Skip to main content

Women Who Inspire

  • Home
  • Women Who Inspire
Kelly MortonKelly Morton
Lecturer, Clinical Assistant Professor
Submitted by Lauren Harrah

Kelly Morton is part of the nursing faculty here at WVU Tech serving as a professor and the academic counselor for the WVU School of Nursing. Kelly is well known for her uplifting spirit, personality and her kindness. Kelly goes above and beyond for all her students. Kelly currently teaches Pharmacology for the sophomore class. Pharmacology is a very hard class in nursing as I am sure most can agree with. I know I would not be making it through Pharm without her teaching. Kelly makes it her priority that her students fully understand the information and will go the extra mile if something is not understood. Kelly's spirit, personality and her compassion for those who are around her inspires me to be more like her in all aspects. Kelly does all that she can to shape us into the nurses and students she knows we can be. She truly is a phenomenal professor and I know without a doubt we are all grateful to have her as part of our WVUSON Beckley family.

Amber Affholter Amber Affholter
WVU Tech Softball Coach
Submitted by Makenzie Holley

Coach A is one of the hardest working women I know. She has inspired many women who she has impacted through her coaching through Tech. She teaches her players to not only be better at softball, but to even be better people once we leave. She shows her care for us outside of our athletic ability , and that she will be here for many years to come. She is an empowering women and embraces me to be the person I am.

Susan Gore Susan Gore
WVU Tech Employee
Submitted by Ashley Isaacs

Susan is the best woman I know, she is always there when you need absolutely anything and she makes sure whatever issue you have, is fixed. She listens to any and every complaint and talks you through them. She is very kind and gentle and she has the best personality.

Devin Noor Devin Noor
Teaching Assistant Professor of Culinary Arts
Submitted by Ashley Isaacs

Devin has been a huge inspiration to me for many years. She is always very patient and kind with every situation. Devin is a true role model for women everywhere, she has so much knowledge and love to give. She is truly an amazing woman.

Submitted by Susan Gore
Chef Devin has been an inspirational figure in my life for the last several years. She is a knowledgeable, kind, compassionate woman with an eye for detail and a heart of gold. Working closely with her has been such a formative time for me and has made me a better woman. 

andrea Kent Andi Kent
Associate Professor of Political Science - Department of Social Sciences and Public Administration
Submitted by Jordan Kozak

I had Professor Kent for several classes during my time at WVU Tech. They inspired me to keep pushing through getting a degree, made class fun, and I truly learned a lot from them! They know their subject well and make learning unique. Their approach to the material is really awesome and they are kind and friendly. I am grateful for Professor Kent because if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today professionally. Thank you for your amazing inspiration and motivation!

Caroline Mckelvie Caroline McKelvie
Teaching Instructor - Department of Sport and Recreation Management
Submitted by Annmarie Gruttadauro

McKelvie has helped me throughout my entire college career. She's gotten to know me and I her. She has helped me determine what I want out of my life, where I want to go in my career, and she's who I look up to. I aspire to have the drive and determination, all while still having fun, that McKelvie displays on the daily. She was a student here at Tech herself before teaching. She played on the women's soccer team and can still manage to keep up with a few of the soccer players now! She won the 2022 Nelson Distinguished Young Alumni Award. She strives to be the best she can be everyday, and I honestly believe that she is.

Sihe Zhang Sihe Zhang
Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering Department
Submitted by Valentina Abondano

Dr. Zhang since day one has been real support inside and outside the classroom. She has gone above and beyond to help me in class and in the start of my professional career. I want to highlight how caring and passionate she is, and how willingly she is to provide any extra hand at any moment. She inspires me to keep going no matter how hard the path shows.

jemma cook Jemma Cook
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Submitted by Ayla Black

Dr. Cook is a professor in the Psychology department at WVU Tech. She is hardworking and very knowledgeable about her areas of study and interest. She always goes out of her way to help her students and has personally given me extremely valuable advice and guidance on certain matters. She is always striving to improve and is the only professor I've ever seen value the words and feedback of her students so much.

Hillary Parcell Hillary Parcell
SON Beckley Division Chairperson and Assistant Professor
Submitted by Emily Harrah

Professor Hillary Parcell is the director of nursing for the WVU Beckley campus. In recent months her role in the program has changed tremendously from being a academic counselor and professor to a program director. Her challenges in a new role reflects her determination and innovation as a leader. Professor Parcell is an advocate for progressive nursing education and Appalachian health. Her mentorship throughout my years at Tech has influenced my values and passion for the future of nursing and inspired me as an upcoming nurse.

Submitted by Felicity McSweeney
Hillary is a nursing instructor as well as the director of nursing on our campus now. She has inspired me since I have started my journey of nursing school & has taught myself and many others so much about being a great nurse. She cares for each student & shows kindness in every situation. She has never hesitated to help & she is one of the reasons I am excited to be a nurse!

