Published: Jan. 7, 2022

Nearly two dozen women were honored recently for having a positive, transformational impact on the CU Boulder community. 

The Women Who Make a Difference program was started by the CU Boulder’s Women’s Resource Center in 2000 and is now run by the Center for Inclusion and Social Change within the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement. It remembers the legacy of Mary Rippon, the first University of Colorado woman professor, Lucile Buchanan, the first African-American woman to graduate from CU, and other influential women who paved the way for women at CU Boulder and beyond. 

This year, 21 women were honored at a celebration in December on campus for their work as leaders, advocates, activists, problem solvers, friends, mentors, caregivers and more. 

“Too often, everyday acts of service, compassion and kindness go unnoticed by all but those who are personally impacted by them,” said Amanda Linsenmeyer, who oversees the program as the center’s director of intercultural engagement. “Women Who Make a Difference seeks to publicly recognize the women of our community who are making a difference in both large and small ways.”

Nominations for the program are requested each October. Nominators must be affiliated with CU Boulder, but nominees can be members of the wider community. Because the goal of this award is to recognize more women for all their contributions to our campus, the program honors all women who are nominated, Linsenmeyer said. 

2021 Women Who Make a Difference Recipients

  • Akirah Bradley-Armstrong, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Division of Student Affairs
  • Alexis McClain, Community Center Coordinator, Housing & Dining, Division of Student Affairs
  • Alisha Stewart, Senior Director of Human Resources, College of Engineering & Applied Science
  • Angela Bielefeldt, Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering and Engineering plus
  • Angelica Juarez, Hall Director, Housing and Dining
  • CheyOnna Sewell, Assistant Director of Social Science Education, Miramontes Arts & Sciences Program
  • Chrissy Harrison, Assistant Dean of Administration, College of Media, Communication and Information
  • Dyonne Bergeron, Acting Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement
  • Essence Duncan, Law Student, CU Law School, College Senator for Graduate and Professional Student Government
  • Evangelyne Eliason, Psychology Major in College of Arts & Sciences, Representative-at-Large for CU Student Government Legislative Branch
  • Holly Olivarez, PhD student, Department of Environmental Studies, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Jessie Finocchiaro, PhD candidate, Theoretical Computer Science, College of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Judy Taub, Associate Director of Clinical Services, Counseling and Psychiatric Services, Division of Student Affairs
  • Larrisa Alire, Law Student, Colorado Law
  • Leisha Conners Bauer, Director of Health Promotion and Collegiate Recovery Center, Division of Student Affairs
  • Leslie Safadi, Buff OneCard Office, Staff Council
  • Michele Ritter, Chair of Advisory Board, College of Music
  • Monika Weber, Assistant Director for Paraprofessional Selection and Training, Housing & Dining, Division of Student Affairs
  • Rajshree Shrestha, Graduate Program Manager, Computer Science, College of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Roxane Ruggles, Assistant Director for Events, University Memorial Center, Division of Student Affairs
  • Sharon Van Boven, Finance & Operations Manager, Center for the Humanities & the Arts
  • Veronica Gonzalez, Law Student and Co-Executive for Women of Color Collective, Colorado Law