Graduate student joan.O’sa Oviawe was announced as the WSU Woman of the Year at the annual Women’s Recognition Luncheon held at the Pullman campus Wednesday, March 11.

Oviawe is a doctoral candidate in the College of Education specializing in cultural studies and social thought in education. She teaches a diversity class and is president of the graduate education organization. She serves on the Student Conduct board, is the employment liaison for the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, and is a representative to Graduate and Professional Students Association.

Oviawe is also chair-elect for the National Research on Caribbean and African special interest group of the American Educational Research Association, and she is the founder of the Africa special interest group of the Comparative and International Education Society.

She has been asked to present at national and international conferences and has taken a leadership role in the Capacity Building Initiative for Scholars in Africa. She has founded a nonprofit organization, the Grace Foundation, based on the principles of community-building and self-sufficiency through education, participatory action and accountability.

As part of Women’s History Month, WSU recognizes the distinct role women have in creating social change, increasing equality for all and building community. During the luncheon, five WSU Women of Distinction also were recognized.

The 2009 Women of Distinction are Lori Carris, who received the award as a faculty member; Theresa Schulz Norris, alumna; Margo Tamez, student; Heidi Stanton, staff; and Gladys Jennings, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
For more information about each Woman of Distinction, see the earlier WSU Today article ONLINE