Listee Features — February 2019

VIOLET IMHOF MEEK

As a child, Violet Imhof Meek dreamed of becoming a scientist. She was constantly curious about how things worked, and thought the field presented a great opportunity to learn. Ms. Meek worked hard to achieve her goal, earning a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, from St. Olaf College in 1960 and a Master of Science from the University of Illinois in 1962. She was encouraged by a professor to turn her focus to chemistry, so she obtained a PhD in chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1964. Degrees in hand, Dr. Meek set out to advance her industry. She started out as an instructor of chemistry at Mount Holyoke College, but she left to join Ohio Wesleyan University

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JEANNETTE EMILY BARNES

When Jeannette Emily Barnes was born, she faced a serious and life-threatening medical condition. The hospital had never seen a case like hers before and thought she was going to die, but she beat the odds because a surgeon there took a chance. This inspired Ms. Barnes to pursue health care, too; she wanted to give back and help others through situations like hers. To help make her dreams a reality, she earned a diploma in nursing from Temple University in 1958, a Bachelor of Science in nursing education from Wilkes College in 1969, and a Master of Arts in counseling from Marywood College in 1981. She also became a certified legal nurse consultant through Kaplan College, a licensed professional

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MARY K. KNECHTGES

Growing up, Mary K. Knechtges loved playing sports with her older brothers. She learned a lot from them, but didn’t receive any formal training until junior high school. Girls weren’t really supposed to be into sports at that time, so she thought her gym teacher was the coolest for both being in the field and encouraging her. Ms. Knechtges admired the teacher so much that it inspired her to follow in her footsteps. She proceeded to earn a Bachelor of Science from Bowling Green State University in 1967 and land a job as a physical education, health, and English educator at L’Anse Creuse High School that same year. She also completed postgraduate coursework at Wayne State University between 1968 and

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KATHERINE TODD

Respectful and honest, Katherine Todd was known for her ability to connect with others. She strove to work with people, not against them, and she always put her best foot forward. That’s why she was the perfect candidate for the personnel field. Ms. Todd had been looking for a fulfilling job when someone suggested she pursue that path. The idea intrigued her, so she became a personnel assistant at Carnation Co. Her demeanor quickly won over her peers and superiors; they appreciated the way she treated them. Thus, when the head of the department retired, Ms. Todd was promoted to personnel manager. From there, she was asked to write an affirmative action plan for the corporation, which led to her

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SARAH C. GREENFIELD

With a wide variety of interests, Sarah C. Greenfield wore a lot of hats over the course of her career. She started out as a unit clerk at Strong Memorial Hospital, where she was responsible for filling in when employees went on vacation, and then she advanced to become a biochemical laboratory technician at Strong Memorial Hospital and Pabst Biochemical Laboratory. When Dr. Greenfield’s family moved to Arizona, however, she had to step down. She spent the next few years as a housewife and community volunteer, but she longed for something more. Dr. Greenfield stumbled upon counseling by chance, and she quickly realized she had found what she was meant to do. For the remainder of her professional journey, she

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Gloria Woolson

GLORIA MANUEL WOOLSON

Enthusiastic and caring, Gloria Manuel Woolson loved working with kids. She pursued academia because of her high school guidance counselor, who recognized her potential in the field, and quickly found she had made the right choice. After earning a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Oswego in 1965, Ms. Woolson got right to work. Her first professional position was fifth-grade teacher at Auburn Enlarged City School District, followed by sixth-grade teacher and third-grade teacher at Jordan-Elbridge Central School District, and adjunct teacher at Cayuga Community College and Onondaga Community College. She retired in 2017. As a lifelong learner herself, Ms. Woolson was always seeking to improve and get better. She knew she had to learn

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AMANDA LORETTA WALTON

Concerned about the state of the public education system, Amanda Loretta Walton felt compelled to contribute to the betterment of the field. She first needed to gain a better understanding of what she would be dealing with, however, so she earned an Associate of Arts from the Borough of Manhattan Community College in 1975. Ms. Walton supplemented her training with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and elementary education from York College, a Master of Science in special education from the City College of New York, and postgraduate coursework in school district administration from the City College of New York. She also became certified in school district administration, common branches, education for grades K-6, and medical aid through the

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ELLEN M. GASTON

Renowned as an information technology and risk management expert, Ellen M. Gaston used her childhood experiences to shape her career. She initially became interested in technology because of the start of the space program when she was young, and she became interested in law enforcement after her brother was hit by a drunk driver who got off scot-free. The FBI was one of the only places that combined the two and offered women more than a secretarial job, so she made that her target. After earning a Bachelor of Arts from Knox College in 1972, Dr. Gaston successfully landed a job as a computer programmer with the FBI. She quickly advanced within the institution, first to lead computer programmer and

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MARY LIBBY PAYNE

Backed by a keen sense of justice, Mary Libby Payne set out to become a voice for the voiceless. She became a lawyer in 1955, and quickly worked her way up the chain. Over the years, she held positions like secretary with Guaranty Title Co., partner with Bickerstaff & Bickerstaff, associate of Henley, Jones, & Henley, Jackson, solo practitioner, executive director of the Mississippi Judiciary Commission, chief of drafting and research for the Mississippi House of Representatives, and assistant attorney general in the State Attorney General Office. Judge Payne broke into academia in 1975, when she became the founding dean and associate professor in the School of Law at Mississippi College. She decided that she liked using her experience to

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BERNICE BELL JORDAN

Originally a musician, Bernice Bell Jordan decided to switch courses and become an educator so she could provide a better life for her daughter. She wanted to lead by example and show her the value of academia. Ms. Jordan proceeded to join the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District as an elementary teacher in 1959. She quickly garnered a reputation for her passion and dedication to her work and became a beloved member of the community. She remained at the school until her retirement in 1999. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Jordan enjoyed connecting with her peers. She is affiliated with organizations like the National Education Association, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the California Elementary Education Association, the

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