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2011.03.30 > For Immediate Release
contact: Becky Bohan Brown - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2243 - email: rbrown@unomaha.edu

2011 CCSW Awards Recipients Honored at 25th Anniversary Luncheon

Omaha - A legendary woman, an aviator, a premier leadership organization for girls and a student are the 2011 recipients of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Chancellor's Commission on the Status of Women (CCSW) Awards.

Chancellor John Christensen and 200 luncheon participants congratulated the recipients at CCSW’s 25th Anniversary Awards Luncheon held March 30 at UNO.

“We're grateful for the bonus support in our silver anniversary year from Senior Vice Chancellor Terry Hynes and Academic & Student Affairs, which is allowing us to drop the price of this year's tickets to just $5 each,” said Wendi Chiarbos Jensen, CCSW staff-co chair.

Those in attendance at the sell-out luncheon were the first to learn who this year’s CCSW Legendary Women of UNO Award recipient was - UNO alumnae and Omaha lawyer Margaret Fischer.

The 2011 CCSW honorees include:

Legendary Women of UNO Award - Margaret Fischer (1906-1989)
Fischer earned a B.A. from Omaha University (OU) in 1928 and a J.D. from OU Law School in 1929. She served as vice president of the OU Alumni Association and as a member of the OU Board of Regents. For her service to the university she received both the OU Achievement Award and Order of Tower. One of the first women to earn a law degree, she was a pioneer as a woman in her profession. Her expertise was in real estate and probate law. Fischer was a member of the National Association of Women Lawyers, a member of the Urban League and earned Outstanding Business Woman of the Year in 1961. She was a lifelong promoter of UNO, active in community theatre and arts and practiced law until her death at age 82.

Outstanding Achievement Award - Michaela Lucas
Lucas has worked at UNO for 17 years. She is associate director of the NASA Nebraska Space Grant and EPSCoR Program. She earned a Master of Science Degree in Urban Studies with an Aviation Administration minor, and a Bachelor of General Studies Degree with Aviation Studies, Journalism and Criminal Justice minors. Lucas has overcome many obstacles to succeed in a male-dominated field and works to educate the next generation of NASA scientists. She mentors other women in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math. She is an excellent and passionate instructor of Diversity in Aviation and a faculty advisor to the Women in Aviation Maverick Chapter. She encourages minority students to participate in internships, research assistantships and scholarship programs.

Community Awards - Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska Council
Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska started its journey on May 1, 2008, when five former Girl Scout councils across the state joined forces to become one. It is now the largest girl-serving organization in Nebraska with more than 25,000 girl and adult members and a geographic region that spans nearly 77,300 square miles. Its programs offer a wide array of activities that encourage girls to discover their full potential and have fun at the same time.

Student Scholarship Award - Mengyi Zha
Zha is a Mathematics major who has been named to the Dean’s List and the Chancellor’s List and was the recipient of a Regent’s Scholarship. Her volunteer activities are numerous and include the American Red Cross, the Nebraska Kidney Association, Food Bank, Operation Safety Net, the UNO Chemistry Department, Bergan Mercy Hospital, and the Living Tree Orphanage in Beijing, China. Zha established the first student-run free clinic in China and is the vice president of the Multi-cultural Association of Pre-Health Students at UNO.

“It is always an honor to recognize our award winners, and this year is no exception. They really exemplify the myriad creative ways that individuals and organizations can promote gender equity both on our campus and in our community,” said Jody Neathery-Castro, CCSW faculty co-chair. “Our scholarship winner, Ms. Zha, has even modeled how activism can connect communities internationally, initiating a student-run street health volunteer initiative in China.”

The CCSW serves to advise the chancellor and other university administrators on issues that relate to gender equity for all faculty, staff and students.

For more information, visit www.unomaha.edu/ccsw/.

For more information about this year’s recipients, contact CCSW co-chairs Chiarbos Jensen at (402) 554-2286 or wcjensen@unomaha.edu or Jody Neathery-Castro at (402) 554-3611 or jneathery@unomaha.edu.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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