March 3, 2021

Five alumnae to be honored as Distinguished Women Scholars

The Office of the Provost and the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence will honor five alumnae who have been selected as Distinguished Women Scholars for their exceptional leadership and significant contributions to their fields.

Honorees from both 2021 and 2020 will be recognized during a virtual live award reception at 3:30 p.m. March 17. Awards will be presented by Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. The 2020 recipients are being honored this year due to the cancellation of the regular celebration because of the pandemic.

"With March being Women's History Month, it is the perfect time to celebrate these alumnae," says Mangala Subramaniam, director of the Butler Center. "It is the month to remember the contributions of notable and ordinary women, in hopes that the day will soon come when it's impossible to teach or learn history without remembering these contributions."

2021 Distinguished Women Scholars

The two honorees, who are from the colleges of Engineering and Science, are:

Nicole Key, who earned her PhD in mechanical engineering in 2007 from the School of Mechanical Engineering. She is professor of mechanical engineering with a courtesy appointment of professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Purdue.

Bhramar Mukherjee, who earned her PhD in statistics in 2001 from the Department of Statistics. She is currently chair and John D. Kalbfleisch Collegiate Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Michigan.

2020 Distinguished Women Scholars

The three 2020 Distinguished Women Scholars honorees, who are from the colleges of Agriculture, Liberal Arts, and Health and Human Sciences, are:

Lynda Ciuffetti, who earned her PhD in plant pathology/plant physiology in 1983 from the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. She is professor emeritus of botany and plant pathology at Oregon State University.

Cassander (Cassie) Smith, who earned her PhD in early American literature in 2010 from the Department of English. She is currently associate professor of English at the University of Alabama.

Trisha Van Zandt, who earned her PhD in quantitative psychology in 1992 from the Department of Psychological Sciences. She is currently professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

The reception is open to all. Registration is required. For more information, contact the Butler Center at

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