Skip Navigation
#1 in New Hampshire for Affordability and Employment

President's Annual Outstanding Women of NH Awards

2024 Call For Nominations

In honor of Women’s History Month, Keene State College recognizes outstanding women. This year’s theme, “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion,” recognizes women in New Hampshire who understand the importance of eliminating bias and discrimination from our lives and institutions.

Today, the desire for equity, diversity and inclusion is a powerful driving force. As members of families, civic and community groups, businesses and legislative bodies, women are in the forefront of reevaluating the status quo. They are looking anew at what harmful social policies and behaviors exist and, often subtly, impact human experience. In response, women in communities across the nation, including locally and in New Hampshire, are helping to develop innovative programs and projects within corporations, the military, federal agencies, and educational organizations to address and rectify injustices.

It takes courage for women to advocate for practical goals like equity, diversity and inclusion when established forces aim to misinterpret, exploit, or discredit them. We honor women who have taken the lead to show the importance of change and to establish firmer safeguards, practices and legislation reflecting these values.

We will honor awardees in four categories: Keene State Student, Keene State Faculty or Staff, Greater Monadnock Region, and State of New Hampshire. An on-campus celebration to recognize honorees is Thursday, March 28.

Please click on the NOMINATE link below to submit a nomination.


The deadline to submit a nomination is Friday, January 19th, at noon.

Below is a brief overview of the 2023 honorees.

State of New Hampshire Awardee

Melanie Plenda, Director, Granite State News Collaborative

Melanie Plenda
Melanie Plenda

Plenda is an award-winning writer, publishing for local and national outlets such as the Keene Sentinel,, The, Boston Globe Magazine, the Daily Beast, the New Republic, New Hampshire Public Radio, and She co-authored the book New Hampshire: First in the Nation, and she has worked as a freelance producer for NH Public Radio.

She hosts a series called The State We’re In for NH Public Television and serves on the board of the NH Press Association and the New England Newspaper and Press Association.

Plenda is also director of the Granite State News Collaborative, a statewide multimedia news collaborative that draws on and amplifies the strengths of its members to expand and add missing dimensions to coverage of issues of concern to the NH public. The Collaborative pursues inclusive and responsive coverage that builds public trust and holds government accountable to its citizens and provides communities the vital information they need.

Monadnock Region Awardees

(Please note, the selection committee chose two honorees for this recognition.)

Cecily Weisburgh, Co-Executive Editor, The Keene Sentinel

Cecily Weisburgh
Cecily Weisburgh

Weisburgh joined the Keene Sentinel as a general assignment reporter in 2001 and assumed increasing editing and leadership roles, including her promotion to Co-Executive Editor for the newspaper in 2022. Weisburgh and colleague Anika Clark are the first women to head the Sentinel’s newsroom in its almost 225 years.

Weisburgh is regarded as a thoughtful, caring team leader; a wonderful wordsmith and storyteller, no matter the medium; and a top-notch frontline copy editor. She has developed a deep appreciation for and encyclopedic knowledge of the region, its institutions, and its people, which immeasurably strengthen and add important context to the paper’s reporting and its community journalism.

She launched the Sentinel’s weekday digital newsletter, which now has close to 7,000 subscribers, and she exposed the newsroom to Trusting News, a series of principles grounded in transparency that help journalists earn more trust from readers.

Weisburgh is an advocate for reporters getting out into the community, not just to cover the news, but to introduce themselves to residents, thereby strengthening connection to readers.

Jennifer Carroll, Education Director, Cheshire Historical Society

Jennifer Carroll
Jennifer Carroll

In her role as Director of Education at the Historical Society of Cheshire County, Carroll coordinates more than 150 public programs each year.

As a dynamic speaker and educator, she performs the crucial task of telling stories about our collective past, forging connections with the present, and making the work of academics and scholars available and relevant to the community. Carroll brings to life the realities of marginalized groups left out of mainstream histories.

