Listee Features — August 1, 2018


When Jennifer Giles was young, she was torn between pursuing law or architecture. It wasn’t until her third year as an undergrad that she decided to focus on the former. Family law in particular caught her attention because it would allow her to help others through tough times; a lot of the job is listening and empathizing with people. As a partner and owner of VanLanduyt Giles Greer, LLC, Ms. Giles handles a variety of topics, including divorce, adoption, custody disputes, protective orders, and child support. She strives to avoid litigation whenever possible, especially when there are children involved, but clients know they can count on her to be there for them whatever their needs. She is fluent in Spanish

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Determined to make a difference, Clara McLaughlin has made it her mission to give a voice to the voiceless. She started her communications journey in high school, where she created the first student newsletter and developed an interest in writing and media. After spending a few years in the Navy, Ms. McLaughlin joined the Howard University community as both an employee and a student. Her positions in the dean’s office and the public relations office paved the way for her success at the school. Notably, she was instrumental in initiating the journalism major and the National Black Communications Society at Howard University, and was recognized for outstanding work as the co-editor and editor-in-chief of the Bison Yearbook. Under Ms. McLaughlin’s

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When Judith A. Sessions was young, she developed a passion for books and reading. She knew she wanted to pursue literature professionally in some capacity, so she obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Central Florida University in 1970 and a Master of Library Science from Florida State University in 1971. Her first position in the field was head librarian at the University of South Carolina, Salkehatchie, followed by director of the Library and Learning Resources Center at Mount Vernon College and planning and systems librarian at The George Washington University. During this time, computerization was growing, and Ms. Session was excited at the prospect of joining the front lines of the changes that were coming to libraries across the country.

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Growing up, Linn Cary Mehta was inspired by her father’s passion for teaching and for creating equality in society. She wanted to contribute in a similar way, and has worked hard to demonstrate the connection between poetry and politics in the world and how art can be a transformative force in society. She is also dedicated to bringing North and South America together on equal terms; spending a year in Peru during college really broadened her worldview. Currently, Dr. Mehta is pursuing her goals at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University, where she has worked as an instructor since 2012, and at Barnard College, where she has worked as a lecturer in the English Department since

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A veteran of the education industry, Nancy Morris is known for her honesty, trustworthiness, and fairness. She spent 30 years teaching business at Berlin Central School in New York, and 11 years teaching business as an adjunct professor at Empire State College and Hudson Valley Community College. Although she retired in 2014, she remains active as a member of the New York State Business Education Teachers Association. During her time at the high school, Ms. Morris also served as the coach of the junior varsity and varsity cheerleading squads, the junior varsity and varsity ladies soccer teams, and the varsity ladies softball team. One of the highlights of her career actually revolved around her athletic endeavors. Many years ago, a

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Takako Asakawa Richards is a talented dancer, director and choreographer who has amassed more than five decades of experience in the realm of arts and entertainment. A native of Tokyo, Japan, she delved into the world of dance as a young child, having been placed into dance school by her parents to curb her boundless energy. Falling in love with the art, she traveled to New York City to pursue her passion on a full-time basis after touring with the Japanese musical “Holyday.” After receiving a scholarship, Ms. Asakawa served as a principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company beginning in 1966, dancing in such productions as “Dancing Ground,” “The Plain of Player” and “Myth of a Voyage.” Since

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Driven by her desire to help others, Bonita Yvonne Jones Manson has spent decades working in academia and nutrition. Her first professional positions were nutrition specialist for the City of Riverside, Calif., and program representative for the University of California Cooperative Extension, followed by adjunct instructor at Chaffey College and teaching assistant at Kansas State University. Dr. Manson then became an assistant professor at Austin Peay State University, Middle Tennessee State University, and South Carolina State University, and the interim chairperson of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at South Carolina State University. Although she retired in 2016, she still teaches online courses. To further share her knowledge, Dr. Manson authored a number of books and articles for professional

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Passionate about music for as long as she can remember, Susan Marie Barzda often dreamed of becoming a band director. She worked hard to make that dream a reality, starting by earning a Bachelor of Music from Heidelberg University in 1974 and by becoming a licensed music teacher through the K-12 Ohio Department of Education. Then, to further her professional standing, she obtained a qualified intellectual disabilities professional certification from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disability and completed postgraduate coursework at Muskingum College. Ms. Barzda’s first job in the field was instrumental and vocal music instructor at Rolling Hills Local School District in Ohio, followed by positions as a music teacher at the Cambridge Developmental Center and the director of

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Never happier than she was when she was in the classroom, Amy Connor Byrd is thrilled to have passed on her passion to generations of students. She spent the majority of her career as an English teacher at Culpeper County High in Virginia, where she is best known as the founder and leader of The Phoenix Project. This particular curriculum was designed for kids who wanted to learn beyond the required material. Ms. Byrd’s goal was to create a comprehensive education that showed how intertwined everything taught in school is. It was such a success that she was invited to go on speaking engagements to other schools to share it with them. Although she retired in 2001, she hopes to

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Chi Yu Hu


Chi Yu Hu, PhD, is a physicist and professor emeritus celebrating 47 years of distinction in her field. Born in Sichuan, China, Dr. Hu was a kind and precocious student who developed a reputation for academic excellence at a young age. She recalls tutoring classmates who would come to her for help with schoolwork and concepts that they struggled with, finding that she enjoyed guiding others through the learning process. Even as a child, Dr. Hu remembers that all she wanted to do in life was help others. She attended National Taiwan University, completing a Bachelor of Science in 1955, and left China shortly after, immigrating to the United States in 1957 at just 20 years of age. When she

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