The recipients of the Power of Women Scholarship are Tracie Beard of Iuka, Illinois; Destiny Brooks of Perryville, Missouri; Noel Burke of Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Jo Cougill of Jackson, Missouri; Amanda Edgar of Portageville, Missouri; Ashley Gettinger of Ste. Genevieve, Missouri; Laura Kaimann of Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Lauren Potje of Shiloh, Illinois; Karen Souza Muramatsu of Cape Girardeau, Missouri; and Abigail Sowash, of Highland, Illinois. The recipient of the inaugural Women’s Walk Endowed Scholarship is Riley Hayes of Jefferson City, Missouri.
The Power of Women Scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate a passion for a life of service, are attending Southeast full time and have completed at least 30 credit hours with a minimum 2.75 grade point average. Each recipient submitted an application demonstrating significant academic achievement, involvement at the University and commitment to volunteerism and community service. The Power of Women Scholarship Committee selected the recipients based on these factors as well as their future aspirations for success in their career and personal life. Each student received a $500 award.
The Women’s Walk Endowed Scholarship was established in 2014 with proceeds from the annual Walk for Redhawks Athletics, formerly known as the Walk for Women’s Athletics at Southeast Missouri State. The renewable scholarship is awarded to students enrolled at Southeast with first preference given to a student athlete with a minimum 3.0 grade point average. The recipient must be nominated by their coach and must exhibit outstanding leadership and community involvement.
Vicki Boren, president of the Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association, presented the scholarships. In its fifth year, the annual Power of Women luncheon connects female students at Southeast with opportunities, women mentors and resources in the community. The luncheon highlights philanthropists, entrepreneurs and extraordinary women of Southeast. Dr. Maureen Clancy-May, a 1979 Southeast graduate, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, and retired superintendent of Bayless School District, served as the keynote speaker.
Clancy-May encouraged Southeast graduates to be their own best advocate throughout their careers.
“Life can be awkward, intimidating or challenging at times but you have to believe in yourself and be your own best advocate,” said Clancy-May. “No matter what field you’re in, it’s a very competitive world. I think that you can wait for people to open doors for you, and yes, I’ve had doors opened for me and I was blessed for it, but some of those doors I had to push hard myself to open up. You have to believe in what you have to offer, and be confident in that.”
Beard is a junior pursuing a degree in early childhood education. She serves as the honors learning community representative on the Jane Stephens Honors Program’s Student Council. She is a member of the Southeast chapter of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development – Teachers of Tomorrow, Southeast’s Residence Hall Association and Alpha Psi Chapter of Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority. She is a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters and a student worker at the University School for Young Children. Beard, who expects to graduate in May 2018, plans to become an elementary teacher near her hometown. She hopes to be a strong leader for young children and continue to help and inspire those in her community. Beard is the daughter of Russell and Trudy Beard of Iuka, Illinois, and is a 2014 graduate of Salem Community High School.
Brooks is a senior pursuing a degree in psychology and a minor in family studies. She is the president of Southeast’s Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology; student co-chair of the Student Research Conference Committee; member of Southeast’s Psychology Club and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Society; and a tutor and supplemental instructor for Southeast’s Office of Learning Assistance Programs. Brooks, who graduates this May, plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, focusing on preventing abuse, identifying and helping victims of abuse and public education. She hopes to one day start a non-profit organization that rebuilds war-torn communities and their support systems. Brooks is married to Andrew Brooks, of Perryville, Missouri, is the daughter of Richard and Dawn Marshall of Marquand, Missouri, and is a 2012 graduate of Poplar Bluff High School.
Burke is a senior pursuing a degree in business. She is a member of Southeast’s Symphonic Orchestra, Steel Drum Band, Alpha Psi Chapter of Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority, Student Activities Council, Residence Hall Association and Little Black Book Women in Business organization. Burke, who graduates this May, plans to continue her education and hopes one day be a pediatric surgeon. Throughout her college and professional careers she hopes to always be helping those in need. Burke is the daughter of Dr. Leon Burke III and Olivia Burke of St. Peters, Missouri. Burke is a 2015 Southeast graduate with a Bachelor of Art in music and a minor in biomedical science, and is a 2010 graduate of Fort Zumwalt South High School.
Cougill, daughter of Karen Friese of Jackson, Missouri, is a junior pursuing degrees in communication studies and hospitality management. She is president of Southeast’s Camera Arts Association; national co-champion in crossfire debate on Southeast’s Debate Team; member of Southeast’s Ronald E. McNair Scholar program for her undergraduate research in the communication tactics of concussion prevention; and committee member for the Boy Scout Troop 4311 in Jackson, Missouri and St. Marks Lutheran Church ELCA’s Vacation Bible School program in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. During her final undergraduate years at Southeast, Cougill plans to further develop her research in the communication tactics of concussion prevention. After graduation in May 2018, she hopes pursue her master’s degree and continue her research. She hopes to one day be a professor in Southeast’s Department of Communication Studies. Cougill is the mother of Isaiah Cougill, 14.
Edgar is a senior pursuing a degree in early childhood education. She is a member of Southeast’s Alpha Eta Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Education Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, #260 Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, and The Missouri Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. Edgar, who graduates this May, plans to pursue master’s and doctoral degrees in special education and gifted education. She hopes to continue her education and training throughout her career to provide her students the best learning opportunities. Edgar is the daughter of Delmar and Angie Edgar of Portageville, Missouri, and Theresa and Rick Rhoades of Portageville, Missouri, and is a 2013 graduate of Portageville High School.
