Support for Young Leaders

Women in Leadership & Philanthropy celebrates its Faculty Research Award recipient and scholarship awardees.


Scholarship winners gathered for a photograph at the WLP Annual Awards Dinner. Photos: Barbara Melendez | USF News


By Barbara Melendez

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (April 25, 2013) – University of South Florida’s Women in Leadership and Philanthropy held its Annual Awards Dinner earlier this month in the USF Alumni Center to recognize outstanding achievement and announce the recipients of some of the university’s most prestigious scholarships.


Members of WLP, supporters and donors joined USF President Judy Genshaft, former USF President Betty Castor, and 28 of this year’s 38 scholarship recipients for a reception which was followed by dinner and the awards ceremony. Also on hand were several USF faculty members to celebrate the 2013 Faculty Research Award recipient Grisselle Centeno. 


The USF System Women in Leadership & Philanthropy Faculty Research Award supports recipients continued work and they also receive an honorary lifetime membership in the organization. 


Centeno, an associate professor in the College of Engineering, began her tenure at USF in 2001 as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering and in six years advanced to her present position.


“She is a highly regarded faculty member and leads a USF interdisciplinary team of talented individuals,” said the WLP member who introduced her, Lagretta Lenker.


“She has worked with her colleagues in the Departments of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Health Policy, Moffitt and the Morsani College of Medicine to propose NIH and NSF grants in recruiting and retaining women in the fields of science and engineering. And imagine, she conducts this work in a USF college with a ratio of 49 male to two female professors. She wants those odds to be better. Centeno has served as the mentor, advisor or committee member for over 100 female students and is an excellent role model for female students in engineering.”


Her generosity is well-known and continues with this award.


“She intends to use the WLP research award to provide female students with strategies to overcome potential challenges and struggles they may encounter while in school or in their future careers,” Lenker explained.


Thanking WLP and those in attendance, Centeno said women in engineering “want not just to be equal but to bring different perspectives to the field,” as women identify needs and invent products and restructure processes.


Two students received special recognition during the April 4 event, Geornesia Moses, a junior who received the WLP/Sandra Skinner Scholarship, established by former WLP Chair and member, Michele Norris and her husband, Randy; and Caitlin Monaghan, who received the WLP/Elsie A. Moore Memorial Scholarship established by Associate Vice President Kathleen Moore, a WLP member, in memory of her mother.


Juniors Moses and Monaghan delighted the audience with their remarks. Moses has plans to start her own university someday and Monaghan has the distinction of having overcome serious health challenges that brought her to USF’s campus as a patient and ultimately as a student. Both have strong academic backgrounds and are involved in numerous community activities. 


Moses is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and is already practicing her teaching skills as a tutor with the Tutor-A-Bull Program. She also mentors high school girls in her community.  


Monaghan is president of Students Protecting the Environment and Animals through Knowledge and has been an active Girl Scout since the age of seven. She is approaching 15 years of involvement once earning the honor of top cookie seller, having sold over 2,000 boxes.


During the evening WLP Chair Karen Dalton provided an update on the organization.


“Because of the shared vision of WLP members as well as members of the USF community WLP achieved quite a bit over the past seven years since the organization was founded in 2005,” she said.


She also pointed to WLP’s distribution of more than $150,000 in student scholarship awards and $35,000 in $5,000 annual system-wide grants to USF faculty members for research on women and on issues affecting women. 


The program’s mission is to engage and educate visionary leaders and philanthropists to make a difference for women throughout the USF System and community.


The WLP program creates bonds among students, faculty and each other and helps develop the next generation of women leaders,” Dalton said.  “And I’m thrilled to say that our membership has increased 300 percent since we started, most of that in the past year.”


The program’s endowment now exceeds $500,000 and supports a variety of events for WLP members as well as the broader community, including the much anticipated Annual Fall Symposium. It has featured notable guest speakers such as historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, choreographer Twyla Tharp and newswoman Campbell Brown. This year’s speaker will be New York Times bestselling author, political analyst and commentator Dee Dee Myers who will appear at the Sun Dome Oct. 24. Her topic is “Why Women Should Rule the World.”


Among the scholarships awarded were: the Bank of America Scholarship, the Berkman Family Scholarship, the Linda Blume Award, the Dream Givers USA Scholarship, the Deborah Eves Memorial Scholarship, the First Generation Scholarship, the Elsie A. Moore Memorial Scholarship, the Esther Schneid Memorial Scholarship, Sandra Skinner Scholarship, the Tampa Palms Women’s Club Scholarship and the WLP Endowed Scholarship.  All are funded by WLP Members.


WLP Scholarship Recipients in Attendance


Bank of America Scholarship

(funded by WLP Member Sheau-Lei Ellison)

Angelica Shorey


Berkman Family Scholarship

(funded by WLP Member Suzette Berkman)

Madeline Glassman

Alexandria Salmieri


Linda Blume Award

(funded by WLP Member Linda Blume)

Andrea Lypka


Dream Givers USA Scholarship

(funded by WLP Member Keri Gawrych and Dr. Vincent Zecchino)

Deanndra Burrowes

Alexis Frederick


Deborah Eaves Memorial Scholarship

(funded by WLP Member Paula Eaves)

Christina Marino

Jasper Masciocchi

Katrina Stine


First Generation Scholarship

(presented on behalf of WLP Membership)

Shanice Anderson

Jeanette Bravo

Grace Chirinos

Alyssa Johnson

Vanisaben Patel

Stachyse Stanis

Nicole Taylor


Elsie A. Moore Memorial Scholarship

(funded by WLP Member Kathleen Moore)

Caitlin Monaghan

Kelsey Magolan


National Mah Jongg League Foundation Inc. Scholarship

(funded by WLP Life Time Member)

Emily Greer

Abigail Grimmett


Esther Schneid Memorial Scholarship

(funded by WLP Member Nancy Schneid)

Indira Ranaweera


Sandra Skinner Scholarship

(funded by WLP Member Michele Norris)

Brooke Behrsin

Savannah Drescher

Geornesia Moses


Tampa Palms Women’s Club Scholarship

Lisa Bejos

Judy Gonzalez


WLP Endowed Scholarship

(presented on behalf of WLP Membership)

Theresa Novak

Ashley Parcels


WLP Scholarship Recipients Not in Attendance:


Bank of America Scholarship

Hollie Driscoll


First Generation Scholarship

Kellene Anderson

Michelle Baldwin

Alta Joseph

Gabrielle Klatt

Antinica Knowles


Elsie A. Moore Memorial


Kristin Pearce


Sandra Skinner Scholarship

Samantha Hotchkiss

Melissa Reeves


WLP Endowed Scholarship

Kelsey Shook


Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563.