Women’s Society presents leadership award, scholarships

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 26.

The society honored four exemplary college students with the Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award and the Elizabeth Gray Danforth Scholarship at the Women’s Building Formal Lounge.

Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award winners

The Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award — presented annually to young women who have made a significant contribution to Washington University as an undergraduate — was presented to seniors Ashley Brosius and Elizabeth Phillips.

Harriet K. Switzer, PhD (left), talks with leadership award winner Ashley Brosius. (Credit: Mary Butkus)

Brosius, of Moline, Ill., will graduate May 18 with a bachelor’s degree in women, gender and sexuality studies, anthropology and political science, all in Arts & Sciences.

At WUSTL, Brosius has spent much time advocating for the advancement of women in the fields of science and technology. In 2010, Brosius wrote and received a $5,000 grant from the American Association for University Women to design and implement the “Catalyst for Change” program, which aims to help break down barriers for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Through the Catalyst for Change three-day workshop — organized by Brosius — WUSTL hosted racially and ethnically diverse female high school students from St. Louis-area schools as they participated in science experiments and met with female students and faculty in STEM at WUSTL.

At WUSTL, among numerous other activities, Brosius has served as a student representative to the Board of Trustees, member of The First Year Center Executive Board, teaching assistant in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, and team captain for the WUSTL Mock Trial team.

Brosius will attend law school this fall at the University of Iowa.

Phillips, of Homer Glen, Ill., will graduate May 18 with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering.

Phillips, who has a 4.0 GPA, is a member of WUSTL’s cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams. Phillips’ academic excellence earned her the distinction of being named the first three-time winner in NCAA history of the NCAA Elite 89 award, which recognizes an athlete at the NCAA championships with the highest GPA.

Phillips, a talented runner, earned All-America honors in 2012 with a third-place finish in the women’s mile at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships by posting the second-fastest time in WUSTL history (4:53.78). She has earned all-University Athletic Association cross country recognition during all four of her years competing at WUSTL.

In recognition of Phillips’ leadership ability, Phillips was elected unanimously by her peers as a co-captain of the cross country team and of the indoor and outdoor track teams the past two years. This past fall, Phillips led the WUSTL women’s cross country team to its first Division III national championship.

Phillips is planning to attend medical school in the fall.

The Women’s Society Leadership Award, now in its 14th year, was renamed the Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award in 2007 in honor of Switzer, PhD, longtime secretary to the Board of Trustees and university coordinator for the Women’s Society.

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 recipients

The society, with the help of Chancellor Emeritus William H. Danforth, presented Elizabeth Gray Danforth Scholarships — which cover full tuition at Washington University and are awarded to outstanding St. Louis Community College transfer students — to Alina Key and Olivia Mosley.

From left: Women’s Society member Melanie Adams talks with scholarship winners Olivia Mosley and Alina Key and Chancellor Emeritus William H. Danforth before the ceremony. (Credit: Mary Butkus)

Key, originally from Russia, earned a 4.0 GPA while studying at St. Louis Community College-Meramec.

While at St. Louis Community College, Key was a member of its Honors Program. She founded the Business Club at the Meramec campus for students interested in the fields of business and economics. She also served as the vice president of fellowship for the college’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Academic excellence and leadership are nothing new for Key, who was class president at her public school in Russia before attending a highly selective high school for gifted students.

She plans to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration or economics.

Mosley, who was home-schooled before entering St. Louis Community College-Meramec, has been a member of the dean’s list every semester she has attended and earned a Certificate of Academic Honors for Outstanding Academic Achievement.

Mosley also is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

A photographer and artist, Mosley has been chosen for several juried art shows, including Varsity Art and the Michael Eastman Curated Photography Exhibit and Workshop.

She plans to work toward a career in photojournalism or early education.

The scholarship was established in 1976 and renamed in 1995 in memory of Elizabeth Gray Danforth, wife of William H. Danforth and the university’s first lady for 24 years.

The Women’s Society

The Women’s Society is a group of more than 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 alumnae — or have any other connection to Washington University — to join the Women’s Society. It is open to all who have an interest in supporting the mission and students of Washington University and are seeking intellectual enrichment or networking opportunities.

For more information, visit womenssociety.wustl.edu or call (314) 935-7337.