33 Inspiring Women of Rollins

In honor of Women’s History month, Rollins360 readers honor women in our academic community who are making a difference and who inspire others to do the same.

(Top left to right: Mamta Accapadi, Vidhu Aggarwal, Adrianne Benso. Middle left to right: Rita Bornstein, Barbara Carson, Jennifer Cavenaugh. Bottom left to right: Sara Christovich, Lindsay Clark, Hanna Cody) (Top left to right: Mamta Accapadi, Vidhu Aggarwal, Adrianne Benso. Middle left to right: Rita Bornstein, Barbara Carson, Jennifer Cavenaugh. Bottom left to right: Sara Christovich, Lindsay Clark, Hanna Cody)

Mamta Accapadi
Vice President for Student Affairs

“Dr. Accapadi works tirelessly as the leader of the Student Affairs division. A true servant leader, she leads the division with grace and strength as she navigates the student climate and culture at Rollins. The well-being of our students is her top priority. She allows individuals to lead with strength, develops them, and then trusts them to lead in an authentic manner in order to be in constant relationship with the individuals we serve.” — Oriana Jimenez ’07MHR ’10MBA, Title IX coordinator

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Vidhu Aggarwal
Associate Professor of English

“She’s an inspiring woman in the classroom, in the Rollins community, and in the larger community. She organized a wonderful workshop and event for the campus—with Bhanu Kapil and Ronaldo V. Wilson—that was as well attended and as much talked about as any event this year. She published a book this year and was published in the Great Indian Poetry Collective. She was also published in Norton’s Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond. She is also on the executive board of Thinking Its Presence: Race, Advocacy, Solidarity in the Arts and worked with John Sims Projects on “The 13 Flag Funerals” in Florida and here at Rollins.” — Jill Jones, professor of English

“In the classroom, Dr. Aggarwal pushes students to see how the society we live in stems from a colonial and neocolonial history and then she introduces us to writers whose works shift power dynamics. She chooses really empowering texts, and I’m always inspired when I leave the classroom. For her creative writing classes, she also gives us a lot of free reign in order to discover our own personal writing styles, guiding us when she sees intervention as necessary.” — Amanda Borja ’16

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Adrianne Benso ’04 ’11MA
Assistant Director of Residential Life and Explorations

“Adrianne is the heart of Rollins. She is beloved by everyone who knows her. She’s a role model in her humility, kindness, and ability to empathize deeply. She recently became a parent in partnership with the foster care system. The difference she has made in the lives of these little boys over the course of several months is simply astounding. She is making a clear impact in these boys’ lives and showing students through her actions that they can do the same. I cannot think of a better instance of leading and teaching by example. Through this new journey, Adrianne retained her deep innate ability to make people, students, or otherwise feel cared for. Is that not the most basic human need?  — Kelsey Uhl ’15

“There is no better way to describe Adrianne than maternal and magnetic. I have witnessed everyone on her staff come to her for comfort, quality time, support, and advice. All of which, I feel completely comfortable going to her for myself. She is a person who gives all of herself to everyone else, all day every day. She is a free spirit, animal lover, a foster parent, and an amazing friend. And above all, she is family to anyone who needs it.” — Amanda Wolters, administrative assistant of Residential Life & Explorations

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Rita Bornstein ’04H
President Emerita

“Rita is very strong on women’s issues.” — Peg Jarnigan, former associate professor

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Barbara Carson
Retired Professor

“Barbara is now retired by is still making a huge difference at Rollins through the Reflective Teaching program that she developed and is currently leading. She is a role model for many of us. Through her dedication to teaching and helping others master the art of teaching, she has inspired and helped generations of teachers at Rollins. She is a wonderful human being, teacher, and mentor who cares deeply about the people she is mentoring and about her profession. Many of my colleagues, myself included, are extremely grateful to Barbara and hope that she will continue the program that she has been leading for years here at Rollins.” — Anca Voicu, associate professor of economics

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Jennifer Cavenaugh
Interim Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

“There are absolutely no words that truly describe the love, passion, and dedication that Jenny exudes into her work each day! I have been honored and privileged to partner with her and co-teach with her on a regular basis, and each moment I spend with her, I recognize how lucky Rollins is to have this amazing woman as part of our institution. She has mentored many of us, guided us through journeys, cried with us, taught us how to navigate the systems and structures of higher education, and exudes empathy, compassion, and mentorship. She is an amazing woman, dean, friend, colleague, ally, and advocate.” — Meredith Hein, director of the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement

