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Four Women Receive Franzke Feminist Award

The Women’s Caucus of St. Mary’s University presented the 2007 Alice Wright Franzke Feminist Award to four members of the St. Mary’s community who promote peace, empowerment, civic engagement and respect of all persons.

The award winners were recognized as part of Women’s History Month at St. Mary’s. Partnering and collaboration are the actions these women embrace and utilize to promote success for all. The recipients include:

  • Tonya Hammer, doctoral student, counselor education and supervision
  • Patricia J. Mejia (B.A. ’01, M.A. ’04), director, 21st Century Leadership Center
  • Carol Redfield, Ph.D., professor, Department of Computer Science
  • Maria Elena Torralva-Alonso (B.A. ’70), Creative Events Plus

Hammer has been working as a member of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Global Core Team, promoting the network of concerned academics and practitioners who are committed to reducing – and ultimately help eliminate – destructive disrespect and humiliating practices all over the world. Hammer’s current research areas include incorporation of relational cultural theory into career counseling, the use of film in counseling and the issues of humiliation and shame surrounding malpractice claims against therapists and clinical supervisors.

Mejia, director of the 21st Century Leadership Center at St. Mary’s University, is a true leader and nurturer. She has been extensively involved with community leadership development, supporting the development and practice of leadership skills, particularly in the development of emerging Latina leadership. She also reaches out to St. Mary’s students, to whom she dedicated her award, as an adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science.

Redfield remembers being the only woman taking computer science courses during her college career. She soon learned that no one told her she couldn’t succeed in the sciences. As founder of Women in Science and Engineering at St. Mary’s, Redfield encourages and mentors young women entering the science and engineering disciplines. The mission of W.I.S.E. is to assist women attain the confidence, knowledge, and discipline necessary to attain the many positions available in these fields, carrying out these goals through several specific programs: mentoring, outreach, and education.

Torralva-Alonso, who was recognized for her civic leadership in 1984 when she was inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame, has been working over the decades to break down professional barriers. She recently served as the director of diversity for the Hearst Corp., and was the first Hispanic female anchor in English-language news.

The Franzke Award was established by St. Mary’s Women’s Caucus in 1990 to commemorate the life and work of Alice Wright Franzke, Ph.D., who died of cancer shortly after receiving the award. Franzke, a sociology professor at St. Mary’s from 1982 to 1989, was an inspirational role model of feminist activism and civic engagement who embodied a commitment to peace and justice. She was a founding member of St. Mary’s President’s Peace Commission.