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Women of ‘Noke

Written by Zach Dalton

This month is a very important month in terms of month-long celebrations. March marks the celebration of Women’s History. There have been tons of achievements and remarkable moments led by women throughout our history and it is key to recognize that. With all of that being said, this issue we here at the Brackety-Ack have decided to do something special for Folks at ‘Noke. This issue we will be covering three of the many, many great women at the college who are doing something remarkable.

First up is senior Emily Ball, a Criminal Justice major with a Spanish minor. She participates in many organizations on campus, such as Young Life, Roanoke Republicans, and the Washington Semester internship program. However, she credited the Track and Field program as one of her biggest accomplishments. During her sophomore year at RC she tore her ACL and meniscus requiring surgery which put her out for 6 to 9 months. By the time she was able to compete again her junior year, like others, got cut short due to Covid-19. “These events, especially coming back junior year from a year of not running, was tough mentally,” Ball remarked. As of March 20th the track team was able to have their first Outdoor meet at Washington and Lee. “I had to learn how to push through all the pain and anger I felt about my knee and missing track,” Ball explained, “and learned how to use my fear to motivate my training.” During that meet Ball had great performances, most notably running a 60.19 second 400, meaning her motivation worked. “Life is just a mental game,” Ball said, “instead of letting it control me I tell myself that I have been through worse and that by pushing through I will only get better.” When asked if she had any advice to give people Emily offered this wisdom, “if you want to do something, make it happen. If you want to travel, do it. If you want to start a club, do it. If you [want] learn a new skill, do it. Your life is yours and yours alone, and being at Roanoke provides you with the opportunities to do anything you want, don’t waste it! Live life to the fullest, don’t compare yourself to other people, be confident, be humble, work hard, and have fun!”

Up next we have a junior from the US Virgin Islands, Roanoke College’s very own Jenna Canegata! She is currently studying Chemistry, “I am a woman in STEM,” she remarked. Canegata is involved with many things on campus as well, like Res Life as a RA and working for CAB. This past Fall semester Jenna joined the sorority Chi Omega and currently serves as their first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair (DEI Chair). Due to the infancy of the position Canegata has not been able to do much, but she does have plans for the position. “I am currently working with OMA to begin DEI training within the sorority,” she explained, “[m]y plans for this position are to make Chi Omega an even safer space for all women no matter what their background is.” Jenna added, “I want all the sororities on campus to be more inclusive so any woman who wants to join an organization can.” When asked if there were any women who inspire here throughout history Jenna stated, “I have always found it so motivating and interesting to learn about women in STEM. Their success has paved the road for me and any other girl studying STEM to know we are capable of doing anything you set your mind to.” At the conclusion of the interview Jenna offered this advice to people, “To make a difference you have to be your most authentic self and your intentions have to be true and pure. There are going to be times when you hit a wall, but you are the only person who can climb over them. I always remind myself that I can do whatever I put my mind to and if I need help I know that my friends, family, and even my sisters will be there for me because they want to see me succeed.”

To wrap up this showcase we turned to the faculty and met Dr. Anita Turpin. Dr. T described herself as “a 1970s first-generation college student who will forever carry the hills of my home place of Kentucky in my heart,” she added, “I am Grandma to 7-year-old Orla and 4-year-old Molly.” To the Roanoke College though she is a well-known professor of Communication Studies since 1989. Dr. T humbly told Brackety-Ack, “I have not accomplished anything on my own, but I have been a part of a community that loves learning and loves students and loves learning with students.” She was originally brought in as a professor to the Communications Concentration at the time…she now teaches in the Communications Studies program, so it is fair to assume she played a major part in growing this program into what it is now over the past 30 years. She added, “I have loved being part of the growth of this vital field of study at RC.” When asked how she has made an impact at Roanoke Dr. T remarked fondly of her parents, “• I learned from my Pa… to try to treat everyone fairly and equally and I learned from my Ma… to meet everyone with love.” Dr. T went on to say, “I have tried to follow their lead in every interaction I have had with my students. If I have had any impact at RC, I hope it has been a positive one for all those students.” When asked if she had advice to give people to make a difference as she has, Dr. T admitted, “I don’t have an answer for this… I don’t know how to answer it.” She then offered a revision to simply ask what advice she would give people to which she answered, “listen at least once to Disturbed’s cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence.” Advice that this reporter will definitely echo.