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Three Honored with Awards for Women’s History Month

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Each spring, Emporia State University celebrates Women’s History Month by honoring three award winners with a reception sponsored by the Ethnic and Gender Studies program and the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies.

In 2020, the reception is moving to later in the year. The three award winners, however, were announced this month.

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Ruth Schillinger Award, named after a Dean of Women and ESU’s first Affirmative Action officer. To earn this award an individual must make extraordinary contributions to the women of Emporia State over a sustained period.

The 2020 recipient is Dr. Damara Goff Paris, associate professor of counselor education. Paris earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology (1992) and a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling (1994) from Western Oregon University (Oregon), and a Doctorate in Deaf Education and Deaf Studies (2012) from Lamar University (Texas).

Her teaching and research reflect her interests in deaf individuals and people with disabilities, primarily indigenous women who are deaf. She has published extensively on the intersectionality of being deaf, female, and indigenous. Paris has also published research regarding tribal communities and vocational rehabilitation, as well as wearable technology for people with disabilities, and has recently completed a book on deaf individuals in the criminal justice system through Gallaudet University Press (publication date Fall, 2020).

She is currently the president of ADARA (American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association) and has served two terms as a board member of the national Deaf Women United. Paris received the Randall McClleland Award in 2006 for service to indigenous deaf people, the National Deaf Women of Achievement award for her service to deaf indigenous women, the 31 Trailblazing Women award (2014), and the Teacher's College Excellence in Scholarly Activity award (2020).

Designated as the highest student-rated graduate faculty in Counselor Education (2019), Paris teaches primarily rehabilitation counseling and clinical counseling courses, and incorporates sections in her multicultural counseling, counseling returning veterans of war, counseling deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and integrated treatment of co-occurring disorders with a scholarly focus on women who are disabled, indigenous, or of culturally diverse backgrounds.

The Mary Headrick Award is named after a former counselor in the ESU Counseling Center, who was known for helping women reach their full potential. This award is designed for those who go the extra mile and make a long-term commitment to promote the growth of women in our schools and community.

The 2020 recipient of the Mary Headrick Award is Dr. Sheryl Lidzy, associate professor of communication and theatre. Lidzy earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication (1994) and a Master of Arts in Speech Communication Education (1995) from Southern Nazarene University (Oklahoma), and a Doctorate in Communication (2002) from the University of Oklahoma.

Her teaching and research reflect her interests across the discipline, primarily she has been interested in women in the church and mothering. Lidzy has published research regarding female entrepreneurial intention, as well as emboldening women in ministry and gender roles of women in leadership in church leadership. She has served on the state-wide planning committee for the Michael Tilford Conference for Diversity and Multiculturalism for the Kansas Board of Regents institutions.

Lidzy has supported several students pursue their Ethnic and Gender Studies minor, focusing on the roles of women in the world as well as serving on graduate student research committees focusing on the history of women. Lidzy has served as Chair of the Women’s Caucus for both the National Communication Association and Central States Communication Association.

She serves the National Federation of Press Women as a judge of their annual speech communication contest. Lidzy has also been awarded the ESU Presidential Award for Distinguished Service to Diversity.

Finally, the Susan B. Anthony Scholarship is awarded to an ESU student who has demonstrated the most beneficial input into the growth and education of women on the ESU campus in addition to excellence in scholarship.

Receiving the scholarship for the 2020-21 academic year is Lyrah Wallace, a graduate student in ESU's art therapy and clinical counseling programs. Wallace hopes to work with the LGBTQ+ community in their future practice. They are the graduate assistant for THRIVE, ESU's peer education program that aims to educate students about interpersonal violence, rape culture, and healthy relationships. They are a transgender individual and an activist for inclusive feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, and all areas of social justice.