Brandywine’s Commission for Women holds annual awards luncheon

Brandywine’s Commission for Women Luncheon

From left to right: Brandywine Chancellor Kristin Woolever stands alongside Haleigh Swansen, recipient of the student woman of the year award; Joanna McGowan, recipient of the the faculty/staff member woman of the year award; and guest speaker Kathy Stone, executive director of the Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County. 

Credit: Mike McDade

MEDIA, Pa. — Penn State Brandywine’s Commission for Women held its annual awards luncheon on March 31. The yearly event serves as a capstone to the campus’s celebration of women’s history month and an opportunity to recognize a female faculty or staff member and a female student for their outstanding contributions to the campus and the community.

Joanna McGowan, campus registrar, received the faculty/staff member woman of the year honor.

In addition to her duties managing course schedules, academic records and student registration, McGowan has served as president and treasurer of the regional professional association for registrars and admission officers.

She is the mother of three children, one of whom has been diagnosed with autism. McGowan has been active with the Pennsylvania chapter of Talk About Curing Autism, serving as a volunteer and parent mentor. She also is a volunteer with her church’s ministry for persons with disabilities and maintains a website and blog on family health and wellness issues.

Senior English major and Schreyer Honors Scholar Haleigh Swansen received the student woman of the year award.

She is president of the Nittany Christian Fellowship, a member of the musicians’ collaborative club, and a Legacy Leader for the campus development office.  She has coordinated voter registration drives and supported several campus marketing initiatives.

As a freshman, Swansen collaborated with Hans Schmidt, assistant professor of communication at Penn State Brandywine, to research how journalists cover female athletes, and she is now completing her honors thesis on how the game of life has evolved over time to reflect changes in society.

Kathy Stone, executive director of the Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County, spoke at the luncheon about her personal experience as a survivor of abuse. She shared statistics about the number of women, men and children who are victims of abuse and outlined warning signs of an abusive relationship.

Members of the Brandywine Commission for Women are co-chairs Susan Fredricks and Theresa Walls along with Sandra Lawrence and Maureen Fielding.