“Jenny works every day to make Rollins a better place. She strives to ensure excellence in the classroom, while at the same time focusing on treating all staff, faculty, and students with respect and care. I can think of no one who has inspired me more.” — Claire Strom, professor of history

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Sara Christovich
Associate Director of the Center for Inclusion and Campus Involvement

“Sara works diligently alongside student organizations and Student Government Association to create incredible leadership and learning opportunities. She is a positive and kind role model, and I’m so grateful to learn from her at Rollins, which is because we share an office. She makes me look forward to coming to work every morning.” — Abby Hollern, director of the Center for Inclusion and Campus Involvement

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Lindsay Clark ’11 ’15MBA
Associate Director of Admission

“Lindsay is extremely dedicated to her work in Admission. She cares about each and every student and works hard to ensure that they have a great college admission experience. She constantly goes beyond the call of duty to follow up and make sure that her students are getting the attention they need from Rollins. Lindsay is a pillar of strength in the office and is always willing to drop what she’s doing to help others when they need it.” — Brooke Pankau ’14, admission counselor

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Hanna Cody ’16
Student

“Hanna has spent her four years at Rollins working to make the campus a better place. She has been a peer mentor twice, acclimating first-year students to the Rollins environment and supporting them however she can. Her sophomore year, she took on the task of creating her own major and will be the only member of the Class of 2016 to graduate with it. She also enrolled in the Honor’s Degree Program. Her thesis topic on campus sexual assault has pushed her to become closely involved with the Office of the Title IX Coordinator. She is also involved with the Lucy Cross Center for Women & Their Allies. She actively works to create a better future for fellow women, whether on campus or beyond, and through her efforts in the nonprofit and government sectors, she is a role model to many and demonstrates how to tackle systemic social issues with grace and poise.” — Amanda Borja ’16

(Top left to right: Lori Coffae, Alexandria Crawford, Leslie Fair. Middle left to right: Mae Fitchett, Ann Francis, Meredith Hein. Bottom left to right: Connie Holt, Meribeth Huebner, Nicole Inclan) (Top left to right: Lori Coffae, Alexandria Crawford, Leslie Fair. Middle left to right: Mae Fitchett, Ann Francis, Meredith Hein. Bottom left to right: Connie Holt, Meribeth Huebner, Nicole Inclan)

Lori Coffae
Lecturer of English

“She goes above and beyond what it means to be an educator. She is constantly giving thoughtful feedback to her students and making time to sit and discuss with her students any concerns they may have. Her class is a joy to attend and has re-defined what a classroom should be like—interactive and inspiring.” — Danielle del Pico

“Dr. Coffae made me feel important, empowered, and strong on my first day of my first semester at Rollins. She shows her care and support and is always only a tweet away. It doesn’t matter what you need or what questions you have—she’s there for you. She has helped me to be stronger in life, confident with my voice, and expressive with written words. Her impact on my life will be for forever.” — Stephanie Kou ’17

“She is one of the few professors I enjoy seeing on a daily basis, and she makes college real life and fun. She inspires me to do my absolute best in her class, not because I enjoy the topic, but because she makes me want to do better.” — Mark Estorino ’17

“Dr. Coffae is an incredible advocate for her students, both in and out of the classroom. She is also an advocate for the Holt School, promoting communication and connection through her “Coffae Talk” event and other outreach opportunities. She’s a stellar example for her female students and colleagues and creates an atmosphere of togetherness. Her positive ‘can do’ attitude makes her an example to the female student body. Both ambitions and creative, Dr. Coffae is a name known throughout campus as a wonderful woman leader.” — Kylee Logan

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Alexandria Crawford ’16
Student

“Alexandria was one of the most crucial creators of the panel on Macklemore and Allyship at this year’s Summit on Transforming Learning. She was also an inspiration for the women of color group formed by the Lucy Cross Center for Women & Their Allies this year and has been a consistent member of that group. Alexandria’s articulate and consistent advocacy for racial justice (around her theater schedule), and her willingness to articulate difficult issues is impressive. She is one of Rollins’ many inspiring women.”  — Jill Jones, professor of English

