet they all bear witness to a great sacrifice made by women for their children. I am not trying to diminish or overlook the role of fathers – I am simply stating that every immigrant story reminds us about mothers’ sacrifice. Mothers who are willing to travel to unfamiliar dangerous places, work low-paying jobs, leaving everything behind them to rebuild their lives from scratch, so their children have a chance at a better life. This always comes at a huge price.”
Meet Dr. Marie Montes-Matías, who earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Rutgers University. She started her career in the microbiology industry before switching to a more fulfilling career in teaching.
An instructor at Union County College for 11+ years, she has also received the 2018 John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College. Congrats, Marie!
3. Savvy Students of Women’s History Month
Nadine was one out of 104 community college students from across the country to participate in the nine-day, virtual NASA experience.
According to the PeraltaGEMS newsletter, “Selected community college students learn more about NASA’s missions and careers in science and engineering throughout the virtual experience… Students also attend briefings given by NASA subject matter experts, receive information on how to apply for NASA internships, and virtually tour NASA’s unique facilities during the event.”
Nadine says, “I’m thankful to know that being a community college student does not make me any less or keep me from pursuing amazing opportunities.”