She is leading the citizen archivist project “Recovering Black History in the Monadnock Region.” The project seeks to acknowledge and enhance understanding of black history and the history of marginalized groups in the region and the state.

Her research and that of the citizen-scholars she coordinates has brought to light evidence of enslaved persons of color having lived in almost 60 percent of Cheshire County communities, including Keene.

Staff/Faculty Awardee

Dr. Marianne Salcetti, Faculty Emeritus, Keene State College

Dr. Marianne Salcetti
Dr. Marianne Salcetti

As a journalist, Dr. Salcetti has spent her entire professional career telling the stories of her community. As a professor, she spent nearly two decades at Keene State College teaching students how to become storytellers.

Throughout her career, she has been honored by her peers for outstanding reporting and teaching excellence. Her teaching and reporting have made meaningful and lasting change in her community. Dr. Salcetti earned national and international awards for her work with student journalists. In 2020, she received the prestigious Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications First Amendment Award, and in 2021, she received an award from the New England First Amendment Coalition for “Outstanding Journalism and Open Government Advocacy”.

These three awards recognized her role in what began as a JRN 330 Public Affairs Reporting class assignment and ended in a landmark New Hampshire Supreme Court case that is reshaping “Right to Know” laws in the state.

Her efforts have shaped the lives of hundreds of students and reached beyond the classroom to impact the lives of the people of New Hampshire through her students’ reporting, and through her efforts to expand access to public information.

Student Awardee

Caitlin Howard ‘23, Administrative Executive Editor, The Equinox

Caitlin Howard ‘23
Caitlin Howard ‘23

When Howard joined the executive board of The Equinox, Keene State’s student-run newspaper, in 2021, she took the helm of the Arts and Entertainment section. She demonstrated a knack for leadership with her positive attitude and her collaborative approach with staff reporters.

In her coverage of the college’s arts scene – theater, dance, design and music – Howard took a student-centered approach. She wrote feature stories and profiles about the college’s students and their talents. Her writing about clubs or organizations is always community and service-centered.

In the Spring of last year, The Equinox did not have the staff to put out a consistent printed newspaper and had to move to a fully digital delivery. Howard and her small team focused on writing features and profiles to put Keene State students back into focus to make it known that the Equinox was a place for students to tell their stories.