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Mary Edwards
Manager of Landscape & Grounds

“Rollins is known for its beautiful campus and our entire facilities team does a masterful job of consistently maintaining. I’m especially inspired by Mary’s pride in her work and her bright personality—even in the early morning hours! Every time I see Mary around campus, she never fails to greet me with a smile and a wave. She’s responsive and collaborative, even when I know she’s out and about working on various projects. — Lauren Bradley, director of public affairs

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Leslie Fair ’17
Assistant Director of Gift Management

“In her own way, every day, Leslie is a shining and positive example of how to be kind, caring, and a beautiful person. She’s been with Rollins for a long time, and she is also earning a degree at Rollins in the evening. She is insightful and kind, bringing thought and sunshine into everything she does.” — Molly Gil ’08MBA

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Mae Fitchett
Associate Director of Student and Family Care

“Mae’s presence on our campus is invaluable. She engages with our students in a meaningful, supportive way every single day. She works tirelessly to ensure our seniors make it to the finish line by reviewing degree audits, reminding students of academic calendar deadlines, breaking down barriers and administrative obstacles, and sending words of encouragement when they are needed most. She is completely dedicated to her work and prioritizes the success of our students over any other goal. Furthermore, she goes above and beyond to advance social justice at Rollins. She actively engages in the Tars Talk series, supports other women of color on campus, and reminds us all to have the courage to have difficult conversations around race, diversity, and privilege.” — Alexa Gordon ’13, assistant director of Residential Life & Explorations

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Ann Francis ’01
Program Coordinator, Environmental Studies

“By working tirelessly with students through ECO Rollins, Ann has had a huge impact on their lives and on the ecological sustainability of the Rollins campus. She mentors students, enables their activism, and helps gather information to shift the way things are done on campus. For example, she has pressed for better recycling, for use of biodegradable products, and for the free bicycle program. She also works with the Green Chamber of Commerce and encourages students to use their skills beyond campus. I can’t begin to name all of the things she has done for Rollins and its students. She is an inspiration and a living example for us all.” — Leslie Poole’91 MLS, visiting assistant professor of environmental studies

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Meredith Hein
Director of Leadership & Community Engagement

“Meredith lives and breathes Rollins. She works tirelessly to fulfill the mission of the College in her work with students. She gives 110 percent to Rollins and leads in a way that is collaborative and supportive. She has a ‘can do’ attitude. Meredith is passionate about Rollins and makes a positive difference on our campus in all that she does!” — Trish Moser ’15, director of special projects

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Connie Holt ’88 ’00MA
Retired Graduate Coordinator for the Hamilton Holt School

“She inspired me to be a better citizen and all-around human. She helps students find their own inner self so they can share that with the world.” — Michelle Savoie ’16

“She provided a lot of guidance and advice to me and all who knew her. As I look back as an alum, I give a lot of credit for my success to Connie. She always welcomed me with respect and kindness and always answered my questions completely.” — Jarrod Reynolds

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Meribeth Huebner
Associate Dean, Hamilton Holt School

“Meribeth is responsible for operations at the Holt School. She has helped spearhead efforts to modernize all our operations and make them more efficient. She also teaches a course each semester and has worked hard to ensure that women advance and succeed in the Holt School. As associate dean, she supervises directly or indirectly 20 staff and ensures we meet all goals and objectives.” — David Richard, dean of the Hamilton Holt School

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Nicole Inclan ’14
Coordinator, Lucy Cross Center for Women and Their Allies

“Niki is a graduate student in the counseling program, a Rollins grad, and a member of the staff of both the Center for Inclusion and Campus Involvement and the Lucy Cross Center for Women & Their Allies. What doesn’t Niki do? She advocates for disabled members of our community and for women and students of color. She organizes events, guides work study students, and attends conferences. She’s a passionate but quiet and effective social justice warrior of the best kind. Niki is an incredible woman at Rollins.” — Jill Jones, professor of English

(Top left to right: Allisa Johnson, Jill Jones, Lorrie Kyle. Middle left to right: Cindy Bowman-LaFronz, Margaret Linnane, Destinee Lott. Bottom left to right: Maria Martinez, Kerrysha Matos-Soto, Micki Meyer) (Top left to right: Allisa Johnson, Jill Jones, Lorrie Kyle. Middle left to right: Cindy Bowman-LaFronz, Margaret Linnane, Destinee Lott. Bottom left to right: Maria Martinez, Kerrysha Matos-Soto, Micki Meyer)

