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Dr. Shannon Risk, professor of history and former director of the women’s studies program (left), and Dr. Carrie Glenn, assistant professor of history and current director (right) recognize Dr. Hope Russell for her 20 years of service to the program.

Dr. Hope Russell, adjunct professor at Niagara University, was honored for her 20 years of leadership and service to the women’s studies program during the program’s annual research contest awards ceremony on March 19, 2024.

“Dr. Russell arrived in 2004 ready to shape the program for the 21st century,” said Dr. Shannon Risk, professor of history and former director of the program. “Under her generous cultivation, the women’s studies minor grew to dozens of students, and young adults flourished in her academic care, inspired by her example, refining their professional goals to incorporate what they learned from her. Her efforts have been indomitable, and she has been a beacon of light all these years.”

Dr. Russell’s work, including developing programs for National Women’s History Month and establishing the women’s studies research contest, “brought fresh perspectives to the campus community,” and she has served on numerous campus committees and been involved in on-campus and off-campus events, especially those that matter most to students, Dr. Risk noted. She added that, in recent years, Dr. Russell has become an expert historian for the region, serving as director of education and interpretive planning and historian for the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area.

“Dr. Russell is one of the reasons I decided to come to Niagara,” said Kendra Steinbroner, a student in Dr. Russell’s Fairytale and Fantasy course. “We met at a WMS event before I was an enrolled student here and speaking with her sparked something in me and pushed me to enroll. She saw a light in me that not many other people do, and I will be eternally grateful toward her for that.”

“Dr. Russell has always made her office a safe space for me to talk,” said Preston Bartels, a history and religious studies major who interns with Dr. Russell at the Heritage Area. “Always kind and thoughtful, she accepted me into that internship and has continued to guide me through the ins and outs of historical research. Without Dr. Russell, I would not have been able to have the experiences I’ve had, and I am forever grateful to her."