English Professor Recognized by AAUW
Dr. Katherine Hoffman, Roanoke College English professor, was named "Education Advocate of the Year" by the Virginia chapter of the American Association of University Women in 2006.
The award is presented to a person who makes extraordinary contributions to the education and achievement of girls through work in the community. Typically given to someone outside of the formal education process of girls in elementary, middle and high school, honorees' professional lives demonstrate excellence in teaching with special emphasis on the achievement of girls.
The "Sister to Sister Summit Program" is a national AAUW initiative and one that Hoffman started locally eight years ago. All Roanoke Valley summits except one have been held at Roanoke College. The program was developed as a result of documented AAUW-funded research which showed a decline in confidence and self-esteem among girls of this generation.
The Roanoke summit brings together 12- to 16-year-old girls from all over the Roanoke Valley to talk about the serious issues they face as teenagers such as substance abuse, sexuality, violence, and peer pressure. They meet in small groups facilitated by Roanoke College women who volunteer to mentor them. The day-long event also includes plenty of fun activities, such as games, pizza lunch, storytelling and a tour of the College.
The program's goal is to give young girls a forum to express concerns and formulate their own ideas about how to support each other in leading positive, productive lives. They formulate action plans and build networks of friends that cross social, economic and ethnic lines.
"The summit brings together girls, young women, and 'former girls' in a wonderful cross-generation alliance that has benefited the College and the Roanoke Valley branch while giving local girls a forum and source of support," Hoffman says.
According to Hoffman, one key result of Roanoke's summit program has been the development of the Roanoke College student satellite AAUW group, founded by Heather Sherman '01.
Hoffman is "very proud to have won the Educator of the Year award in order to bring recognition to this great program and all the RC students and AAUW women who have worked so energetically and cheerfully on it every year."