Allisa Johnson
Associate Vice President, Career & Life Planning

“Allisa continues to lead beyond her role at Rollins!” — Meghan Harte Weyant, assistant vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students

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Jill Jones
Professor of English

“Jill is an incredible woman on campus who, through her role at Rollins, has been an awesome advocate for meeting students where they are in terms of gender identity development. She connects with students in a practical way, encouraging expression and involvement for all students. She is a great collaborator and builds relationships to foster a learning environment that aligns with a liberal arts education. Plus, she is just awesome, easy to talk to, and exactly what the Lucy Cross Center needs.” — Sara Christovich, associate director of the Center for Inclusion & Campus Involvement

“Jill has done a remarkable job this year and is an inspirational faculty leader on our campus. She is collaborative, kind, and student-centered!” — Trish Moser, director of special projects, Student Affairs

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Lorrie Kyle ’70
Executive Director, Office of the President

“I have been working with Lorrie for years, but especially over the past few months on the presidential inauguration planning. Her efforts beyond amaze me. She is the epitome of strength, leadership, and class. I have learned so much from seeing her in times of high-stress and urgency. She has gone above and beyond for the duration of her career and does so without ever letting any of us know how much she truly does. For years, she’s supported our College presidents in all that they do and truly models excellence, grace, and each of Rollins’ service excellence standards.” — Meredith Hein, director of the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement

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Cindy LaFronz
Director of Community Relations

Cindy leads with authentic love, hope, and care. She’s known on campus as a change agent. She uses her leadership to influence positive change in the community. Cindy takes the time to get to know others and makes them feel valued and supported. She builds meaningful connections with them. Her work is grounded in intellectualism and empathy. She’s deeply committed to others and is a positive role model for women both on and off campus.” — Micki Meyer, Lord Family associate vice president for Student Affairs & Community Engagement

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Margaret Linnane
Executive Director, Crummer Graduate School of Business

“Margaret is a leader both at Rollins and in nonprofit management across Central Florida. She is an inspiration to many people both on and off campus and motivates people to move the needle with some of the most challenging community issues. I’ve been so impressed with her leadership over the years. I go to her for advice and support. I find her to be fair, honest, and passionate and she leads with integrity.” —Micki Meyer, Lord Family associate vice president for Student Affairs & Community Engagement

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Destinee Lott
Assistant Director, Center for Inclusion & Involvement

“Destinee has formed dynamic and meaningful relationships across campus. She is supportive, kind, and incredibly talented. Her leadership with the Women of Color group has made such an impact on campus, and we are proud to have her in the Center for Inclusion & Campus Involvement!” — Abby Hollern, director of the Center for Inclusion & Involvement

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Maria Martinez
Associate Vice President, Human Resources & Risk Management

“Maria has served Rollins with excellence for nearly 30 years. She is a trusted colleague, confidant, mentor, and friend to many. Given her important role, she understands how to maintain balance between the best interest of both the institution and the individual members who make up our community. Her commitment to her work and to her colleagues is exceptional.” — Oriana Jimenez ’10MBA ’07MHR, Title IX coordinator

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Kerrysha Matos-Soto ’16
Student

“Kia has served as a summer orientation leader, a peer mentor, a resident assistant, work-study student, campus tour guide, and founding member of the new sorority Alpha Delta Pi. I have seen many students seek Kia out, looking for advice on school courses, personal life, and campus involvement. In four years, Kia has shown a committed interest in helping students connect to Rollins and benefit from all the school has to offer. At the same time, Kia majored in biology, learned Chinese, was part of both the Rollins Dances and Rollins Dance Team, and took advantage of all Rollins has to offer. She shows great cultural awareness and inclusion in all of her roles.” —Nichole Inclan ’14, coordinator for the Lucy Cross Center for Women & Their Allies

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Micki Meyer
Lord Family Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Community Engagement

“Micki works incredibly hard to lead the community alignment of the Student Affairs division. She has a huge heart and it shows in her leadership. Beloved by our students, she is friendly and approachable as well as incredibly bright and humble. She is giving and would do anything for our students. She has dedicated many years of outstanding service to the College and is personally responsible for so many ‘firsts’ in Rollins’ history through her work.” — Oriana Jimenez ’10MBA ’07MHR, Title IX coordinator

