2014 Honorees >> Women of Character, Courage and Commitment >> NWHP

National Women’s History Project

2014 Honorees

(In Chronological Order)


Women of Character, Courage
and Commitment

Chipeta (1843 – 1924)
Indian Rights Advocate and Diplomat
Chipeta was a wise and contrary advisor to her husband, a Ute Indian leader. Born into the Kiowa Apache tribe in the 1840s, Chipeta was raised by the Uncompahgre Ute tribe in what is now western Colorado. In her teens she wedded Ouray, who became a powerful Ute chief during the often violent and brutal times of western settlement.  Chipeta was a peacemaker who did not consider all settlers to be the enemy, often giving food to starving white families. Chipeta lived 45 years on a reservation in Utah, lauded as a wise elder and advisor to other Indian chiefs and an honored guest in the homes of settler families.


Anna Julia Haywood Cooper (1858 – 1964)
African American Educator and Author 
Anna J. Cooper was an author, educator, speaker, and among the leading intellectuals of her time. Born into enslavement, she wrote “A Voice from the South,” widely considered one of the first articulations of Black feminism. Throughout her long life, Anna worked for the betterment of African American women’s lives, which she saw as the foundation for a more just society for everyone. Cooper worked at Washington D.C.’s M Street — now Dunham High School for nearly 40 years, focusing the all black high school on preparing students for higher education, successfully sending many students to prestigious universities.



Agatha Tiegel Hanson (1873 – 1959)
Educator, Author, and Advocate for Deaf Community
Agatha Tiegel Hanson was a teacher, poet, and advocate for the deaf community. Unable to hear and blind in one eye from a childhood illness, she never allowed her disabilities to hold her back. She came of age at a time when most deaf people were denied access to education, and deaf women especially had few educational options.  She was admitted to Gallaudet University, which is still the only college in America dedicated to the education of deaf and hard of hearing students.  Graduating first in her class, her valedictorian speech argued for the recognition of the intellect of women, a cause she advocated throughout her life.


Katharine Ryan Gibbs (1863 – 1934)
Women’s Employment Pioneer
Katharine Ryan Gibbs founded Katharine Gibbs School in 1911 to provide women with high-level secretarial training and the opportunity to earn their own incomes.  Gibbs was a mother and housewife for much of her life, until she was widowed at 48 and left with no means to support herself or her two sons.  Teaming up with her sister, Mary Ryan, they purchased a failing Providence, Rhode Island secretarial school in 1911.  Her school quickly expanded, opening branches near many ivy-league universities. At a time when educated women were generally expected to become teachers or nurses, Katharine Gibbs School offered women an exceptional secretarial education and new opportunities, which made skilled office work a realistic career for women.


Frances Oldham Kelsey (1914 – Present)
Pharmacologist and 
Public Health Activist  
Frances Oldham Kelsey as the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) pharmacologist refused to approve thalidomide, a drug that was later proved to cause severe birth defects.  Kelsey required scientific rigor for all her clinical trials as well as ongoing oversight of drug testing at the FDA.   In addition, her research led Congress to pass the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act greatly strengthening drug regulations by the FDA.  Dr. Kelsey continued her work at the FDA until her retirement in 2005 at age 91. In 2010 the FDA established the Frances Kelsey Award, an annual award given to a staff member for their commitment to scientific rigor


Roxcy O’Neal Bolton (1926 – Present)  
20th Century Women’s Rights Pioneer
Roxcy O’Neal Bolton is a lifelong advocate for women’s rights. She is the founder of Florida’s first battered women’s shelter and the nation’s first hospital-based Rape Treatment Center.  Her  extensive work also includes convincing National Airlines to offer maternity leave to (instead of firing) pregnant flight attendants; lobbying for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA); and persuading the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to name hurricanes after both women and men.  Bolton led the effort to create the Women’s Park in Miami, which opened in 1992 as the first outdoor space in the nation– honoring past and present women leaders.


Arden Eversmeyer (1931 – Present)
The Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project Founder
Arden Eversmeyer founded the Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project (1999), to ensure that the stories of lesbians born in the first part of the 20th century, who were labeled “mentally ill”, fired from their jobs, rejected by their families, and even raped and murdered with impunity, are recorded in history.  Project volunteers have documented over 320 diverse life stories recording the sacrifices and obstacles faced by lesbians of that era. The collection is now archived, and continues to grow, as part of the prestigious Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College.  Today Eversmeyer is proud to live in a time when she can be her true self with acquaintances, friends, family, medical professionals, and everyone


Carmen Delgado Votaw (1935 – Present)
International Women’s Rights Activist 
Carmen Delgado Votaw is a leading advocate for women’s rights both nationally and internationally. She served on the International Women’s Year Commission, collaborated with all United Nations Conferences on Women, and significantly influenced the advancement of women in Latin America.  Born and raised in Puerto Rico and inspired to fight for social justice by Martin Luther King Jr. and the 1963 March on Washington, she has worked for over 50 years for the betterment of women, children, Latinos, and other minorities throughout the world.  In 1996, she wrote “Puerto Rican Women,” a bilingual women’s history book. She received the Veteran Feminists of America Medal of Honor in 1999.


