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The Otterbein University Women's Forum Bread and Roses Award was established in 1992 to honor women or men who have made significant contributions in support of women. This award honors an individual's accomplishments and efforts in the area of women's issues.
The title of the award was inspired by a strike banner in 1912 with the slogan "We want bread and roses too!" The strike took place in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where a state law reduced the work week for children from 56 to 54 hours. Company owners retaliated by reducing all workers' hours to 54, which increased their workloads without an increase in wages. More than 20,000 men, women and children stayed out of work for 10 weeks in order to win concessions from the woolen mill owners. In 2005, Women's Forum collaborated with Women's Studies and included students as award recipients.
Student Bread and Roses Award
The Student Bread and Roses Award is given to a student who has made important contributions to women's studies at Otterbein. Those contributions may include leadership in feminist activism, demonstrated excellence in women's studies scholarship, or service to the Women's Studies Program. Preference will be given to a student with a minor in women's studies.
The Women's Forum gives the annual Bread and Roses Award to an outstanding individual or group who has made significant contributions in support of women through exemplary service. The award goes to a man, woman or group who has made an impact in women's issues that deserves to be recognized. That person may:
- Demonstrate a notable and/or sustained contribution to women's issues.
- Serve as a role model or advocate for women.
- Make an exceptional contribution to Otterbein University.
Make a nomination.
2014 Award Winners
Dr. Kerry Strayer
Kerry Strayer, was nominated because of her championing of the female adult students and staff members of Otterbein and her positive message of the influence and advantages of having women in leadership roles. Although busy as Chair of the Communication Department and as a faculty; Kerry still manages to mentor and contribute to her community in Central Ohio.
As a faculty, Kerry’s smile and skill in the classroom make all her students participate freely and comfortably no matter their age, ethnicity or gender. Kerry’s teaching includes courses which examine communication and gender, including the variety of forces which shape our gender identity and strategies for impacting positive change in organizations with regard to gender and equality issues. She is tirelessly working towards teaching others understanding and the ability to recognize what shapes our perceptions of others and inspiring us to look at the world differently than we have in the past. Kerry is quick to understand the adult student’s needs and various lifestyles and has been described as “a source of inspiration” by many adult students we have encountered at Otterbein University through the years.
Dr. Mary McKelvey
Mary McKelvey is a nurse who loves helping pregnant women and new babies. She works closely with our undergraduate nursing students in the courses that focus on pregnant women and newborns. She is a wonderful role model for the students in these specialty areas. She also is the advisor for all for the ADN to MSN students and teaches the transition courses where she spends a great deal of time working to help the nurses prepare for graduate level work and come to understand the professional aspects of nursing career. Many of these AND nurses are working and/or single mothers who are striving to improve their position in the profession and in life. Mary sets an excellent example and inspires these students to advance themselves both professionally and personally. She exhibits a wonderful calm persona and expects the best and highest performance from her students.
She is an advocate for fairness in all her dealings with applicants, students and colleagues. Her love of nursing, striving for excellence and commitment to our community is obvious to anyone lucky enough to meet her.
Alex Shaffer, Student
Alex was recognized for consistent, highly visible, and institutionally significant leadership roles on this campus over the course of the last three years. The largest—and, in many ways, the most thankless—leadership role that Alex has occupied has been that of lead advocate for the peer advocates who staff the Women’s and Gender Resource Center. As lead advocate, Alex has essentially managed all of the work of the Center: staffing student advocates, filling in when student advocates don’t or can’t make their shifts, organizing all of the managerial work of the Center, promoting the work of the Center in multiple campus venues, serving as a liaison with Student Affairs, connecting students in distress with Student Wellness and the campus psychologists, and helping organize all training for peer advocates.
Alex has also served as the President of the inaugural class of Tri-lota the national honorary in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She helped launch the first—and extensive—One Billion Rising event on campus, as well as the second annual Feminist Pride Day.
Alex singlehandedly took over the reins of every student organization and advocacy group that emerged with the new WGSS program. Alex Shaffer, quite literally, helped bring these important—and lasting—initiatives to life, and she has been the most dedicated and hard-working student advocate for women on this campus that I know. She is irreplaceable.