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Women Who Inspire

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WVU Tech's Becky Brouse poses for a photo with Tech Grad Kylie Elbin. Becky Brouse
Sports Information Director, Mentor, Athletics Superhero
Submitted by Kylie Elbin

Everyone one at Tech probably already knows her. But Becky is an amazing woman who has helped break the glass ceiling for any women working in sports. She is an awesome Sports Information Director and was a great mentor to me.

Chef Dayanny De La Cruz  poses for a photograph in her chef coat.
Dayanny De La Cruz
Super Chef, Super Mom
Submitted by Joseph De La Cruz

Dayanny De La Cruz is an immigrant from Dominican Republic who came to the United States and decided to follow her dreams of being a chef. While raising three children, she was able to become a world-known chef and is currently the executive chef at the Hard Rock Stadium (Home of the Miami Dolphins). She is the first women executive chef in the NFL business and was the first women to be an executive chef for the Super Bowl. 

She also happens to be my mother.

A portrait of Patrice Harris
Patrice Harris
Psychiatrist, Children's Champion, Former President of AMA
Submitted by Janelle Sewell

Patrice Harris is an alumna of WVU and my Sorority Sister. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Eta Omicron Chapter she set the mold for several future members and students to strive for excellence by providing “service to all mankind.”  

We celebrate her legacy!

A profile image of Christine LeGarde Christine LeGarde
European Central Bank President, Space-Maker, Leadership Exemplar 
Submitted by Angela Peterson

Former chairwoman of the International Monetary Fund and current president of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde is one of the world's most powerful women. A former lawyer and politician, Lagarde has earned the respect of international peers, establishing herself as an intellectual authority and thought-leader. LeGarde uses a leadership philosophy that I embrace, which is this: "Leadership is about encouraging people. It’s about stimulating them. It’s about enabling them to achieve what they can achieve - and to do that with a purpose.” She has inspired me to help other women.

I am inspired by her advise for women in leadership positions. First and foremost, make space for other women. “Make sure that it’s not just about you, that there are other younger women that are also coming up the ranks,” she said, “so that the day when you stop, they are there to also take space.” And second, Lagarde laid out the three qualities she considers essential in a leader: confidence, energy and generosity. I have done my best to follow these words of wisdom and I'm inspired by her courage to inspire others through her actions.

WVU Tech's Laura Messer holds a baby goat for a photo.
Laura Lucas Messer
Service and Outreach Coordinator, Encourager Extraordinaire 
Submitted by Joseph De La Cruz

Laura Lucas is a faculty member at WVU Tech. She’s a young, compassionate woman who puts her all into the students and the community. She inspires me because she pushed me to become uncomfortable with finding my passions and becoming a leader in my own right. I am forever grateful for her. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Laura - she changed the trajectory of my life in a monumental way.

A graphic that reads" Women Who Inspire: Thelma Pickens"
Thelma Pickens - English Teacher, 4-H Leader, Class Act
Submitted by Carolyn Long

Miss Pickens was from extension in the 60's and was over the 4-H program in Webster County, WV. She was an English teacher also. Miss Pickens was a role model for many women. She was a very pretty women who always looked just perfect, whether she was all dressed up for church or was ready for a day at 4-H camp. She took special interest in teaching us about manners, proper public speaking, and always emphasized being the very best you could be, no matter the task. She emphasized the importance of always being on time, listening to learn and that kindness was never wasted, even if not returned.

She was a single lady with no children. I really think the 4-H was her family. She expected the best, but was never harsh when you didn't meet her bar for excellence.

I have though of her often as I have moved to different phases of my life.

I remember one time at camp she made everyone take the class on good table manners. One of the campers made a remark that this was just "stupid." She very quickly, with a smile on her face, said, "If you just one time in your life need this skill, I have done my job."

Miss Pickens may never know how many lives she enhanced, but once a year we have a gathering at the 4-H camp in Webster County, and the conversations always go to how she was one of the people who inspired so many of us through her 30 years of service to the youth of Webster County.

Thank you Miss Pickens.

A portrait of Joann RossJoAnn Ross
Financial Aid Manager, Dynamite Boss
Submitted by Jada Mickey

JoAnn inspires a lot of people to do what's rightly so. Her presence just makes you want to do the right thing. 

She's a great boss and great person to work with. 

Dean of Students Emily Sands snaps a photo with her two smiling kiddos.Emily Sands
Dean of Students, Never-Giver-Upper
Submitted by Alex Gray

I’ve heard it time and time again, “God puts people in your life for a reason”. It’s a common theme, people say it all the time, but this is something I truly believe.

Emily Sands is that person. Her traits make her rare and what she has done as a woman makes her a leader and a role model.

Hearing stories about Emily from then to now showed me why I can be a leader. Somewhere down the line, you realize that it’s not about being perfect - it’s about being you. It’s about accepting yourself. Emily taught me that you don’t always have to be strong. You are allowed to have a meltdown from time to time. You are allowed to break into pieces. That’s OK as long as you keep picking yourself up.

I think that is one of the hardest things a woman has to do when you feel like the world is against you. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep pursuing your goals. That is why Emily Sands is my role model and inspiration because “she never gave up!”

Tammy Saunders poses for a photo with Monty, the Golden Bear mascot.
Tammy Saunders
Senior Financial Aid Counselor, Counselor of our Hearts
Submitted by Malik Wynes

Tammy Saunders is a Senior Financial Aid Counselor at WVU Tech. She has been an inspiration to me since I began in 2018. She hired me for a work-study position in the Financial Aid office and we have been so close since then. She has helped me through some great and tough times. She is very caring and compassionate. She has a tremendous amount of wisdom that is greatly appreciated by other students and staff.