News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 12, 2013

Ten Women of Influence

Here is how they were described at Thursday’s recognition event


TERRE HAUTE — As each of the 2013 Women of Influence were honored at Thursday morning’s ceremony in O’Shaughnessy Hall at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, a brief biography was read about each woman by either Troy Fears, executive director of the United Way of the Wabash Valley, or Scott Teffeteller, president and CEO of Union Hospital.

The statements are as follows:

• Nancy Brattain Rogers -- A woman who dedicates her career to engaging university students, faculty and staff of Indiana State University in to making a difference in our community, this Woman of Influence serves as ISUs Vice President for Community Engagement and Experiential Learning. She is a primary leader of ISU’s efforts to become a university that is recognized for their outstanding community engagement contributions. She is also a Full Professor (part of the mere 30 percent of female faculty) who has achieved this rank.

 She mentors students and fellow faculty and staff, helps them to obtain a work/life balance.  This Woman of Influence enthusiastically co-chairs the initiation of the Success by Six programs in the Wabash Valley and serves on the UW Board of Directors. She is dedicated to the Wabash River Development and Beautification, Inc., the Wabash Valley Community Foundation, Terre Haute Downtown Rotary Club, Catholic Charities, and Centenary United Methodist Church.

• Terri Hill — A woman who cares deeply about the health and well being of her community, this Woman of Influence serves as the Vice President / Administrator of Union Hospital-Clinton which serves residents of Parke and Vermillion counties. She developed her passion of caring for others at a young age and continued to nurture this passion and further educate herself to obtain the role she has today. Responsible for ensuring that Parke and Vermillion county residents have local access to quality care and services, she continues to work diligently to ensure the hospital meets national standards.

 She is an active member on the Indiana Hospital Association’s Central Southwest District Board, a member of the Indiana Rural Health Association, and active in fundraising for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She has worked to establish a health center in Vermillion County that provides care to medically underserved residents and a health bus program that provides medical care to the schools.


• Sister Connie Kramer, S.P. — A woman who gives so many people a reason to smile, this Woman of Influence had a vision to be a servant leader with a desire to increase the quality of life in the Wabash Valley. Her vision included the creation of Saint Ann Medical Clinic, Saint Ann Community Outreach Services and Saint Ann Dental Services. Having acted as a Pastoral Leader for 21 years to the Community of Saint Ann Parish, she ran the programs and clinic overseeing every detail involved in creating a state of the art medical/dental facility which served the poor who were in need of emergency dental repair.

 A member of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, she serves as a Trustee of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and has been a member of the Closing the Meal Gap Catholic Charities Campaign Steering Committee. She embraces her field of pastoral ministry to develop life-giving services, experiences, and opportunities to our community.


• Mary Kramer -- This Women of Influence uses her immense knowledge of the arts to better our community. She works diligently to ensure that communities are aesthetically graced with the presence of outdoor public sculptures. Serving as the Executive Director of Art Spaces, she engages the public in seeing their communities through art.

 She is responsible for securing private funding for 12 commissioned sculptures located thought the City of Terre Haute. She strives to bring awareness to the arts while at the same time creating partnerships with entities that see art as a vehicle bringing beauty and revitalization to their communities. In addition to also being a working artist featured in more than twenty exhibitions, she spends much time mentoring interns, employees and young artists. Responsible for procuring numerous grants each year, she also serves on the Regional Advisory Council of Arts Illiana, and on the boards for Crossroads Reparatory Theater, TREES Inc, as well as many others.


• Jackie Lower -- A woman who is always eager to find new ways to give back to her community, this Woman of Influence serves as an elected official. She had been an employee of the school corporation for 35 years and held such positions as a teacher, dean of students, and a case conference coordinator. As a current elected Vigo County School Board Trustee, she has held positions on the school boards as Deputy Secretary and President.

 She continues to mentor those around her and is passionate about the Wabash Valley Community Foundation where she has spent years dedicating time first as a board member, then as President, and currently sit as the Asset Development Committee Chair. She also serves on the Day Nursery Board and Grant Distribution Committee. She was part of the original planning committee and a charter member of 100 Women Who Care. She also volunteers hours to the Riverscape committee. A lifelong Hautian with a real feeling of needing to give back, she is noted for changing the lives and organizations that she touches.


