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Women to Be Honored at KSC Awards Banquet

March 15, 2006

KEENE, N.H. 3/17/06 - Four women will be recognized with Outstanding Women of New Hampshire awards on Thursday, March 30, at the 16th annual Women’s History Month Celebration at Keene State College. KSC President Helen Giles-Gee will present awards to women representing the Keene State student body, the Keene State faculty, the Monadnock region, and the state of New Hampshire.

The theme for this year’s event, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Mabel Brown Room of the Student Center, is "Women: Builders of Communities and Dreams." For additional information and reservations, call 603-358-2111.

The President’s Outstanding Women of New Hampshire Awards are based on exceptional service and leadership, especially in the area of equality for women. This year’s recipients:

Kristen E. Iodice will receive the award given to a KSC student. Iodice, currently serving as student body president during her senior year, was no stranger to community service when she began her college career. During high school in Meriden, Conn. She worked in an after-school program at a daycare facility, helping children from five to 14 years old with homework, creating arts and crafts projects with them, and playing games. In her second year at KSC she received the Outstanding Sophomore Leadership and Service Award and has received numerous other accolades, including the Marion Whalen Memorial Scholarship for Academic and Community Service every year since 2002. In addition to being a mainstay in student government organizations, Iodice is a math coach for fifth-grade students and works in the Student Center.

Janaki Natarajan Tschannerl will receive the award given to a College faculty or staff member. Born to Brahmin parents in Bangalore, South India, she followed the lead of her mother, Saraswathi Natarajan, in devoting herself to helping the poor and oppressed. Dr. Tschannerl’s mother, at the suggestion of Mahatma Gandhi, founded the Bapagrama Educational Center in Bangalore to educate the Dalit caste, the most oppressed in Hindu society. Thanks to Dr. Tschannerl’s tireless efforts, Bapagrama is still thriving, a free, inter-caste, coeducational, secular school for the rural poor. Dr. Tschannerl raises funds for the school and spends every summer there, bringing a steady stream of KSC students and faculty with her. In addition to teaching at Keene State, she also works with public schools on race and class issues. Her multicultural perspective has helped shape Keene State’s World Educational Links program, which leads to a master’s degree in education with a focus on social justice.

JoAnn Fenton will receive the award for a woman from the Monadnock region. Fenton’s active volunteer role in community life takes her from the Community Kitchen to the YMCA, from visiting inmates at the prison to consoling family members on hospice calls, from organizing the Holly Fair at her church to doing long-range planning for Catholic Charities of New Hampshire. As an outreach minister at St. Mary Margaret Catholic Church in Keene, Fenton puts her faith into action. She also serves as a member of the Diocese of Manchester Pastoral Council, giving the Keene church a greater voice for local concerns, and has been a catechist and served in many other roles.

Rebecca L. Lawrence will receive the award for a woman representing the State of New Hampshire. Lawrence is now in her third four-year term as director of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, the state’s official arts agency. She has steered the Council through difficult financial times, convincing the State to fund initiatives that tie both traditional and contemporary arts directly to communities. One such program, ArtLinks, creates community/school partnerships that expand and deepen opportunities in the arts for 12- to 19-year-olds. Experienced in television and video art and an accomplished writer, she brings her own artistic gifts to enhance her leadership skills. Throughout her tenure, she has been a tireless champion for the arts.