AShley Clark Ashley Clark
Submitted by Lindsay Davis

Ashley was the first person I met when I moved into my room in Ratliff Hall on the Montgomery Campus. She was in the room across from me and my goodness, she talked a lot! She talked to my parents, helped me move in (after a long day of volleyball practice), and was overall super friendly. She toured the campus with me, took me to Burger Carte for a top notch milkshake, and she invited me to her sorority's recruitment week. She helped introduce me to a bunch of people on campus through her Greek life connections. She ultimately became my Big Sister, and that's a relationship that's lasted to this day. A lot of what I have accomplished in my life started with sorority, which all started with Ashley Clark saying hello. Ashley is a force of nature. She is an absolute failure and a big success all rolled into one - and that's what I love about her. She's not afraid to try something new, and then decide it's not for her. She just moves to the next new thing. She's got a big heart, and I've seen her come to someone's defense in a second flat. She reminds me to enjoy life and not take everything so seriously. She's confident in who she is, and she's crushing it in her career! She's one of those rare women who truly roots for the success of the women around her. She is one of my favorite people in the entire world, and she inspires me to be better and do better every day.

Michelle Rotellini Michelle Rotellini
President/CEO at Beckley Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce
Submitted by Jen Wood Cunningham

Michelle Rotellini is a pillar of our community. She is an outstanding entrepreneur, change agent and the leader of our local Chamber of Commerce. I'm inspired by her passion, energy and commitment to make our community and state a better place. Her personality and energy are contagious. She takes on issues and projects head on with grace and strength and is always finding innovative ways to address the needs of the region. She's an amazing professional, business owner, mother and friend. I'm so grateful to know her and to have the opportunity to work with her on community projects. 

Angela Angela Peterson
Assistant Professor - Department of Accounting and Management
Submitted by Amanda Wiles

She is my accounting teacher and advisor, being a single mom who works full time and goes to school full time she has inspired me to not quit. She is understanding and always encouraging to me. She is the reason I haven't quit even though there are times I have wanted too. She treats all of get students with respect and like we matter.

Jen Wood Cunningham Jen Wood Cunningham
Director of University Relations
Submitted by Susan Wood

Jen Wood Cunningham is the Director of University Relations at WVU Tech and a proud alumnus. Beyond being a fashion icon, Jen gives her all on every project and does it with what's best for WVU Tech in mind at all times. Jen works beyond her department to help other departments succeed, such as collaborating with Career Services and the Tech Golden Bear Alumni Association on the new mentorship program. Jen treats everyone as a member of the Golden Bear family and truly inspires me to be the same.
Dr Hall Cynthia Hall
Associate Professor of Psychology
Submitted by Calyn Sizemore

Dr. Hall is a psychology professor at WVU tech. She not only inspires with her research and knowledge, but has warmth that comforts her students. Many times I have emailed her where I would not email another professor, and she is always comforting even if you’re freaking out about items due in her own class. As an advisor she has made it easier to get the semester I want that works for my schedule and what I am able to handle. She is the epitome of what a young undergraduate needs in a professor.

Submitted by Amanda Boothe
Oh wow, where do I start? All throughout my undergrad career, Dr. Hall mentored and inspired me with her knowledge and sense of humor. She always looks out for her students and even checks up on her alumni. She is genuinely one of my favorite people.

Gina Grounds
Gina Grounds
Administrative Assistant to the Campus President
Submitted by Kassie Durham

Gina is the administrative assistant to Campus President Carolyn Long. Gina has worked at WVU Tech for nearly 30 years and her dedication to the university shows wherever she goes. She is always first in line to support the Golden Bears and is a great ambassador for the college. As well as working extremely hard on campus, Gina did an amazing job raising two daughters as a single mother. Her strength, decoration, and hardworking attitude continue to amaze and inspire me every single day.

Winnie Fu Winnie Fu
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department
Submitted by Ashton Graley

Dr. Fu, professor of engineering, is a strong leader in her career and in the classroom. Dr. Fu has mentored me in difficult moments in my academic career and has left an impact on me as a student and future engineer.

Debroah Beutler Poses with a tree Deborah Beutler
Professor, Biology Department, Interim Chair
Submitted by Kayla Coffman

Dr. Beutler is a great professor and advisor. She is heavily involved with the community and teaches students about the impacts of their choices on the environment. She is passionate about her research and career making her an inspiration to young women on campus.

Submitted by Konstantini Pateli

Dr. B was the first professor that I met on campus. She became my advisor and family really fast. She cares for her students. She is involved in every campus active including taking pictures of our games (favorite memory). She is brilliant, a wonderful person, an amazing mentor and I am
So happy that she became part of my journey at Tech.

Peggy Lambert-Fink Peggy Lambert-Fink
Assistant Professor and Director of Student Health Clinic
Submitted by Carley Knuckles

Peggy is the Student Health Nurse on our WVU Tech campus and an amazing nursing instructor. Peggy not only cares so much for every patient, but her care is contagious in the classroom, too. It is clear her passion is providing women the healthcare they need. Peggy is my professor, mentor, advisor for Active Minds and friend! 

Submitted by Cheryl Rained
I can honestly say half our graduating class wouldn’t have survived nursing school without her encouragement and wisdom. She led by example and showed us daily the kind of nurses we wanted to be. I can’t say enough about this lady. She was and is an inspiration to all nurses young and old.

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 Ross JoAnn 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.