“She Served”

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Exhibit kicks off Women’s History Month

KENNESAW‚ Ga. (February 24, 2016) — In 1976, when Congress authorized women to attend U.S. military service academies, Maria Britt, Kennesaw State’s vice president for operations, was a high school freshman. Her dad sat her down and asked her to consider applying, convincing her it was a chance to serve “a higher calling and greater good.” 

Though she encountered a West Point where latrine signs had to be flipped from male to female and where her squad leader’s disappointment showed when he realized the rank and last name listed belonged to a woman, now retired Maj. Gen. Britt said attending “was the best decision of my life.”

Britt’s image and recollections of her 28-year military career are part of “She Served,” a new exhibit depicting more than 188 photographic images of women military veterans and service members among Kennesaw State’s faculty, staff, students and extended family. The exhibit opens with a reception in the Social Sciences Atrium at the Kennesaw Campus on March 1 at 4 p.m.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is a 5-foot mosaic with the faces of more than 60 women who have served in all branches of the military over the past 70 years in conflicts from World War II through Afghanistan and in peace time. The images are printed on a fabric panel, artfully illustrated in the form of a woman service member saluting in front of an American flag. Viewers will also be able to access a podcast of seven oral histories of the women’s service. 

The exhibit is the brainchild of Raeanna Duck, transition coordinator for Kennesaw State’s Military and Veterans Services unit of Student Success Services and Shemeka Wilson, director of the Women’s Resource Center. They partnered with University Information Technology Services’ Michael Leitmann and Jennifer Leifheit-Little to design the visual and audio components of the exhibit, and with Catherine Lewis, assistant vice president of Museums, Archives and Rare Books, who served as consultant to the project.

“My hope is that this exhibit will raise awareness and appreciation of the women who fight for our freedom, acknowledging the specific sacrifices that women choose to endure for our nation,” said Duck, who served as a medic in the U.S. Army. “Even with progress in gender equality in the military, it is still a very different experience for women, both while serving and as veterans.”

Britt, the first female head of the Georgia National Guard, will deliver the keynote address at the March 1 opening. Representative of all military branches will also appear as guests. The public is invited to view the exhibit, which will be on display through March. A mobile device is required to listen to the oral history podcasts while viewing the exhibit. The podcast is also available at http://sheservedksu.com/.  

More Women’s History Month highlights at Kennesaw State

  • March 1, 6 p.m.

 Joe Mack Wilson Student Center Ballroom, Marietta Campus

“Women Who Are Making History,”apanel discussion of women working in traditionally underrepresented career paths, especially in STEM fields, will explore whether women have equal access to careers and the barriers to success they face.Panelists include:

Maria Britt, associate vice president for operations at Kennesaw State University, retired major general of the Georgia Army National Guard and founding president of the Georgia chapter of Women in Defense;

Ellen Long, president and founder of Long Engineering, Inc. in Atlanta, who earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Vanderbilt University;

Sarah Massagee,  a Southern Polytechnic State University Game Design and Development alum who has worked at Trick 3D and Hi-Rez studios, and is currently president of the Atlanta chapter of the Georgia Game Developers Association and founding president of the Advancement of Women in Gaming;

Tanjalon Solomon, an IT business consultant at Turner Broadcasting who earned a Master of Science degree in information technology at Southern Polytechnic State and B.A. in Mathematics and Economics from Agnes Scott;

Catherine Waters, a Southern Polytechnic State alum with a degree in industrial engineering technology, who is president of Southeastern Gas Engineering. and who is a member of The Polytechnic Foundation of KSUboard of directors.

A Q&A and pizza dinner will follow the panel discussion.   

  • March 18, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 KSU Center, 3333 Busbee Drive, Kennesaw, Ga. 30144

The 16th annual “Phenomenal Women’s Conference,” organized by the Siegel Institute for Leadership, Ethics and Character, will present a series of forums on topics related to women’s professional and personal development. In addition to its annual awards presentation, this year’s conference on the theme “Transitions in Life” will feature a keynote address by Katie Hart Smith, a 2015 Georgia Author of the Year nominee and author of “Couch Time with Carolyn.”  She will discuss “Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary” during major life transitions.

Find a full conference agenda and registration information at http://siegelinstitute.kennesaw.edu/programming-events/pwc.php

─ Sabbaye McGriff