A doctor, an administrator, a graduate mentor and an undergraduate volunteer are the four women honored with the 2020 University Awards for the Advancement of Women. A stay at home order cancelled the April 22 ceremony to celebrate these women who have promoted the advancement of women at the University.
The faculty and staff recipients receive $5,000 each, and the student recipients $2,500 each.
Amelia Fischer Drake is director of the UNC Craniofacial Center in the Adams School of Dentistry and executive associate dean of academic programs and N.D. Fischer Distinguished Professor of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery at the School of Medicine. She has actively served to promote women and other leaders within this context.
“In her more than 30 years at UNC, Amelia has steadfastly encouraged women leaders in both the medical and dental schools through institutional and departmental programming, mentoring and advocacy,” wrote one of her nominators. “As one of the first women to fill a leadership role in the School of Medicine’s Dean’s Office more than 10 years ago, she paved the way for future women leaders at the highest levels.”
Anna Manocha is a sophomore majoring in business administration and minoring in Spanish for the business professions. As vice president of She’s the First, an international organization that provides financial and emotional support for girls that are the first in their families to go to secondary school, Manocha has worked to plan and execute fundraisers to finance the education of three scholars in India and one in Guatemala. Manocha is also a Buckley Public Service Scholar, volunteers at Club Nova and local homeless shelters, works with From Houses to Homes and spent spring break building a house in Guatemala.
Manocha tutors female students, “most of whom face challenges during their time at UNC due to their financial status, race, first generation status, etc.,” one of her nominators wrote. “She focuses her efforts predominantly on low-income students whose parents have not obtained a college education in order to encourage generational improvement and mobility.”
Shannon Speer is a doctoral student in chemistry who has been involved with Women in Science, Allies for Minorities and Women in Science and Engineering, Women in Science Promoting Inclusion in Research Experiences and the Inspiring Meaningful Programs and Communication through Science program. To target the next generation of scientists, Speer became director of grant writing and fundraising for Winspire and has raised $20,000 to support underprivileged and underrepresented young women in science. She also works closely with young women in the community through tutoring and academic consulting.
“When I first met Shannon, I knew she was driven to help other women with her involvement in WinS, AM_WISE, Winspire and the IMPACTS program,” one of her nominators wrote.
Valerie Tan is the associate chair for administration in the department of allied health sciences in the School of Medicine. Tan is currently a board member for the Association for Women Faculty and Professionals, an organization that offers programs and helps networking among professional women across campus. Tan also supports local organizations with her artwork and volunteering with Cinderella’s Closet and the Compass Center.
“Ms. Tan actively works with female staff to develop higher level skillsets to help them advance and achieve their next career goal. She is quick to recognize in-house talent, and … is a leading supporter in recommending female staff to take leadership or board member roles with campus groups,” one of her nominators wrote. “She is a key promoter for female faculty and staff.”