“Micki refers to herself as an educator, not an administrator or staff member. In every projects she takes on, her goal is to educate and be a change maker. The most recent example is her leadership at the campus Summit. While Micki would be the first to say it was a team effort (and it was), a lot of the leadership and stamina for its creation came from Micki. As someone whose goal is ‘to clear the way for positive change’, Micki is also the 10+ years engine behind community engagement for all our Rollins community members. The impact on our local and regional community that our Immersion programs and student Immersion groups have had is recognized both by national organizations and local community members. Micki always has the time for every student, faculty, or staff member who has an idea of how to further the Rollins mission or needs individual care and assistance.” — Peg Cornwell, associate to the president

“Micki has been the spark and leader of the College’s commitment to service and community engagement.” — Thaddeus Seymour ’82H, President Emeritus

(Top left to right: Noelle Moore, Emily Russell, Elise Schramm. Bottom left to right: Jayashree Shivamoggi, Penelope Strater, Meghan Harte Weyant.) (Top left to right: Noelle Moore, Emily Russell, Elise Schramm. Bottom left to right: Jayashree Shivamoggi, Penelope Strater, Meghan Harte Weyant.)

Noelle Moore ’03
Alumna

“Noelle took her personal tragedy and used it as an impetus to help other mothers who have lost children. Her commitment to the memory of her daughter and her cause is so great. I can’t think of a more inspiring mom, woman, and human being.” — Carolyn Smith Fernald ’00

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Emily Russell
Associate Professor of English

“I’ve worked with Emily closely since 2013. Her authentic personality makes her approachable and her communication style and collaborative spirit make her a pleasure to work with. She is extraordinarily intelligent and articulate. She actively mentors and coaches other women and students, she is highly dependable, and has an impressive work ethic. She is a champion for diversity, inclusion, and social justice on campus and is an active contributor to this important conversation.” — Oriana Jimenez ’10MBA ’07MHR, Title IX Coordinator

“She’s serving as both professor and vice president of the College of Arts & Sciences faculty during a time of big change at Rollins. She is inspiring to both students and her colleagues.” — Jill Jones, professor of English

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Elise Schramm
Director of Development, Parent Programs

“Maintaining parents’ involvement in the educational development of their students at Rollins (or anywhere) is key for a well-balanced and successful path through these crucial times of ‘growing up’. Having the ability to engage parents in a friendly and personal way, rather than the usual formal and distant behavior, makes Elise unique. Every discussion and every meeting with her is an interaction with a friend—someone who cares!” — Egon Lacher, parent

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Jayashree Shivamoggi
Director, External and Competitive Scholarships

“She is an amazing staff member and person all around. She goes out of her way to give each student the best chance of success possible, without taking any credit. She challenges thinking and aspirations, pushing students to move out of comfort zones and to achieve things we never knew we could. I believe the best leaders are often silent leaders and know exactly when to follow. Dr. Jay humbly participates and encourages students to success in their passions and is successful in recognizing their achievements, talents, and potential. Her passion and determination inspire me to aspire for a career that gives me happiness while helping others.” — Grace Soto ’17

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Penelope Strater
Director of Student & Family Life

“Penelope continues to lead beyond her role, helping students fulfill their dreams and wishes here at Rollins. Her work is marked by a steadfast commitment to helping one student at a time.” — Meghan Harte Weyant, assistant vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students

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Meghan Harte Weyant
Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs
Dean of Students

“Meghan is an inspiring leader, dean, colleague, mother, and social justice advocate. The best way to describe her as a leader is one who is student-centered and who balances the right mixture of challenge and support when working with students. Meghan is a solution-focused student advocate who cares deeply about the well-being of students.” — Trish Moser ’15, director of special projects

“Her role predominantly involves the incredibly hard work of managing some of the most critical student care and crisis issues that arise on campus. I could not ask for a better colleague to do this work alongside me. I am so grateful that it is her. She encourages those around her to lead first with their hearts and then with their heads, focusing foremost on doing the right thing by our students in order to ensure their well-being and ability to thrive. She truly, genuinely cares.” — Oriana Jimenez ’07MHR ’10MBA, Title IX coordinator