2014 Equity for Women Nominee – Dr. Deborah Hooker

The Women of Welch (WOW) Village strives to connect its students with strong, influential female role models. I am confident that I speak for the entire WOW Village when I articulate our gratitude and good fortune to have North Carolina State University’s own Dr. Deborah Hooker as one of our prominent role models and supporters.

Despite devoting countless hours to her dual role as a Teaching Associate Professor and Director of Women and Gender Studies at NC State, Dr. Hooker manages to regularly contribute to the development and growth of the entire WOW Village by serving as the Faculty Chair. To this day, she continues to be invaluable with her thorough knowledge of providing co-curricular resources to help the students of the WOW Village thrive. Recently, Dr. Hooker secured funding for a 200-level Women and Gender Studies course which has turned into an academic requirement for members of the WOW Village. Aside from securing funding, Dr. Hooker has taught the course and ensures that not only are members of the WOW Village able to take the course, but that they are all also able to take the same section of the course to encourage communication and collaboration.  Dr. Hooker coordinates the “Faculty Dinner Series” where NC State female faculty members are treated to a home cooked dinner by the WOW Village while exchanging ideas about female professional development, faculty research, and social justice issues. Deborah will be the faculty advisor on a spring break trip to NYC, where the Village will meet with various women’s empowerment and social justice organizations.

Dr. Hooker’s influence goes beyond curricular tie-ins. She is recognized for being critical to enhancing one of the WOW Village’s core strengths: intentional developmental programming. Recently, one of Dr. Hooker’s contributions to the WOW Village was forming a partnership with the Raleigh/Wake County branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). The partnership with this academic organization provides an opportunity for the WOW students to develop mentoring relationships with well-established professionals, network and become more involved with AAUW.

Dr. Hooker worked with AAUW to facilitate the “$tart $mart Salary Negotiation Workshop” for all NC State students. “$tart $mart Salary Negotiation Workshop” focuses on educating students about the gender wage gap and appropriate, professional ways to navigate a salary negotiation. Between her influence with AAUW and her passion for constantly improving the quality of programming offered by the WOW Village, it doesn’t come as a surprise as to why Dr. Hooker is well-respected by WOW Village students, staff, and campus partners across the board.

Anecdotal stories often convey more powerful meaning than simple prose. At 8:00 p.m. on the second day of class at NC State for the 2013-2014 academic year, Dr. Hooker volunteered her time to form a connection with the first-year and transfer students of the WOW Village. For the next hour, Dr. Hooker facilitated an intimate conversation about breaking down the preconceived notions of faculty and the college experience that first-year students often bring to the first day of classes. Topics included understanding academic expectations, ways to properly approach faculty members, and how to establish proper lines of communication with faculty. It was a treat for the students of the WOW Village to see a distinguished faculty member reach out to them during such a stressful time and genuinely offer advice in an effort to alleviate their fears and anxieties. When the students left the conversation, their reassured faces matched their heartened words of optimism about navigating their first semester of college. From my observations, they truly appreciated Dr. Hooker’s insight, warm personality, and assurance that she will always be both an advocate and support system for them.

This past semester, Dr. Hooker joined a group of WOW students and mentors to a performance in downtown Raleigh that dealt with the topic of abortion rights.  While the topic of the play fit nicely into the themes of the Village as well as the WGS 220 course that all the women are taking, we believe the true impact of that experience was the time and informal conversations had with Dr. Hooker.  Prior to the play starting Dr. Hooker shared her “past” life as a dancer, as well as a desire to take a clogging class now, as she may have found some students to join her.  In the van on the way home a reflection on the play led to mentorship and support provided by Dr. Hooker as students shared their experiences with sexism and inequity in the classroom.Here are  highlights of genuine feedback from the students of the WOW Village itself:

“When having conversations both in and out of class, Dr. Hooker always makes me feel heard and respected. It is obvious how much she truly values her students, and sometimes as a woman that is all you need to succeed. Having a role model as supportive and inspiring as her has made me more confident that I can do and be anything I aspire to, even on a sometimes overwhelmingly male-dominated campus.”

“Dr. Hooker has encouraged my learning outside of the classroom. She has sent me articles that she thinks I would be interested in, she loaned me a book over winter break and even asked for my suggestions and input on a class syllabus she was developing.”

“My friend and I have an unspoken rule ‘It’s not an accomplishment until Dr. Hooker knows.’ Dr. Hooker has certainly made Molly and me better students and leaders for WOW simply because we want her to be proud of us. Dr. Hooker has made NC State home for me.”

“Before I had even gone to orientation, Dr. Hooker emailed to welcome me and tell me about a class- LGBTQI literature- that she thought I would be interested in. There is nothing more affirming than knowing even before you arrive somewhere that there’s someone looking out for you. I had worried about what it would be like being a queer female at college, but after that email I felt a lot better.”

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

NC State Branding Bar