Bernadette Mencke with her winner's bouquet

For the third year in a row, a College of Education graduate student has been named a Washington State University Woman of Distinction. Bernadette Mencke was honored today in Pullman, along with payroll services staff member Alice Smethurst and psychology faculty member Rebecca Craft.

Bernadette, who expects to receive her Ph.D. in higher education administration in December, is also associate director of the WSU Office of Student Conduct. Her many activities have included serving as a student regent, as chairperson for the Coalition for Women Students, and as executive cabinet member for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

When asked by a Daily Evergreen reporter for her thoughts on the award, she responded with gratitude to her adviser, Professor Michael Pavel, who nominated her. He told the awards committee:  “Bernadette impresses me with both her determination to learn about and nurture the climate here at WSU … (She) is a wonderful woman who has the courage and motivation to take on the challenges of working in a world afflicted by inequality.”

Education grad students Joan O’viawe (2009 Woman of the Year) and Xyanthe Neider (2008 Woman of Distinction) were honored at the last two Women’s Recognition Luncheons. (For a full list of winners since 1998, see the Women’s Resource Center pages.)

Michael Pavel
was in the news himself last week, commenting on Washington schools’ efforts to reclassify families by ethnicity as part of new state guidelines.  The professor, who with his WSU colleagues wrote a report on the Native American educational achievement gap in Washington, hopes the move establishes meaningful relationships between tribal families and their schools and teachers. Read the articles at and The Olympian.

Rural Education Center director Jim Kowalkowski, who was featured last week in the EduCoug, got his own byline in the Seattle Times with his article Rural schools are effective and don’t need consolidation.  The March 19 opinion piece took issue with the newspaper’s editorial on the subject.