Gettinger is a junior pursuing a degree in early childhood education. She is president of the Southeast chapter of Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development – Teachers of Tomorrow; member of Southeast’s Delta Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Eta Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Education Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society; and member of Southeast’s Student Missouri State Teachers Association. She is a mentor for Big Brother Big Sisters, a volunteer for the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri’s ArtReach! program, and a student worker at the University School for Young Children. During her final year at Southeast, Gettinger plans to continue and increase her volunteering time on campus and in the community. After she graduates in December 2017, she plans to pursue a Master’s degree in education. Throughout her career she hopes to empower other women. Gettinger is the daughter of Steve and Margaret Gettinger of Ste. Genevieve, and is a 2014 graduate of Valle Catholic High School.
Hayes is a sophomore pursuing a degree in journalism in multimedia broadcasting. She is the starting catcher on the Redhawks softball team; features reporter for Southeast’s student newspaper, The Arrow; and a member of Southeast’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Southeast’s Campus Outreach and the Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll. Over the next two years before her expected graduation in May 2018, Hayes plans to explore her options in sports broadcast journalism and embrace the many opportunities available on campus. She hopes no matter what path she chooses, that she continues to positively impact those around her. Hayes is the daughter of Greg and Sherri Hayes of Jefferson City, Missouri, and is a 2014 graduate of Jefferson City High School.
Kaimann is a senior pursuing a degree in secondary education and a minor in developmental psychology. She is a member of Southeast’s #260 Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, the Alpha Eta Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Education Honor Society and the Jane Stephen Honors Program. She is currently participating in Southeast’s six-week student teaching exchange program through Eagles’ College in Iquiqué, a coastal city in northern Chile, South America. Kaimann, who graduates this May, plans to pursue her master’s degree, specializing in clinical social work. She hopes to one day become a therapist and work with teens and adolescents within the LGBT community. Kaimann is the daughter of Bert and Doris Kaimann of Moscow Mills, Missouri, and is a 2012 graduate of Troy Buchanan High School.
Potje is a junior pursuing a degree in accounting and minors in business law and communication studies. She is director of corporate communication and secretary for Southeast’s Student Center for the Public Trust; treasurer of Southeast’s Alpha Psi Chapter of Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority; representative of Southeast’s Harrison College of Business to the Center for Strategic and International Studies seminar; and chief justice on Southeast’s student judicial board. She is a member of Southeast’s Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Business Fraternity, Southeast’s Presidential Ambassadors, Southeast’s Little Black Book Women in Business organization, and the Jane Stephens Honors Program. Potje, who expects to graduate in May 2017, plans to become a certified public accountant and work for an accounting firm in the St. Louis area. Potje is the daughter of James and Susan Potje of Belleville, Illinois, and is a 2013 graduate of Althoff Catholic High School.
Souza Muramatsu is an international student and junior pursuing degrees in global studies and political science. She is the founding president of Southeast’s Unified Young Leaders and the Brazilian Student Association; president of Southeast’s International Student Association; vice president of Southeast’s Model United Nations and Phi Eta Sigma National Honors Society; justice on Southeast’s student judicial board; participant in the 21st Century Leadership Academy sponsored by the Sue Shear Institute for Public Life; and student and faculty liaison to Southeast’s Jane Stephens Honors Program. She is a member of Southeast’s Japanese Student Association, #260 Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Chapter of Alpha Mu Gamma National Collegiate Foreign Language Honor Society, and Student Organization of Latinos. She is a volunteer with Southeast Serves, and student worker for the Department of Global Cultures and Languages. Souza Muramatsu, who graduates in May 2017, plans to work in international relations with non-profit organizations and help victims of human trafficking. She hopes to continue to work with Southeast’s Unified Young Leaders and help the organization expand more chapters around the world. Souza Muramatsu is the daughter of Julio Seigi Muramatsu and Gedenice Ribeiro de Souza Muramatsu of Toyohashi, Japan, and is 2009 graduate of Eschola Alegria de Saber in Japan.
Sowash is a senior pursuing a degree in nursing. She is a member of Southeast’s Student Nurses Association and the Lambda Theta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, and the Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll. She is a high jump athlete on the Redhawks Track & Field team and is a recipient of the Ohio Valley Conference Medal of Honor. Sowash, who graduates this December, plans to work in an intensive care unit or as a certified flight registered nurse. She wants to always be there for patients during critical times and the person they look to for support. Sowash hopes to one day return to school and earn a degree as a nurse anesthetist. Sowash is the daughter of Emmette and Jean Sowash, of Highland, Illinois, and is a 2013 graduate of Triad High School.
The Power of Women event is sponsored in a collaborative effort by the Southeast Missouri University Foundation, Southeast’s Department of Athletics and Southeast Student Government.
This year’s event was also sponsored by many area businesses, including Thrivent Financial-Linda Bauwens, Edward Jones, Bold Marketing, Fox 23 KBSI Cape Girardeau, Saint Francis Medical Center and the Missouri Department of Conservation.
For more information about the Power of Women Scholarship and luncheon, visit http://www.semo.edu/foundation/power-of-women.html.
Featured Photo Caption: (from left to right) Dr. Maureen Clancy May, 1979 Southeast graduate and keynote speaker during the luncheon; Southeast students Riley Hayes, Abigail Sowash, Ashley Getting, Karen Souza Muramatsu, Jo Cougill, Lauren Potje, Noel Burke, Tracie Beard, Amanda Edgar and Destiny Brooks; and Linda Bauwens of Thrivent Financial, premier sponsor of this year’s event. Not pictured is Laura Kaimann.