Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Four honored with Goddard Power awards

Deborah Goldberg, Elzada U. Clover Collegiate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, LSA; and Denise Sekaquaptewa, professor of psychology, LSA, have been awarded the Sarah Goddard Power Award for 2012.

Also honored were Cynthia Luz Marcelo, research emerita professor of surgery, Department of Surgery, Medical School, who received the Sarah Goddard Power Honorary Award, and Patricia Warner, executive director of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, who received the Sarah Goddard Power Distinguished Service Award.

The ceremony for the 28th annual awards, which are presented annually to individuals who have demonstrated scholarship, leadership and support of women faculty, took place Wednesday at the Michigan League.

Descriptions of the recipients’ work are taken from their award citations.


Goldberg, whose pioneering research in plant ecology has established her as a foundational scientist in her field, has used her standing to increase opportunities for women. During her time as chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the percentage of women faculty has increased from 10 to 33 percent. She also established a standing departmental committee on diversity and took a major role in the formation of the Frontiers Science Program, designed to attract nontraditional students and prepare them for top-ranked doctoral programs.

She has served on the President’s Advisory Board on Women’s Issues, the Steering Committee for LSA Theme Semester on Explore Evolution, and the Education Planning Committee, North Campus Research Center. Goldberg is a leader on National Science Foundation grant proposals to improve core facilities, support a Biology Academy of Scholars and expand graduate training in microbial ecology. She also has served the Ecological Society of America since 1985 and been an editor on many journals.


Sekaquaptewa’s scientific work focuses on factors affecting women’s academic and professional performance, such as stereotyping, “solo” experiences in male-dominated professions, and threats to identity. In addition to her research, she also helps women faculty through mentoring and service on committees, such as the STRIDE committee, advisory committees for the Intergroup Relations Program (IGR), the Resource Center for Minority Data (RCMD), and the Bouchet Honors Society.

Her recent focus is on women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. She has chaired the Diversity and Climate Committee for the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and acted as faculty adviser for Graduate Horizons, designed to support Native American students applying to graduate schools. Her NSF-funded project, OXIDE, the Open Chemistry Collaborative in Diversity Equity, helps to increase the number of women faculty and graduate students in chemistry departments across the nation.


Marcelo’s career gave her insight into the challenges faced by women and minorities and positioned her to mentor the faculty and students who have come under her tutelage, colleagues say. She has held a number of grants, both for training and for her scientific research in cell and molecular dermatology and cell interaction with drugs, and currently holds a five-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to formalize the training of future academic surgeon/scientists in basic research.

In addition to serving on NIH committees and reviewing panels, she has supervised doctoral and postdoctoral scholars, and received awards such as the Lydia Adams DeWitt Research Award and the U-M Research Scientist Achievement Award. She has been president of the local Sigma Xi chapter, served on the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs, and co-chaired the Academic Women’s Caucus many times, promoting women faculty issues. She also served as a Women in Science and Engineering mentor for high school and undergraduate student interns from 1984-2010.


Warner, who began working for U-M in 1977, most recently oversaw the building of the replacement Mott and women’s hospitals. Over the years, she also has significantly contributed to the development of interdisciplinary strategic clinical programs, the shift in focus to patient- and family-centered care, and the emergence of Mott Children’s Hospital as a national leader in pediatric medicine.

She has provided practical experiences for interested students by inviting them to work with her through summer employment, special projects and shadowing. Warner also has worked in the Ann Arbor community, providing lectures and sponsoring an internship experience for students interested in hospital management, and participating in the YMHA, Arbor Hospice, Ronald MacDonald House and homeless programs. Throughout, she has been a formal and informal mentor.

The Academic Women’s Caucus, founded in 1975 by women working to overcome inequity issues in the workplace, aims to support academic women faculty and presents the Sarah Goddard Power Award to distinguished faculty and senior administrative staff (including instructors, lecturers, primary researchers, librarians and curators) affiliated with the university. Awardees are nominated based on their contribution to the betterment of women through scholarship, leadership and service.

The award was established by the Academic Women’s Caucus in memory of Sarah Goddard Power, a former regent who was a strong advocate for women within the university.