We are thrilled to introduce the four nominees for the prestigious ATHENA Young Professional Award. These women have accomplished amazing things both at their respective universities and in our community. Take a few minutes to learn more about each one of these shining stars. Congratulations to all four women on their nominations!
Madison Sissem, Edinboro University Madison Sissem works to inspire other students and create new projects for Edinboro University through her leadership and creativity. She serves as State Vice President for Student Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) and Vice President for Edinboro’s Student PSEA. A senior education student, Madison has immersed herself in organizations and projects to fuel her passion for high-quality public education, social emotional learning/awareness and social justice. She created a two-day virtual conference for 60+ aspiring educators focused on professional development and social emotional learning and is a Mental Health and Trauma Informed Educator. She was invited to represent Pennsylvania Aspiring Educators at a National Education Association Minority and Women’s Leadership Training in Florida, created a voters drive and educational initiative within the Northwest Region of Student PSEA and connects people with resources by serving the Edinboro University community as a Highland Ambassador.
Kathryn Dickey, Gannon University Kathryn Dickey has made an impact Gannon Universitythrough her leadership and artistic talents. A social work major and student in the Honors Program, Kathryn serves as President of the Gannon University Social Work Club, President of the Gannon University Chapter of Active Minds and as a member on the Gannon University Honors Program Student Advisory Board. Kathryn’s artistic talents are showcased in the Honors Center, as she painted a mural of a Willow Tree, representing the ability of the Honors Program to bend and adapt during challenging times like COVID. She has performed social-justice related poetry at multiple Gannon events, placing second in the annual Gannon Poetry Contest. Kathryn has also worked to improve the quality of life for students and staff, being the first student member invited to serve on Gannon University’s Mental Well-Being Initiative, helping plan a wellness committee in the Honors Program and bringing the first open mic style event to campus on the topic of mental health. *2021 recipient of the ATHENA Young Professional Award!
Emily Blount, Mercyhurst University Emily Blount has been a significant leader for Mercyhurst University through her teamwork and leadership skills and her quest for academic excellence. A junior Sport Business Management Major, Emily is in the honors program at Mercyhurst and has completed 77 credits by the start of her junior year with a 3.96 GPA. She serves as the vice president of the Sport Business Club and assists with athletic operations at Mercyhurst for her work study job. Recently interning with the Erie Sports Commission, she continues to seek opportunities to lead in the field of sports. Emily was the winner of the 2021 Regional Case Study Competition through Pennsylvania Sport Business Conference and serves as a member of the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society.
Jennifer Gustafson, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College A senior Mechanical Engineering student, Jennifer Gustafson has worked to serve Penn State Behrend through her leadership and commitment to service. She serves as the Executive Director of Behrend Benefitting THON, President of Lion Ambassadors, a Welcome Week Leader and a leading member of at least 10 other organizations and programs on campus. As a first-year president of Behrend Benefitting THON and adapting the event during COVID-19, Jen helped raised over $6,814.37 toward research on childhood cancers. Jen has also led a service project off-campus at a shelter for victims of domestic violence, planning and facilitating volunteers to lead multiple children’s activities for a Halloween Haunted House. She received one of the limited positions on Behrend’s Alternative Spring Break that focused on Environmental Justice: Natural Disasters in the Time of COVID-19.
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