Forever Green
Campaign for Northwest
A-Z Index

Past Winners

The Influential Woman at Northwest Award recognizes and honors Northwest women who make a difference in the campus community. The award also celebrates women who not only inspire and positively influence others but contribute to the success of students and the University.


Staff Awards

Award Recipient

Anna SummaAnna Summa
Report Analyst, Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness

Anna has contributed to three offices (Alumni Relations, Wellness Services, and Institutional Research and Effectiveness). She is an extremely bright young lady that goes above and beyond to do anything for anyone. She invites students into her home for dinner and she makes them feel like part of the Northwest family. She is a fighter who hardly ever shows her weakness. She stays positive always and smiles. She comes to work when the going is really tough and when she sees others in need she is there. No matter the battle she is dealing with, she is always there for others and she is always positive. She does so much for our students, for our offices, and our community. She has helped in raising money for both the University and for cancer charities. She is an amazing woman. Anna is a vibrant beautiful soul.

Outstanding Nominee

Lori HopkinsLori Hopkins
Deputy Athletics Director, Athletics

She is highly qualified, a great communicator, professional, wields a great sense of humor, calm under pressure, and real. She is a stellar example for our student athletes, in particular. Lori has taken on a great deal of responsibility as a long-standing administrator in athletics during a time of change and has done so with great skill and a calming presence. Her positive influence has reached beyond athletics into Staff Council, Extended Leadership Team and the multitude of campus areas that interact with athletics on a regular basis … Lori's high degree of capability, skill, kindness, calm presence, sense of humor and servant leadership is a stellar example for two groups in need of strong role models on every college campus: female student athletes and female administrators in male-dominated areas. In short, she is a great human being.

Outstanding Nominee

Marsha MartinMarsha Martin
General Project Assistant, Regional Professional Development Center

Upon the death of her son in a car accident several years ago, Marsha began speaking to different groups and organizations as well as classes at Northwest about the dangers of drunk driving and the impact it can make on families. She also started a charity in honor of her son that serves a multitude of children in the northwest region, providing them with gifts for Christmas, clothing, shoes, school supplies and back-to-school outfits. She has provided food for children’s families and also provides a Christmas gift to those in nursing homes who may be forgotten at this time of year. Many individuals would not be able to endure the tragedy that Marsha has experienced. She has taken a very tragic event and used it to build and support the community. Thinking of others beyond herself and the pain that her family experienced, Marsha has built a support network that many families depend upon. A variety of area school districts and churches depend on the charity she developed to benefit those in need during the holidays and beyond. In addition to the Northwest community, Marsha has assisted foster children in the St. Louis area.

Student Awards

Lonnae Young Influential Student Award Recipient

Natasha SamudziNatasha Samudzi
Senior, Human Services major
Maryville, Missouri

Natasha is a captain on the women’s soccer team, a member of Blue Key, and a staff member in the international office of the library. She is a well-known face all over campus. There is not one negative quality that Natasha has. She is spontaneous, outgoing, confident and a very respectful young woman. Natasha has impacted many, many lives throughout her time at Northwest. She is so inspirational and has touched many hearts. She is a leader day in and day out. She encourages people like no other, especially on the soccer field. She is constantly pushing people to be the best version of themselves and gives it her all in all aspects of life. She is a bundle of joy that can brighten up any person’s day with a simple smile or encounter. Natasha puts other people before herself even when she is not having the best day. There needs to be more Natashas in the world. I have never met anyone like her, and if you were to ask anyone who knows her they would all say the same exact thing.

Outstanding Nominee

Bailey ChristensenBailey Christensen
Senior, Public Relations major
St. Jopesh, Missouri

This woman has had a positive influence on the Northwest community in a multitude of ways. Through her involvement in Sigma Society, she has served fellow Bearcats and community members through countless hours of service and programs such as The Nodaway County Humane Society, Lettuce Dream, and North Start Advocacy Center. On campus, Bailey is never found without a smile on her face and pep in her step. Her positive attitude and bubbly personality positively impact those on this campus daily. She embodies exactly what it means to be a Bearcat. Her character is absolutely outstanding. She greets everyone with a smile and is driven with the purpose of getting to know all people of all backgrounds. She thrives on knowing and getting to know new people. She gives her heart and soul to everything she does and everyone she meets. She is very active on campus and off campus through organizations and her full-time job at Mosaic Medical Center. She is always looking for ways to make positive impacts on campus and in the community.

Outstanding Nominee

Cayla VertreeseCayla Vertreese
Sophomore, Human Services major
Lee's Summit, Missouri

Cayla has brought Active Minds to our campus, a mental health awareness club, and has put so much into transforming the mental health scene on campus so students know the resources available to them. … Cayla has grown Active Minds from the ground up and encouraged more students to speak up about mental health, and to provide resources to anyone who needs them. I feel honored not only to know Cayla Vertreese and call her one of my sorority sisters, but to work alongside her to change the mental health culture at Northwest.