Ann Lewis (1937- Present)
Women’s Rights Organizer and Women’s History Advocate
Ann Lewis is a leader of progressive political reform focusing on the importance of personal engagement, social justice and women’s rights. She served as a White House Communications Director, is a national commentator on public policy, and champions the recognition of women’s history. Ann Frank Lewis grew up in a Jewish family who witnessed the Holocaust and its aftermath. Growing up with the name Ann Frank, she says “my parents, who talked often about current events, taught me how fortunate we were to live in a democracy, where we could choose our leaders. I would never take our political rights for granted.”


Jaida Im (1961- Present)
Advocate for Survivors of Human Trafficking
Jaida Im founded Freedom House, the first residential shelter for adult female survivors of human trafficking, in Northern California in 2010.  Im left her 20-year career as a health care professional to found the non-profit organization.  Under her direction, the program offers holistic case management, counseling, educational resources, and job training for victims of abduction and enslavement. In fall 2013, Freedom House opened The Nest to serve girls ages 12-17.  This new shelter provides a space to help girls to recapture their interrupted youth in a loving family setting.


Tammy Duckworth (1968 – Present)
Member of Congress and Iraq War Veteran
Tammy Duckworth, U.S. Representative from Illinois, is an Iraq War veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  In 2014, she became the first disabled woman elected to serve in the House of Representatives.  Duckworth has a strong record advocating and implementing improvements to veteran’s services. In 2004, she was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot.  She was one of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom until her helicopter was hit by an RPG on November 12 2004. She lost her legs and partial use of her right arm in the explosion and was subsequently awarded a Purple Heart for her combat injuries.


Lisa Taylor (1974 – Present)
Civil Rights Attorney
Lisa Taylor is a leading civil rights trial attorney who has worked for over twelve years to ensure that civil rights laws are enforced around the country. While working with the Department of Justice, Taylor focuses primarily on educational and disability law and shows an unwavering commitment to ending discrimination and promoting equality and justice. Lisa was in Naval ROTC as a student and served as an officer aboard the USS Tarawa, where she developed the ship’s first program to address sexual harassment.  Taylor became a lawyer out of a strong desire to serve those who could not serve themselves.


2014 National Women’s History Month Nominees

The women who were nominated to be 2014 National Women’s History Month Honorees represent the wide-range of women’s accomplishments and achievements.  Each is a woman of courage commitment and character.  Included in this year’s nominees are educators, institution builders, business, labor, political and community leaders, relief workers and CEOs.  Many were pioneers in a variety of fields and all earned placement in numerous categories and endeavors.

Making Women’s Lives Visible 

  • Anne Montague  (1939 – Present)
    Director of non-profit Thanks! Plain and Simple, which creates projects focused on finding and honoring Rosie the Riveters
  • Edna Buckman Kearns  (1882 – 1934)  
    Imaginative suffragist who drove a horse-drawn wagon called the “Spirit of 1776” through Manhattan’s city traffic in 1913 to promote Votes for Women
  • Lynn Marie Madison Jackson  ( 1952 – Present) 
    Dred Scott Heritage Foundation Founder  developed St. Louis school penny drives for a statue honoring the historic anti-slavery litigants Dred and Harriet Scott.

Builders of Communities and Institutions

  • Kikako Nakauchi  (1931 – Present) 
    Role model for young students emphasizing the importance of giving back to their own communities
  • Victoria Wilder Crews (1946 – Present)
    Life-long anti-drug and alcohol advocate who founded City of Refuge Point of Impact (CORPOI)
  • Maria “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D.  (1953 – Present)
    A strong and determined advocate for quality educational opportunities for all children and their families.
  • Frankie Sue Del Papa (1949 – Present)
    Champion for women’s rights who also advocates for domestic violence prevention and consumer fraud protection  and supports the arts, education, and the environment


