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Virginia Wolf Distinguished Service Awards

Virginia Wolf Distinguished Service Awards

Nominations for the 2020 Virginia Wolf Distinguished Service Awards are now open. Selection of awardees is by review from a panel composed of past honorees. Women’s Center staff members serve as advisers to the nominations review committee, but do not participate in the review process. Nominate someone!

Each year, members of the campus and local community are recognized with the Virginia Wolf Award for their continuous dedication to activism for gender justice.

Virginia (Ginny) Wolf was a professor of physical education at U of I from 1964-1982. Ginny took an active role in addressing issues affecting women on campus, including chairing the U of I Women’s Caucus and helping to launch the campaign that brought about the establishment of a permanent Women’s Center.

The award was created in 2002 to recognize individuals who reflect a similar level of commitment and demonstrate a level activism reverent of what Ginny gave more than 30 years ago.

2019 Recipients

Ashley Ayala - Food Science and Nutrition

Ashley Ayala embodies intersectional feminism and carries it in all of her work and advocacy for social justice. She is a student leader who is passionate about social justice, equity and women's rights. Ashley has been heavily involved in several campus and community organizations and volunteer work. She is a representative for Planned Parenthood Generation Action, a network of young activists across the country who organize events on their campuses and in their communities to mobilize advocates for reproductive freedom, health and rights. She is a sister of Kappa Delta Chi, a multicultural sorority on campus which advocates for women of color's success in higher education. She is also Vice President for Movimiento Activista Social (MAS), an organization which promotes and builds equal and just communities in Idaho that appreciate the well worth & values of all humans. Objectives of this organization are based on social justice, human & immigrant rights, gender & racial equity, fair access to education as well as cultural awareness. Ashley has contributed greatly to each of these organizations. She also has over fifty hours of community service with the following organizations: Generation Action, the Hope Center, Food & Farm, AARP Tax Aid, Volunteer Service, Jazz Fest, Winter ASB, Service Trip to Nicaragua, Relay for Life, Summer ASB, Service Trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Orphan Acres, PCEI Saturday of Service and the Humane Society of the Palouse. With her passion for social justice and humanitarian work, Ashley is an important student and member of our campus and our community.

Christine Wall – Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse Executive Director

Christine Wall, Executive Director of Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse has been with ATVP for nearly 25 years, with 20 of those in the role of ED. ATVP provides 24-hour crisis intervention to victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault. ATVP also offers a confidential shelter and community education. Each year this agency, helmed by Wall, serves hundreds of survivors here locally on the Palouse. Throughout her tenure with ATVP, Christine has secured more than $8.5 million in grants for the organization, which averages $25,000 per year in donations. ATVP not only serves survivors and their families 24 hours a day, but it also employs a dedicated staff, the vast majority of whom are woman-identified. These staff members gain valuable training, ongoing education, connections at the local and state level, all of which launch many of them to future employment where they continue to work on gender justice issues. In addition to outstanding grant-writing and fiscal management skills, Christine is an extremely creative thinker and problem solver. She is not afraid to ask hard questions and engage in difficult conversations. This is all to serve her guiding principle, which is to benefit the clients ATVP serves. Executive Directors can sometimes fall into the background of operations. Christine Wall is the driving force behind this amazing agency which has provided for the safety needs of so many victims and survivors, as well as promoting safe, healthy, equitable relationships throughout the Palouse. Between her length of time in this field, commitment to service, cultivation of gender-justice advocates and allies, strong, yet principled, fiscal revenue streams which provide services & steady paychecks to so many women, she is a deserving candidate for this distinctive honor.

Julia Keleher – LGBTQA Office Director

Julia has dedicated her life to equality and justice related to topics of gender and sexuality. With her academic background in Gender and Women’s Studies, she has a strong background in queer studies, particularly focusing on female masculinity and butch lesbian communities. Julia has worked in the LGBTQA office at the University of Idaho since 2012 (but her dedication to gender equity extends much further back in her career). Because of her commitment and success in this position, it moved from a small office in the Women’s Center to an independent program housed within the Equity and Diversity Unit on campus. In her role as the director of the LGBTQA office on campus she is reforming the climate at U of I to be more inclusive for all people but especially women, transwomen and gender nonconforming students, staff and faculty. In her capacity as the Director, Julia organizes and hosts weekly events to provide support for students who feel challenged by society's reactions to their genders and sexualities. She further organizes events to educate the broader campus community on topics of gender inclusion and acceptance for all. Additionally, and immeasurably, Julia provides extensive emotional support for gender nonbinary, trans, lesbian and gay students on campus. She works far more than 40 hours a week and is available to students in need at any time. Julia deserves this award for her dedication to improving our university, community and world for all people.

Past Recipients

2019 - Ashley Ayala (student), Julia Keleher (staff), Christine Wall (community member)

2018 - Catherine Yenne (student), Christina Vazquez-Ayala (staff), Nancy Nydegger (community member)

2017 - Madeline Scyphers (student), Rula Awwad-Rafferty (faculty), Erin Tomlin (community member)

2016 - Courtney Kersten (student), Ryanne Pilgerem (faculty), Sally Fredericks (community member)

2015 - Sara Spritzer (student), Maribel Franco (student), Laura Putsche (faculty), Kathy Sprague (community member)

2014 - Kaitlin Moroney (student), Yolanda Bisbee (staff), Deb Payne (community member)

2013 - Whitney Chapman (student), Colleen Kulesza (student), Virginia Solan (staff), Heather Shea Gasser (staff), Lela Ames (community member)

2012 - Micah Kehrein (student), Jane Lear (staff), Jama Sebald (community member)

2011 - Lynn McAlister (student), Chelsia Rice (student), Christine Moffitt (faculty), Christopher Bidiman (community member)

2010 - Rachel Todd (student), Francesca Sammarruca (faculty), Liz Sullivan (community member)

2009 - Anne-Marije Rook (student), Rebecca Rod (staff), Joann Muneta (community member), Jeannie Harvey (lifetime activist)

2008 - Tara Malmquist (student), Liz Brandt (faculty), Amy Stone Ford (community member)

2007 - James French (student), Traci Craig (faculty), Mary Jo Hamilton (community member)

2006 - Cassie Searle (student), Kathy Aiken (faculty), Ginny Foote (community member)

2005 - Selena Lloyd (student), Betsy Thomas and Valerie Russo (staff)

2004 - No awards given

2003 - Lori van Buggenum (student), Debbie Storrs (faculty)

2002 - Emily Sly (student), Kay Keskinen (staff)

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