Faculty Awards

Award Recipient

Jacquie LamerJacquie Lamer
Senior Instructor, School of Communication and Mass Media

Jacquie Lamer creates opportunities for students and employees on and off campus to develop, contribute and lead through her classes, organizations and daily interactions. Her personal and professional relationships connect students, faculty, staff and Maryville community members with people and professionals outside the Northwest and Maryville communities. She facilitates positive connections for Northwest and represents Northwest in a positive manner. … Jacquie makes a difference within our campus community through inspiring and positively influencing others and contributing to the success of our students and University. She conceived of, developed, and leads the “We Gotchya” campaign, bringing cost-free feminine products to the Northwest campus and Haiti. Additionally, she’s long been a strong and active advocate for female Northwest graduates in securing positions in media industries. Jacquie’s in the vanguard of female empowerment, not just talking the talk but walking the walk.

Outstanding Nominee

Christine BensonDr. Christine Benson
Professor and Department Chair, Department of Mathematics & Statistics

Christine goes above and beyond to make students and new members feel welcome at Northwest. Her and her family go to as many activities that fit into their schedules to support their students. You can see them at about every sporting event, yelling when the team does good and dancing to the band. She makes contributions to anything that will make Northwest a better place in such ways as giving to the annual donations and donating money when students are selling cookies or food. With being the chair, she is always willing to step in and do an overload to help with making a student’s schedule work in the order they need to. … With her retirement this year, it is going to be hard to fill her shoes. Christine goes out of her way to make everyone at Northwest to feel welcome and bleeds green through and through.

Outstanding Nominee

Chi Lo LimDr. Chi Lo Lim
Professor, Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth School of Business

Her students have achieved impressive successes in their academic and professional lives with her help. She has successfully inspired junior faculty members to continuously grow in various areas like teaching, research and service, and she has meaningfully served our Northwest community as a whole in diverse ways. … Dr. Lim is an influential woman who has made outstanding and meaningful contributions to our Northwest community by developing students into future business leaders, nurturing junior faculty members into quality educators, and serving our community in diverse ways with the focus on student success.

Past Recipients


2019 Influential Women of Northwest

Northwest celebrated its "Influential Women" Friday. Left to right, Pat Wyatt, Bryana Jones and Kat Bilbo received the awards for staff, students and faculty, respectively. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Influential Staff Award

  • Pat Wyatt, coordinator of accessibility, office equity and accessibility (award recipient)
  • Kristen Peltz, assistant director, wellness services – counseling (outstanding nominee)
  • Megan DeShon Runge, assistant director, office of student involvement (outstanding nominee)

Lonnae Young Influential Student Award

  • Bryana Jones (award recipient)
  • Sierra Rains (outstanding nominee)
  • Alison Hanner (outstanding nominee)
  • Megan Frerrking (outstanding nominee)
  • Holly Hatfield (outstanding nominee)

Influential Faculty Award

  • Katheryn Bilbo, assistant professor of theater (award recipient)
  • Dr. Robin Gallaher, assistant professor of English (outstanding nominee)
  • Dr. Ashley Davis Black, assistant professor of English (outstanding nominee)
  • Dr. Gretchen Thornsberry, associate professor of biology (outstanding nominee)

Special Recognition

  • Dr. Jamie Hooyman, first female provost at Northwest
  • Lonnae Young, student



  • Dr. Alisha Francis, assistant professor, Department of Psychology, Sociology and Counseling
  • Dr. Dawn Gilley, assistant professor, Department of History, Humanities, Philosophy and Political Science
  • Susanne Nuttall, instructor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Sarah Park, instructor, B.D. Owens Library
  • Brenda Ryan, instructor, Department of English


  • Nikki Bucy, auxiliary services specialist, Auxiliary Services
  • Avis Curphey, secretary, Department of Psychology, Sociology and Counseling
  • Jennifer Klute, secretary, Department of History, Humanities, Philosophy and Political Science
  • Sue Nickerson, executive secretary, Office of Student Affairs
  • Jody Throener, residential life specialist, Office of Residential Life


  • Jennifer Carr, senior history major from Sheridan, Missouri
  • Mary Connors, senior political science major from Garland, Texas
  • Ashley Cramer, freshman English major from Hamilton, Missouri
  • Destinee Biesemeyer, senior political science major from Liberty
  • Madeline Mongar, junior history major from Creston, Iowa
  • Margaret Martens, master of education in teaching (history) from Chugiak, Alaska


  • Deb Toomey
  • Betty Heitman
  • Mary Throener
  • Jolaine Zweifel
  • Jill Monticue
  • Jaime Patton
  • Kristina Alexander
  • Deborah Rauch


  • Girija Chavala
  • April Haberyan
  • Gayle Hull
  • Lori Mardis
  • Louise Runde
  • Darla Runyon
  • Kimberly Todd


  • Susan Altizer
  • Rita Hanks
  • Aleta Hubbard
  • Carolyn Johnson
  • Merry McDonald
  • Bev Schenkel
  • Joan Schneider
  • Julie Volner


  • Marcia Alsup
  • Claudia Beacom
  • Janice Brandon-Falcone
  • Sue Dredge
  • Marjean Ehlers
  • Leslie Galbreath
  • Nancy Hardee
  • Kristina Hargin
  • Chi Lo Lim
  • Virginia Murr
  • Rebecca Newcom Belcher
  • Francis Shipley
  • Connie Ury
  • Laura Widmer

Essay Contest Winners

Each year area elementary and middle school students are asked to submit an essay about influential women in history.


Fifth Grade

  • Amani Kegode
  • Sara Smith
  • Caroline Chun

Sixth Grade

  • Dominic Mattock
  • Alysa Lyle
  • Ryan Collier


  • Arlie Myers
  • Megan Shell