Women’s Society presents leadership award, scholarship

The Women’s Society of Washington University honored the legacy of two of the University’s most revered women — Harriet K. Switzer and the late Elizabeth Gray Danforth — at its annual meeting April 15.

Mary Jane Gray, M.D. (right), sister of the late Elizabeth Gray Danforth, presents the Elizabeth Gray Danforth Scholarship to St. Louis Community College-Meramec student Simeona Georgiev.

The society presented the Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award and the Elizabeth Gray Danforth Scholarship to two exemplary college students at the Formal Lounge of the Ann W. Olin Women’s Building.

Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award

The Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award was presented to WUSTL senior Kristi Tanouye. Tanouye, of New Lenox, Ill., will graduate May 15 with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in biomedical engineering.

Tanouye has a 3.71 grade-point average and is a member of Alpha Eta Mu Beta, a biomedical engineering honors society, and Sigma Xi, a science honors society.

She has conducted research on elbow implant usage in humans as well as the impact of diabetes on the structural and material properties of bones in rats. She also has been a tutor for other engineering students.

Tanouye served as co-president (2007-08) of the WUSTL Society of Women Engineers and as vice president (2006-07) and president (2007-08) of the WUSTL Biomedical Engineering Society. Tanouye also was the Society of Women Engineers’ 2009 regional conference chair. In that role, she organized speaker and networking sessions, socials and business meetings for more than 200 students and professionals for the society’s 2009 conference at Washington University.

Tanouye also manages the Edison Theatre Box Office.

The Women’s Leadership Award, now in its 12th year, was renamed the Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award in 2007 in honor of Switzer, Ph.D., longtime secretary of the Board of Trustees and University coordinator for the Women’s Society.

The award is presented annually to a young woman who has made a significant contribution to WUSTL as an undergraduate.

The award consists of a $500 cash prize and a silver clock inscribed with a quote from English writer Virginia Woolf: “I should remind you how much depends upon you and what an influence you can exert upon the future.”

Elizabeth Gray Danforth Scholarship

The society, with the help of Mary Jane Gray, M.D., sister of Elizabeth Gray Danforth, presented the Elizabeth Gray Danforth Scholarship — which covers full tuition at the University and is awarded to outstanding St. Louis Community College transfer students — to Simeona Georgiev.

Georgiev has a 3.91 grade-point average and attends St. Louis Community College-Meramec.

She is president of the Business Club and a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the Math Club and the International Club at Meramec. She works as the head French tutor at Meramec.

Georgiev, who was born in Bulgaria and has lived in Austria, also is a talented singer and performs in concerts with a Christian a cappella group and in nursing homes. She plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration as well as a master’s degree in business administration.

Among her long-term goals is to travel to Africa to teach children about the importance of education.

The scholarship was established in 1976 and was renamed in 1995 in honor of Elizabeth Gray Danforth, wife of Chancellor Emeritus William H. Danforth, M.D., and the University’s first lady for 24 years.

The Women’s Society is a group of more 600 volunteers and professional women from the St. Louis area.

The society was founded in 1965 to engage women in the life of the University through education, scholarships, student projects and leadership.

Women need not be WUSTL professors or alumnas — or parents or wives of WUSTL alumni or professors — to join the Women’s Society.

For more information, visit womenssociety.wustl.edu or call 935-7337.