Past Recipients

  • Ms. Kirsten Durzy, 2022
  • Ms. Mary E. Curtin Pierce, 2022
  • Dr. Jeanelle Boyer, 2022
  • Ms. Sara Getchell, 2022
  • Ms. Tricia J. Zahn, 2022
  • Ms. Lisa Beaudoin, 2021 
  • Dr. Denise Burchsted, 2021
  • Ms. Demitria Kirby, 2021
  • Ms. Emma Manderville, 2021
  • Victoria Bergstrom, 2020
  • Judy Reed, 2020
  • Patty Little, 2020
  • Liz Tentarelli, 2020
  • Briae Robillard, 2019
  • Therese Seibert, 2019
  • Sandra Wallace, 2019
  • Eva Castillo, 2019
  • Puja Thapa, 2018
  • Benajil Rai, 2018
  • US Representative Ann McLane Kuster, 2018
  • Patricia Pedroza Gonzalez, 2018
  • Jill Bassett, 2018
  • Marisa Benson, 2017
  • Barbara Couch, 2017
  • Ellen Moynihan, 2017
  • Katie Schwerin, 2017
  • Alyssa DeMarco, 2016
  • Kya Roumimper, 2016
  • Renate Gebauer, 2016
  • Kathy Harrington, 2016
  • Kerrianne Thomas, 2015
  • PeggyRae Johnson, 2015
  • Sarah MacKenzie Hoskins, 2015
  • Terie Norelli, 2015
  • Marty Sink, 2014
  • Johanna DeBari, 2014
  • Mary Kelly, 2014
  • Mary Ellen Fleeger, 2014 
  • Deena Snoke, 2013
  • Loren Launen, 2013
  • Yvonne Goldsberry, 2013
  • Trinidad Tellez, 2013 
  • Melinda Feola-Mahar, 2012
  • Nona Fienberg, 2012
  • Dorian Petranech, 2012
  • Mary Ellen Jackson, 2012 
  • Jaime Contois, 2011
  • Kristin Mehalik, 2011
  • Norma W. Walker, 2011
  • Jean Whitcomb, 2011 
  • Suzette Borden, 2010
  • Jane Difley, 2010
  • Susan Margraf, 2010
  • Jaclyn Vehlies, 2010 
  • Mary Jensen, 2009
  • Bonnie Riley, 2009
  • Rachel Rouillard, 2009
  • Annelies Spykman, 2009 
  • Jan Cohen, 2008
  • Juliana Eades, 2008
  • Jahel Ghanbari, 2008
  • Dottie Morris, 2008 
  • Darya A. Bushmakin, 2007
  • Jessica Cadorette, 2007
  • Susan Hay, 2007
  • Karen Jennings, 2007
  • Karol A. LaCroix, 2007 
  • JoAnn C. Fenton, 2006
  • Kristin Iodice, 2006
  • Rebecca Lawrence, 2006
  • Janaki N. Tschannerl, 2006 
  • Roberta Barry, 2005
  • Mary Maysark-Stavely, 2005
  • Valerie Nettleton, 2005
  • Susan B. Newcomer, 2005 
  • Valerie Cunningham, 2004
  • Maria Dintino, 2004
  • Ruth Ewing, 2004
  • Eliza Sieswerda, 2004 
  • Beverly Ferrucci, 2003
  • Nancy Frankel, 2003
  • Renee Pederson, 2003
  • Jane Shapiro, 2003 
  • Jean Nelson, 2002 
  • Celena Chickering, 2002 
  • Jan Youga, 2002 
  • Linda Baker, 2001 
  • Deborah Croteau, 2001 
  • Kathy Eneguess, 2001 
  • Jessie Gannett, 2001 
  • Delina R. Hickey, 2000 
  • Nancy Lory, 2000 
  • Michelle Scott, 2000 
  • Eileen Sylvia, 2000 
  • Mary Elizabeth Alther, 1999 
  • Anne Meyers, 1999 
  • Susan Whittemore, 1999 
  • Tamara Zimmerman, 1998
  • Carrye Sculthorpe, 1998 
  • Sandra Jean Whippie, 1998 
  • Dorothy A. Bauer, 1997 
  • Jessica Lewis, 1997 
  • Maureen O’Brien, 1997 
  • Nancy Ryan, 1997 
  • Darcie Boyer, 1996 
  • Cotton M. Cleveland, 1996
  • Katherine McLaughlin, 1996 
  • Judith Perry, 1996 
  • Beth DeAnna, 1995 
  • Patricia Rich, 1995 
  • Jeanne Shaheen, 1995 
  • Karen Wagner, 1995 
  • Rebecca D. Brown, 1994 
  • Dawn M. Henry, 1994 
  • Dorothy F. Kingsbury, 1994 
  • Anne-Marie Mallon, 1994 
  • Margaret Clemons, 1993 
  • Mary Louise Hancock, 1993 
  • Theresa Riddle, 1993 
  • Kim Schmidl-Gagne, 1993 
  • Anne Williams Sprague, 1993 
  • Patricia Gallup, 1993 
  • Mildred M. Horton, 1992 
  • Roxanne Kreyling, 1992 
  • Leslie Loberant, 1992 
  • Mona Norfleet, 1992 
  • Gertrude Pearson, 1992 
  • Alice Irwin, 1991 
  • Merle Larracey, 1991 
  • Cricket LaStrada, 1991 
  • Erin Nugent, 1991 
  • Rosamond Putnam, 1991

Contact Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Dottie Morris
Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
☎ 603-358-2206
Hale Building 103A
Mailstop: M/S 1501