On Wednesday, Nov. 14, ETSU’s Department of Women’s Studies hosted the 17th annual ‘Notable Women of ETSU’, honoring Kelly Atkins and Jodi Polaha as this year’s recipients.

“It’s incredibly important [to honor ETSU’s women], particularly in terms of raising awareness on campus and in the community about the work that women are doing and the strides women are making,” said Phyllis Thompson, director of Women’s Studies.

The award, which has been given since 2002, is given to two women to celebrate and honor them by exposing both the school and community to the things women are achieving on campus. The celebration provides a space for the exchange of ideas and research from ETSU’s female faculty members and by identifying those whose work has led to significant changes in the understanding of women and their lives.

This year’s honorees come from the Department of Management and Marketing (Atkins) and the Department of Family Medicine (Polaha). Atkins is associate professor in her department and is also the head of the merchandising program. Her research covers gender-neutral measures of apparel shopping as well as effective classroom management and evaluation of group assignments.

Polaha is also an associate professor in her department and is currently the assistant director of Interprofessional Education at the Academic Health Sciences Center. She has had over 40 peer or editorially reviewed publications and co-edited the journal “Families, Systems, and Health.” Polaha also serves as Washington County Commissioner and is a member of the Johnson City Development Authority and the Tannery Knobs Task Force.

Recipients are chosen from a pool of candidates nominated by other faculty and administrators early in the calendar year.

For the 2019 award, nominations are being accepted through Friday, March 15, and are then voted on by the Women’s Studies Steering Committee.  The honorees are then announced in April of 2019.

“Often times we [women] thought, ‘Well if we’re going to do the professional PhD career, MD career or EdD career, we can’t do that and have a family,’” Thompson said. “One of the things these women show us is, not only yes we can, but how to do it and how to navigate it.”