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Employee Engagement

Women’s History Month: How Women at NC State Support Each Other

Women's History Month: How Women at NC State Support Each Other

Last year for Women’s History Month, Howl About You wrote mini-profiles about nine women who work at NC State and whose passions include advocating for women. This year our focus for the month is on the communities of women at NC State. There are many women’s groups at the university, and each provides a networking community and other forms of support that are vital for women. Although we only focus on five groups below, all the women’s groups at NC State deserve recognition this month. We encourage the women reading these profiles to reach out to one or more of these groups and consider joining.

Association for Women Faculty

The Association for Women Faculty is a networking group for women faculty and other instructors of record at NC State. AWF supports its members during their career journey; celebrates members’ achievements (e.g., getting their work published, winning an award, contract renewal, getting tenure); provides informal mentorship; and meets socially. The association hosts two signature events: an annual fall reception for new women faculty, and the biannual Showcase of Research Creativity and Scholarship. It also sends email blasts on various topics of interest to members. The group is a great resource for young faculty members interested in academic research and learning how to get funding for that research, said Lisa Marshall, chair of AWF and director of outreach, retention and engagement for the Department of Nuclear Engineering.“We’re able to bring faculty together whether it’s for mentorship or for research/project collaboration,” Marshall said. “Lending advice to each other creates a win-win opportunity.”

If you’re interested in learning more about AWF, send Marshall an email at


As a result of sitting in many meetings about COVID-19, Amy Orders, director of Emergency Management and Mission Continuity, said she met some brilliant women at NC State whom she otherwise might not have met. To help these women meet each other, Orders copied an idea from the Campus Safety, Health, Environmental and Management Association, an organization of which Orders is a member. About six years ago, women who were part of CSHEMA decided to meet informally to network and share resources, and they dubbed themselves the CSHEMA SHEROES. Last year, Orders asked other women who work at NC State to form our own version of SHEROES with her. “It was unfortunate circumstances that brought us together, but it turned out to be perfect for our needs and the pandemic,” Orders said. SHEROES, which has 14 members, meets every other month. The group’s meetings are part brainstorming and part check-in session. “I think the best part about the way this has all come together is there is no formal capacity,” Orders said. “Some of our groups on campus are very formal, very rigorous and have an agenda, and there are social gathering groups. This group is a balance of all of that.” 

To inquire about SHEROES, send Orders an email at

Staff Women’s Network 

The Staff Women’s Network at NC State is an organization that plans a wide variety of activities throughout the year for women who sign up for its email list. About 175 women who work at NC State are part of the group. Each year, the group’s leadership team plans activities for members, such as attending professional and personal development programs, touring on- and off-campus facilities (e.g., Reynolds Coliseum, the Agroecology Education Farm, the Randleigh Dairy Heritage Museum and the JC Raulston Arboretum) and participating in community service projects. The group has also has met at Talley Student Union to eat Howling Cow ice cream and get to know each other. “I think people making connections with other people is important, especially at a large campus where it can be hard to feel part of it or be connected to people outside your unit or college,” said group member Janice Sitzes, associate director of marketing services for the McKimmon Center. Each holiday season, the group buys mugs for the Wolfline bus drivers and stuffs them with packets of hot chocolate, candy canes, Hershey’s Kisses and other goodies. The women dress in holiday hats and sweaters, stand at bus stops on campus and hand out the mugs. “That is one of our favorite projects,” Sitzes said.

If you would like to join the Staff Women’s Network group email list, send an email to Sitzes at

Women in Philanthropy

In 2017, leaders in University Advancement at NC State began discussing how the role of women in philanthropy was significantly changing. Those discussions led Brian Sischo, vice chancellor for University Advancement, to organize a group of about 40 women actively engaged at NC State and task the group with learning more about women’s philanthropy programs at other universities. That group’s research and conversations resulted in Wolfpack Women in Philanthropy forming in the summer of 2020. “What we found through research is that outside of athletics, women give very differently than men,” said Gayle Lanier, vice chair of Wolfpack Women in Philanthropy and a 1982 NC State alumna. “Women give to areas that they have a passion for or are going to make a difference or drive change.” The volunteer group has focused on several initiatives since its founding: 

  • Helping women find areas at NC State where they would like to give.
  • Educating boards on the importance of diverse board leadership.
  • Encouraging women to serve on boards.
  • Recognizing amazing women alumni of NC State who are changing the world.

The group also has participated in Day of Giving and Giving Tuesday, met with boards across the university and hosted webinars for women on different aspects of philanthropy. Lanier pointed to a $1 million gift from NC State alumni Dewayne and Adama Washington as an indicator that the group’s outreach efforts are gaining traction. “We want to educate women about the opportunities to give, the opportunities to engage and make a significant difference in philanthropy at NC State,” Lanier said.

For more information about Wolfpack Women in Philanthropy, send an email to or complete this form.

Women’s Center

The NC State Women’s Center will soon wrap up a five-month celebration of its 30 years of advocacy at NC State. Students led the initiative to create the center, and staff and faculty were instrumental in supporting and assisting students in realizing their vision. “A lot of the impetus for creating the Women’s Center was to address a need for folks who needed a space to go to that was theirs, where they could be their true and authentic selves and not be judged by other people,” said Janine Kossen, the center’s interim director. The Women Center’s purpose has evolved over the years to include advocacy for individuals of all identities, Kossen said. “It’s not just a space for women,” she said. “It’s a space for anyone who cares about the issues that we focus on.” The center’s programming is mainly for students, including its Feminist Friday discussions and its Take Back the Night event, a march, rally and speak-out against sexual violence. Kossen said the center’s student volunteers and workers are the reason why it continues to have a strong presence on campus three decades after its founding. “They keep us on our toes and keep our programming really fresh and exciting, and they know what’s going to work for their peers,” she said. “They know what excites folks in their generation.”

The Women’s Center welcomes staff and faculty volunteers and faculty lectures. For more information, send an email to