Women's Philanthropic Leadership Circle Awards

The Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle Honors Inspiration and Achievement

On June 12, the Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle (WPLC) at the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) honored a group of women nominated by their peers for their leadership and outstanding contributions to  academics, research, service, and teaching.

Below are a few of the award winners. The  full list of WPLC award nominees is available online. Some of the esteemed nominees are also featured on ImprovingLives.org, including Lindsey Weiler, Madeleine Orr and Michelle Brown.

Rising Star Faculty Award

Faith Miller, Educational Psychology

Faith Miller’s research is focused on the implementation of evidence-based practices in schools, particularly as it relates to improving outcomes for children who experience social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties.

Faith is a first-generation college graduate, and is highly engaged in service and scholarship that makes a difference for children at risk for low academic achievement, expulsion, and other barriers to school completion. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Western Connecticut State University, and went on to earn a master of education and Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University.


Graduate Student Award – Doctoral

Sandra Ayoo, Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development

Sandra Ayoo’s career goal is to become an international expert in impact assessment and principles-based evaluation. Prior to coming to Minnesota, Sandra worked for nearly eight years as an external program evaluator in Uganda and has led several policy and program evaluation consultancies on international development for governments and international organizations in 21 African countries and North America.

Sandra earned a bachelor’s degree from Makerere University, and a master’s degree in rural development from the University of East Anglia. She is currently a doctoral student in evaluation studies with an interest in the professionalization of the evaluation field.


Graduate Student Award – Master’s

Paola Schnabel, School of Social Work

Paola Schnabel’s goal is to develop a better understanding of how violence and trauma can affect prenatal and neonatal mothers, and how social determinants of health can impede equitable access to care. In the future, Paola hopes to work with families of color and continue her involvement in social justice efforts.

Paola earned a bachelor’s from Beloit College, and is now on track to earn a dual master’s degree in Social Work and Public Health.

The WPLC seeks to create a welcoming environment that provides resources and support to develop women leaders and philanthropists through the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Development (CEHD). To date, the WPLC has grown to more than 50 members and provides more than $25,000 in annual scholarships and faculty awards. Since its founding in 2002, the Circle has raised a half million dollars in current and estate gifts, and given more than $200,000 in awards, scholarships and special project funding.

To learn more about the WPLC, visit our website.

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