University Announces Women's History Month Awards


Gender Advocate of the Year and Woman of the Year Award winners, from left: Emrys Donaldson, Jacob Price and Dr. Oye Akisanya. Not pictured: Chelsee Allen.

by Buffy Lockette

Jacksonville State announced the winners of its third annual Women's History Month Awards during a ceremony on March 10 at Leone Cole Auditorium.

Woman and Gender Advocate of the Year Awards were selected by the Women's History Month Committee from dozens of nominations by faculty, staff and students. The honorees included:

Woman of the Year: Student
Chelsee Allen, sociology major and president of Sociology Club

Woman of the Year: Professional
Dr. Oye Akisanya, assistant professor of nursing and COVID-19 Task Force member

Gender Advocate of the Year: Student
Jacob Price, political science major and president of Full Spectrum 

Gender Advocate of the Year: Professional
Emrys Donaldson, assistant professor of English and creative writer

The son of Dr. Roberta Watts accepts her Lifetime Achievement Award. New for 2022, the university presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Roberta Watts, professor emerita, for her numerous contributions to the university and academic community. Dr. Watts became JSU’s first black faculty member in 1969 and first black dean in 1983. She was also the first black nursing dean of a non-historically black university in Alabama. Dr. Watts holds a BS in nursing from Tuskegee University, a master's from Emory University and a doctorate from the University of Alabama. In 2009, she was inducted into the Alabama Nursing Hall of Fame. She retired from JSU in 1996. Unable to attend the ceremony on March 10, her award was accepted on her behalf by her family.

The university also organized its second annual Women's History Month art and essay contest for local K-12 and JSU students. Open to all genders and viewpoints, the competition was divided into four categories, based on grade level. The winners were:

Elementary art contest winners.

Elementary School Art Contest  
Winner: AnaKate Tucker
Honorable Mention: Aubree Pritchett

Middle School Essay Contest
Winner: Dea Ross
Honorable Mention: Madelyn Messer

High School Essay Contest
Winner: Angel Dover
Honorable Mention: Ava Camille Smith

College Essay Contest
Winner: Mollie Leggitt
Honorable Mention: Robert “Trey” Avery III

Remaining Women's History Month events include a Women's Health, Wellness and Self Care Panel on March 16, 12-1:30 p.m., on Microsoft Teams, and A Toast to Women small group discussion on the status of women in academia and gender issues on March 31, 12-1 p.m., in Houston Cole Library, Room 10B.

The Women's History Month Art Show will be on display through the end of the month in Hammond Hall's student gallery. A closing reception will be held on March 31, 5-7 p.m. The gallery is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

Donations are still being collected for the Gamecock Market in honor of Women's History Month. Please bring a donation benefiting women - such as feminine products, shampoo, soap and other toiletries - to the collection box in the lobby of Angle Hall or in the Office of Military and Post-Traditional Student Services in Daugette Hall.