Congratulations to the 2017 Women’s Leadership Institute Scholarship Recipients!

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We would like to congratulate the winners of the 2017 Women’s Leadership Institute Scholarship. We are very pleased to announce this year’s scholarship recipients:

Helene A. Cameron, Director of Advising, Career and Transfer Services, College of Southern Maryland 

Helene A. Cameron, is currently the Director of Advising, Career and Transfer Services at the College of Southern Maryland a multi-campus two year institution serving approximately 27,000 students (12,000 credit students, 15,000 continuing education) in the Charles, St. Mary’s and Calvert, tri-county region.  Prior to joining CSM in 2014 she spent 16 years within the University of North Carolina System in leadership roles.  Helene received the Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and the Masters of Business Administration both from Hampton University and is a Doctoral PhD student (ABD) in the Leadership Studies program at North Carolina A & T State University.

Dena Freeman-Patton, Deputy Athletics Director, California State University, Bakersfield

Deputy Athletics Director Dena Freeman-Patton heads into her fifth year at California State University, Bakersfield. With 20 years of collegiate athletics administration experience, she serves as the second in command and sport administrator for women’s basketball, men’s soccer, softball and men’s and women’s swimming and diving. Freeman-Patton also oversees departmental units including the Kegley Center for Student Success, sports medicine and strength and conditioning and the `Runner Varsity Club for alumni student-athletes. Prior to CSUB, Freeman-Patton served on the department’s senior staff and was the sport supervisor for women’s soccer at Georgia State University (2007-2013). She also held positions at the University of Maryland, College Park (2005-2007) and North Carolina State University (2002-2005).

Amy Sueyoshi, Associate Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University

Amy Sueyoshi is Associate Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University, the first and only college in the nation that houses the five departments of Africana Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Latina/o Studies, and Race and Resistance Studies.  She holds a Ph.D. in history from University of California, Los Angeles and a B.A. from Barnard College of Columbia University. She oversees the curriculum and program development of four majors, six minors, two M.A. programs, and a post-baccalaureate certificate. She serves 80 full time and part time faculty who teach up to 8,000 students each semester. Amy’s research interests lie primarily in Asian American and queer studies. She is the author of Queer Compulsions published in 2012 with University of Hawai’I Press. Her second book titled Discriminating Sex: White Leisure and the Making of the American “Oriental” will be out in March 2018 with University of Illinois Press. Amy is also a co-curator and founding member of the GLBT History Museum, the first queer history museum in the United States and the recipient of the Willie Walker Award for service for the GLBT Historical Society.  This year San Francisco Pride honored Amy as a Community Grand Marshal.

Sherell Wilson, District-Based Administrator, Hillsborough County Public School

As a first-generation college graduate and career educator, Dr. Sherell Wilson’s mission and passion are to serve the underserved with a focus on the high-achieving, low-income student. For over twenty years she has served K-16 education in Hillsborough County Public Schools, Hillsborough Community College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, and Duval County Public Schools.

Her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from University of Phoenix added to her Master’s in Educational Leadership and Bachelor’s in Exceptional Student Education, both from University of North Florida. Her 2014 doctoral dissertation, Enrollment Continuation Needs of High-Achieving, Low-Income (HALI) Students in Community Colleges contributes to research on HALI students.

In 2015, she disseminated research findings through presentations at the 9th annual Black, Brown, and College Bound Summit as well as the Educational Strategies and Student Engagement Institute. She published a 2016 article entitled Lack of Persistence in College and the HALI Student in The Community College Enterprise, a peer-reviewed research journal. In 2017, she submitted an award-winning research grant proposal to NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education to conduct a comparative study.

Mary Silentwalker, Director of Admissions, Institute of American Indian Arts

Mary Silentwalker is San Felipe Pueblo and Navajo and is the Director of Admissions at the Institute of American Indian Arts, a Tribal College focused in the Fine Arts located in Santa Fe, NM.  She has 14 years of experience in higher education and has a sincere passion to provide higher education opportunities to American Indian communities. Previously, Mary has worked in various areas of student affairs and support for large public universities to non-profit community education programs. She earned her baccalaureate degree  from Arizona State University and continued to also earn a Master’s in Higher and Post-Secondary Education.  With her experience, Mary is excited to continue growing as a leader in education to further empower students to be successful in their educational journey.


Congratulations to all of you!

Ellen Heffernan

President - Spelman Johnson

Ellen Heffernan graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in economics and government. She joined Spelman Johnson in 1996, after a ten-year career in higher education that included positions at Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also a national speaker and writer on topics related to recruiting and professional development in higher education and serves as faculty for several national higher education association professional development programs. Ellen also currently serves on the executive board of the National Association of Executive Recruiters.