• Susan Smith Roads — A woman who helped nearly 40,000 students with math and science homework just last year, this Woman of Influence founded and serves as the Director of Rose-Hulman’s Homework Hotline which reinforces classroom concepts and promotes an interest in math and science to students grades 6-12.

 The popularity of the program continues to grow and thanks to her superior ability to write and obtain nearly $10 million in grants, the program now serves all 92 counties in the state of Indiana. In addition to her dedication to the Homework Hotline, she has spent 26 years as the Director of the Rose-Hulman Learning Center and is an Assistant Professor of English.

 Recognized for her community leadership and involvement both locally and statewide, she also finds time to mentor young students and employees. She is a member of the Exchange Club, Union Hospital Service League, Woman’s Department Club, PEO, and Unity Presbyterian Church.

• Jeri Stark — This Women of Influence has dedicated 33 years of her life to mentoring young females as a School Dean of Students. A two-time winner of the Excellence in Education Award and a Lion’s Club Educator of the Year Award, her greatest accomplishment is seeing all girls earn their required credits to graduate from school and become successful members of society.

 Her dedication to her career is evident through her involvement with mentoring the students through life crisis such as teen pregnancy, child abuse, divorce, alcoholism, loss of a loved one, and even lack of medical attention, food, and shelter. With a desire to counsel them in overcoming these obstacles, she has gained tremendous respect from the students she serves. With a goal of helping every student leave with a diploma in hand, she motivates and inspires each girl. A supporter and contributor to organizations and as a member of her church, she is noted for her dedication to helping turn young women into successful adults.


• Claudia Tanoos -- A woman who has worked diligently for 18 years bringing economic growth to the Terre Haute/Vigo County area, this Woman of Influence is Vice President of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation. With a deep passion for her community and children, she displays leadership by her work as a director and now President of the Terre Haute Children’s Museum Board of Directors. She worked with Fuqua Elementary Grade School officials to implement a Perfect Attendance Award and chairs the Benefit Bowl in which proceeds go to the Vigo County Education Foundation.

 She is a longtime advocate for UW. She was first to chair the Professional Women’s Group, a seat on the UW Campaign Cabinet. Through this role she implemented the Power of the Purse event which benefits UW’s Success by 6 programs. And she just completed her role for UW as she was the 2012 Campaign Chair. During her role as Campaign Chair she implemented several new fundraising and awareness events including Shop United and Race the Punter with NFL NY Giants punter, Steve Weatherford. She is very involved in St. George Church and is noted for her passion to support organizations that benefit children.


• Carolyn Tyler Roberts -- A woman known as the veteran African American teacher in Vigo County, this Woman of Influence taught elementary school prior to serving 17 years as the first African American counselor at Terre Haute North. Now serving as a Diversity Consultant for the Vigo County School Corporation, her involvement with the youth spans over 40 years.  She is the founder and director of TUFF (Teaming Up For the Future), an organization that mentors high school boys and is also the director of PASS (Parents are Successful Students) which mentors pregnant teenagers to become good mothers.

 Determined to prepare students both educationally and emotionally for their futures, she has also given to the Terre Haute community by serving as a Girl Scouts Board Member, Advisory Board for Vigo County Group Homes, Community Relations Board for the Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary, the Hyte Center, and is a 65-year member of the Second Missionary Baptist Church.

• Roberta Weliever -- A woman with 31 years of teaching experience, this Woman of Influence made a promise to her students - that she would help build them a skate park in Clay County. After retirement in 2007, she immediately began work on the project by fundraising and writing grants, successfully being awarded a grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation and matching grants from the Wabash Valley Community Foundation.

 Thanks to additional donations and countless in-kind donations to help build the park, the Opening Ceremony is planned for this spring! Also working as the leader for the Gifted and Talented Imagination Destination program for the Clay Community School Corporation, Children’s Education Director at First United Methodist Church, Current President of the Beta Psi Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Teacher’s Society, active member of Kappa Kappa Kappa and a mentor to students and student teachers alike, this Clay County resident is noted for the risks she has taken to better her community.