Students honor heroines in exhibit

Despite Women’s History Month having already passed, people at UNA still find time to bring attention to their female role models.

For the third year in a row, the Center for Women’s Studies is hosting the HerStory Project, where anyone on campus and alumni can honor their heroines through an exhibit at Collier Library. 

Seniors Alyssa Henke and Graci Berryman and juniors Elaina Murray and Cayman Gardner are joining past participants in the exhibit this year. While others know the heroines for different reasons, the students recognize them for their place in history and their hearts.

Amelia Earhart

In December 1920, the aviator took her first ride in an airplane. The following month, she began taking flying lessons.

After passing her flight test at the end of 1921, she began setting several aviation records for women. These included being the first woman to perform a solo flight above 14,000 feet, across the Atlantic Ocean and nonstop across the U.S.

On June 1, 1937, Earhart set out to become the first pilot to circumnavigate the world. However, around a month later, both her and accompanying navigator Fred Noonan disappeared on their way to Howland Island. No one has been able to locate them to this day.

Jane Austen

Many consider Austen one of the greatest English authors of all time. Growing up in a learning environment, she familiarized herself with literature from reading from her father’s library and writing and performing plays.

After a near-fatal bout with typhus, as well as financial constraints, Austen returned to live with her family. She soon began writing stories, which helped her develop her widely-known themes of realism, irony and parody.

Releasing four of her six novels during her lifetime, which included the now-iconic “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility,” she achieved moderate success. It was only after her death in 1817 that her works received worldwide attention.

“Jane Austen helped pave the way for future female writers, and, for that, I am so thankful,” Berryman said.

Dorothea Dix

Spending part of her early life as a teacher and textbook author, Dix’s experience with helping others led to her becoming an advocate for the creation of institutions for the mentally ill and work for women nurses.

After health problems resulted in the closing of one of Dix’s schools, she soon began teaching prisoners in Cambridge, England. She started to notice criminal institutions’ poor hygiene and treatment of inmates, including those with mental illnesses. Dix used her findings to bring change to facilities in the U.S. and beyond.

Shortly after the start of the Civil War, she became a superintendent for Union Army nurses. After returning home a few years later, Dix resumed her work in social reform.

“She paved the way for the ethical guidelines that are followed today when treating the mentally ill,” Murray said.

Dix passed away in 1887 while admitted in a hospital founded in her honor.

Ginni Rometty

Holding the titles of CEO, Chairperson and President of International Business Machines Corporation, she began her work in technology at General Motors Institute in 1979. Two years later, she became a systems engineer for IBM and began her climb to senior vice president and group executive for marketing, sales and strategy.

Rometty helped IBM grow by introducing it to cloud computing and analytics. She also helped prepare the supercomputer Watson for commercial use. She assumed the roles of president and CEO in 2012, with IBM announcing her as the next chairman later that year.

Rometty has repeatedly placed on Fortune’s list of the 50 most powerful businesswomen. Forbes named her the 10th most powerful woman in the world in 2017.

“Ginni Rometty is a poster woman for contemporary female empowerment,” Gardner said. “Her accomplishments in and out of the workforce are something to be marveled.”

Editor’s Note: Information gathered from and