South Dakota State women honored at April Brooks Women of Distinction tea

WOD award winners 2015
The 2015 SDSU April Brooks Women of Distinction award winners are: from left, Lindsey Gerard, Claire Evans, Meredith Redlin and Linda Fawcett.

Forging ahead in trying times, making a career into a passion and giving without expectations are all attributes of the South Dakota State University 2015 April Brooks Women of Distinction.

Each year, four women at State are honored for their career dedication and promise for future. “It’s amazing to read the nomination and support letters and learn how these women have contributed to their careers, while overcoming difficulties and persevering in their lives,” said Elizabeth Tolman, Women’s Studies Coordinator.

April Brooks, who served as a professor and department head in history, political science, philosophy and religion, is credited for developing the Women’s Studies Program. She created the Women of Distinction awards to recognize female leaders at SDSU and celebrate their accomplishments each March during Women’s History Month. The award name change was formally announced at the March 19 ceremony to acknowledge Brooks’ significant contributions to the Women’s Studies Program at State.

The annual awards were presented to professional staff employee Lindsey Gerard, student Claire Evans, faculty member Meredith Redlin and civil service worker Linda Fawcett.

An exercise physiology graduate student, Evans helps women make personal health a priority. She works as a graduate administrative assistant for health and fitness programs at the Wellness Center.

Co-workers pegged Evans as a leader for the wellness community and driving force for clients—running alongside them, coaching and encouraging them the whole way—whether that is a 5K race or a long-term wellness program.

Evans cares about helping people of all ages. In 2012, she participated in a service-learning trip to Guyana, where she spent time assisting local families and children. Evans has assisted physical therapists and helped develop exercise and rehabilitation programs for clients.

During her time at State, Evans has organized and executed five wellness programs including Little Rabbits family events, Healthy Lifestyles Living and Learning Community, the annual indoor triathlon, junior fitness program and the Training, Nutrition, Transformation program.

Evans earned four national certifications, her most recent being the United States of America Weightlifting Sports Performance coach certification in 2015. She is also an advocate for the Gay Straight Alliance on campus and serves as a strong role model.

Evans will graduate from SDSU this spring, and start a strength and conditioning internship in Brisbane, Australia, in June.

Redlin is a sociology professor with a research agenda relating to rural community planning and development. She teaches the areas of rural community development, race, class and gender studies.

In her role as women’s studies coordinator, Redlin initiated a South Dakota women’s book project illustrating experiences of women living in South Dakota.

Her list of research grants, workshop presentations and publications show her commitment to her career, but co-workers said her energy, passion and advocacy for women on campus is unmatchable.

Redlin serves as Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance Community Development program adviser and is the South Dakota representative on the board of the Midwest Sociological Society. She received the Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Award from the Rural Sociological Society and participates in the SDSU Foundation Women and Giving group.

This summer, Redlin will teach in Slovenia, having won a second Erasmus Mundes Fellowship, a highly competitive program for scholarly exchange supported by the European Union.

Fawcett is a senior microbiologist in the veterinary and biomedical sciences department. She started in the Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Lab as a student worker in 1974.

Co-workers said it is not Fawcett’s longevity in the department that has provided her professional expertise, rather her dedicated effort to animal health. Co-workers noted Fawcett is a natural leader with a strong commitment to her career. She drives an hour to and from work every day in order to live near her children and grandchildren.

She works a second job and has overcome many medical challenges throughout the years. Fawcett leads the diagnostic serology section of the ADRDL and played a key role in the lab’s growth. She developed a unique system for receiving and testing blood samples to efficiently meet client needs. Fostering relationships with national livestock exporters has allowed Fawcett to bring thousands of blood samples, tests and revenue to the lab.

Co-workers said Fawcett excels in mentoring young women—not only teaching basic procedures, but also leading by example as a successful woman in the science field.

Gerard serves as iGrow technology coordinator for SDSU Extension, primarily overseeing the website and coordinating electronic publishing opportunities. Co-workers noted her deep understanding of marketing opportunities and challenges related to Extension.

Gerard was key in the development of the iGrow teaching platform for electronic delivery in 2011. While attending State, Gerard was working and raising her now 7-year-old son, Blaine. Coming from a close-knit family, Gerard also pulled through the loss of her mother and twin brother in 2008.

She mentors collegiate men and women, never refusing a request from an enthusiastic young person. She teaches young people how to embrace evolving technology in professional careers. Gerard was instrumental in revitalizing the 4-H Horse Safety program, co-creating the Youth HORSE (Horse Ownership Responsibility Safety and Education) training program that replaced the outdated curriculum.

Co-workers said Gerard handles her workload, regularly putting in more hours than expected. They said Gerard’s professional and personal determination helps her juggle the multitude of responsibilities her job requires.

The 2015 SDSU April Brooks Women of Distinction nominees and award winners, are, back row from left, Meredith Redlin, Kas Williams, Lynne O’Neill, Jenn Anderson, Claire Evans, Rebecca Phillips, Carey Kilmer, April Brooks, Renée Chandler and Linda Fawcett;front row, from left, Rachel Johnson, Lindsey Gerard, Barb Koenders and Louise Loban. Not pictured: Charlotte Davidson, April Eastman and Hande Briddick.


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