As members of WLI, we want to acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments (big
or small) here on this “WLI Women in the News” page and social media via our private
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We encourage you to share your achievements or those of fellow WLI members. News
may include an announcement of a new position, award, professional collaboration,
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Renée Nicholson’s professional training in ballet had both moments of magnificence
and moments of torment, from fittings of elaborate platter tutus to strange language
barriers and unrealistic expectations of the body. In Fierce and Delicate, she looks back on the often confused and driven self she had been shaped into—always
away from home, with friends who were also rivals, influenced by teachers in
ways sometimes productive and at other times bordering on sadistic—and finds
beauty in the small roles she performed. When, inevitably, Nicholson moved on
from dancing, severed from her first love by illness, she discovered that she
retained the lyricism and narrative of ballet itself as she negotiated life with
Jessica Deshler grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico surrounded by family members,
and knew she would stay close to her roots while pursuing and education. Her family’s
roots begin in Central Texas and in the lands of Northern New Mexico
since before the land was part of the US. She knew she would study mathematics
from an early age, having some amazing opportunities in middle and high school
to pursue creative mathematics. She earned her undergraduate degree from New Mexico
Institute of Mining and Technology, and her graduate degrees from the University
of New Mexico, all in Mathematics. All 4 of her children were born while she was
in graduate school, and she uses this experience to advocate for mathematics students
who also want to begin their families. She is now Professor of Mathematics, and
Graduate Program Director at West Virginia University, where she is only the third
woman, and is the first Hispanic faculty member to be fully promoted. She spent
2015-2016 as a US Fulbright Scholar in Hungary, where she provided professional
development to international doctoral students.
The gap in training for teachers related to the opioid crisis’ effect on students is being filled by a West Virginia University partnership that will develop and distribute materials to help the state’s teachers support their students who have family members with substance use disorders.
Black infants die at almost twice the rate of white infants in West Virginia, a statistic nursed by racism and other adverse circumstances not only in the state, but across the nation. West Virginia UniversitySchool of Public Health professor Lauri Andress is studying how chronic stress from living with racism and discrimination can lead to poorer health outcomes for Black mothers and their babies.