  • Ann Marie Delgado, M.Ed., J.D.  (1972 – Present)
    Influential educator and role model at Buhach Colony High School in Atwater, CA, who developed a women’s studies curriculum for high school students
  • Grace E. Harris  (1933 – Present)
    Visionary leader of the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University promoting  the development of current and emerging leaders. .
  • Nathalie C. Lilavois, Ed.D.  (1965 – Present)
    Educator who helped lay the foundation for rebranding the Malik Melodies Sisterhood, Inc, dedicated to fostering cultural enrichment and civic and social responsibility.
  • Ri’Cha ri Sancho  (1975 – Present)
    Educator, performer, and mentor who advocates for African, Native American, and Latina cultural awareness
  • Linda Pollack Shevitz  (1943 – Present)
    Maryland education leader who co-founded the National Association of Multicultural Educators and the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center
  • Virginia Estelle Randolph  (1874 – 1958)
    Educator and industrial teacher who championed upgrading vocational training in African American schools throughout the country

Mothers and Mentors 

  • Triana LaDane Kuniken  (1982 – Present)
    Dedicated community and church member, mother, and mentor who works to guide the values of children
  • Minnie Evelyn Greensmith O’Donnell  (1922 – Present)
    Drove an ambulance during the blitzkrieg in London, married a USAF  American, then travelled the world with her family for 27 years
  • Emma Gomez  (1934 – Present)
    Respected teacher and mother who works to improve the quality of life of families and working people
  • Katarina Ferencovic Horvat Mrezar  (1894 – 1988)
    Mother, landlord, saloon proprietor, and first woman licensed as a barber in Indiana

Volunteers/ Aid Workers/Diplomats 

  • Anna Arredondo Chapman  (1946 – Present)
    Highest rated Hispanic civilian woman before retiring in 2004 after working for over 32 years from Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas
  • Eleanor I. Robbins  (1942 – Present)
    Leads efforts to mentor Native American children to become scientists and to save our environment
  • Myrtle Gansu  (1872 – 1958)
    Became the longest serving elected official in Long Beach, California (from 1919 to 1951)
  • Katy Todd  (1987 – Present)
    Peace Corps volunteer who taught women in the Togo how to run a community savings program

Women Pioneers / Trail Blazers 

  • Anna R. Samick (1937-2003) 
    First woman to serve as a business and education representative in the Aerospace Workers Union (IAMAW)
  • Dorothy Arzner  (1897 – 1979)
    Directed the first “talkie” for Paramount, developed the first boom microphone, was the first woman in the DGA (Director’s Guild of America)
  • Elizabeth Anderson Hishon  (1944 – 1999)
    Trail-blazing attorney whose Supreme Court case forced legal firms to include women as partners
  • Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler [Hedy Lamarr]  (1913 – 2000)
    Movie star and inventor who developed a key technique necessary for wireless communication
  • Mary Whitfield Ramerman  (1955 – Present)
    Developed better health care in Haiti, converted to Catholicism and became a self-ordained priest and established her own parish Spiritus Christi Church in Rochester, NY
  • Maud Powell   (1867 – 1920)
    Pioneered the violin recital in North America, gave the American premiere of major concertos by Tchaikovsky
  • Small Business Owners/ CEO/Founders 
    Andrea McDowell John Baptiste  (1972 – Present)
    CEO of Axum Management Capabilities, whose character and leadership is demonstrated in her successful company and in her innovative fundraising efforts for her community.
  • Nicole Levine  (1967 – Present)
    A single mother who used the most basic grass-roots efforts to become the undisputed gold standard for cleaning and extermination business in the NY Metro Area.
  • Deborah Brenner   (1966 – Present)
    Organized Women of the Vine to bring sustainable grape growers and winemakers into a marketing collaboration under one brand

Government Workers

  • Donna Zickefoose  (1965 – Present) 
    Ascended through the ranks of law enforcement, during times when females remained a minority in the field, to become Warden of the largest federal prison in the United States
  • Janet E. Petro  (1959 – Present)
    Deputy Director at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Florida helped the Center begin to transition to the nation’s premier multiuser spaceport.
  • Frankie Sue Del Papa  (1949 – Present) 
    Political role model who is the longest serving public servant in Nevada
  • Houra Rais  (1962 – Present)
    Senior engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division works to solve  some of the most difficult technical challenges facing today’s war fighters
  • Kimberly Stomach  (1968 – Present) 
    At the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division in Keyport manages an annual maintenance budget of over 4 million dollars.

Women Religious   

  • Verna Fowler
    Founding President of the College of the Menominee Nation in Wisconsin
  • Mother Frances Warde  (1810-1884)
    Founded the Sisters of Mercy in America to improve the lives of the poor, uneducated, and others marginalized by society
  • Angela Duke Hicks
    Served as a missionary in India and Belize, then worked with women and children in Africa suffering from AIDS
  • Marilyn Lacey (1948- Present)
    Founded Mercy Beyond Borders in 2008 to work with displaced women and children overseas in ways that help them move up from extreme poverty