Women's Giving Circle Awards Over $100,000 in Grant Funding

Michele Kilmer, assistant professor in the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, receives a check from Women's Giving Circle President, Kelly Chaney.
University Relations

Michele Kilmer, assistant professor in the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, receives a check from Women's Giving Circle President, Kelly Chaney.

The U of A Women’s Giving Circle celebrated its 19th year of funding innovative projects, programs and research by awarding $101,058 at its annual fall voting event. This year’s funding brings the group’s total to more than $1.6 million awarded since 2002.

The Women’s Giving Circle is made up of U of A alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the university and was created to encourage women as philanthropic leaders. Members of the circle make yearly contributions to generate funds for the annual awards, and these contributions are pooled together and awarded annually to selected recipients who complete the grant proposal process. 

This year’s grant recipients were chosen from 20 proposals, with 13 finalists selected through an online vote. Women’s Giving Circle members heard virtual presentations from the finalists as part of the voting meeting and then chose the winning programs. The amounts of the eight grants awarded this year ranged from $4,310 to $13,000.

The recipients of funding this year include:

Integrating Telehealth Patient Management in the Doctor of Nursing Program, a proposal presented by Anna Jarrett and Marilou Shreve, associate professors in the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, received $13,000. The program will develop course and clinical experiences to integrate telehealth patient management as a treatment modality in the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program for graduate nursing students.

Enhancing Autism Management Among Minority Pediatric Populations in Northwest Arkansas, a research proposal aimed to enhance early identification, evaluation, diagnosis and enrollment in specialty therapies for children ages 2 months to 6 years living in rural areas who have been identified at risk for autism spectrum disorder. The proposal was presented by Michele Kilmer, assistant professor in the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, and it received $12,365.

“Listening” to chemical communication between pathogenic bacterial biofilms and the immune system, presented by Julie Stenken, the 21st Century Chair in Proteomics and professor of analytical chemistry in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, this research proposal received $10,189. The project aims to use microdialysis sampling to improve outcomes of biofilm induced infections that greatly affect women.

Effects of Hormonal Birth Control on Women’s Experiences with Stress, a research study designed to examine the effects of hormonal contraceptives on women’s responses to stress. This proposal was presented by Anastasia Makhanova, assistant professor of psychology in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and received $9,992.

Making GAINS: Guiding Adolescents in Next Steps, a collaboration between the College of Education and Health Professions and the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, received $8,579. This program aims to develop interdisciplinary training and establish a system of collaboration across key personnel for youth at-risk for behavioral and reading problems such as dyslexia. Additionally, it will expand resources for literacy assessment and intervention in at-risk and incarcerated youth. The proposal was presented by professors Lisa Bowers, Johanna Thomas and Rachel Glade.

CAPS Assessment Training, a proposal presented by Ashley Coleman, mental health clinician in the Pat Walker Health Center’s Counseling and Psychological Services, received $8,386. This grant funding will purchase new training materials specifically for assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders, which often go undiagnosed until early adulthood and may make completing college more challenging. This training program meets the growing demand for mental health care on campus and provides high quality education to future healthcare leaders.

Benchmarking Potent Cellular Therapies for Osteoporosis Using Big Data Omics and Machine Learning, a research project proposing the use of omics-driven big data analytics to determine critical quality attributes of mesenchymal stem/stromal cells that can be predictive of their efficacy for treating osteoporosis, a major cause of fractures in postmenopausal women and in older men. Presented by Rebekah Margaret Samsonraj, this proposal received $7,920.

Supporting Campus Child Caregivers at the University Libraries, a project funding books, educational activities and furniture to support student-caregivers and other campus child caregivers in the University Libraries creating a more welcoming and inclusive space. The proposal was presented by Laura Cameron, education librarian, and Stephanie Pierce, interim director of user services, with University Libraries and received $7,867.

Arkansas Global Opportunity (Arkansas GO!), a proposal from the Office of Study Abroad to provide scholarship funds for underrepresented students with high financial need. By increasing access to education abroad, this guaranteed financial assistance bolsters students’ confidence and helps translate their study abroad dreams into a reality. Presented by Katie Sabo, senior study abroad coordinator for the Graduate School and International Education, this proposal received $7,500.

Reducing Adolescent Vaccine Hesitancy, a proposal from Marilou Shreve in the College of Education and Health Professions presented by Sarah Spence, a student in the Doctor of Nursing degree program, received $6,450. This project will use focus groups to identify concerns and fears surrounding vaccination that are common to all parents and those that are culture or community specific. Fact sheets and specialized information sessions with the Marshallese and Hispanic communities will be used to disseminate information and increase adolescent vaccination rates among these populations.

Tiny Tusks Infant and Breastfeeding Support for U of A Campus & Community, presented by Allison Scott and Kelly Vowell Johnson, associate professors in the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, received $4,500. This proposal expands upon the original project aimed to improve clinical breastfeeding education among nursing students, provide a supportive environment for mothers with young children and address breastfeeding barriers related to social norms and breastfeeding knowledge.

Navigating Leadership Paths: The Stories of Diverse and Successful Leaders, a project designed to assess the barriers faced by leaders and develop innovative and engaging learning modules that promote justice, equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This project was awarded $4,310 and presented by Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences faculty members Jill Rucker, Hanna Estes and Cassandra Cox.

“The grants we funded this year have the potential to impact a large number of people in Arkansas and across the country,” said WGC President Kelly Chaney. “I’m proud of what each one of our members is able to accomplish when we come together to invest in innovative programs and research.”

The Women’s Giving Circle was established in 2002, and its founding members included Sylvia Boyer B.S.E.’63, Pat Cooper, Johnelle Hunt, Mary Trimble Maier B.A.’49, Julia Peck Mobley B.S.E.’65, Harriett Phillips B.A.’72, Debbie Walker, Lynne Walton B.A.’70, Margaret Whillock B.S.E.’57, Mary Lib White and Donna Axum Whitworth B.A.’66, M.A.’69.

Lifetime members of the circle include Carol S. Adams, Nancy Bittle, Kelly Chaney, Charlotte Downs, Sandra K. Edwards, Margie Pomfret Farber, Denise Garner, Martha Cornwell Haguewood, Melissa McIlroy Hawkins, Denise Henderson, Trish Brown Joyner, Kellie Knight, Lee Lane, Marybeth Mayfield, Judy McDonald, Julia Peck Mobley, Connie Pate, Harriett Phillips, Karen Pope, Cindy Pugh, Catherine Ross, Susan Scott Ross, Jane Shipley, Sandy Steinmetz, Debbie S. Walker, Dina Wood and Ann Marie Ziegler.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas's flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas’ economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the top 3% of U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

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