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March 21, 2019

YWCA Women of Achievement Awards to honor SVSU staff, students, alumni

Four Women LeadersSeven members of the Saginaw Valley State University community are among 17 women the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region will honor today for their leadership and contributions to social causes across the area.

The 2019 YWCA Women of Achievement Awards ceremony is scheduled Wednesday, March 20, at 5 p.m. at Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw Township.

Three members of SVSU’s staff and one student are among those who will be honored. They include the following:

  • Linda Sims, executive director of communications and external affairs, will also be recognized as a 2019 Women of Achievement Award recipient for her contributions as a community leader. Prior to beginning in her current position at SVSU in 2015, Sims worked in a variety of public relations roles at Consumers Energy for 30 years. Her history with SVSU goes back just as far. She served on the SVSU Board of Control from 1998-2005, including a term as chairperson. She received the SVSU Distinguished Service Award in 2006. She and her husband, Larry Sims, in 1989 established the SVSU Sims Public Speaking Contest.
  • Helen Raica-Klotz, director of the SVSU Writing Center, will be recognized as one of 10 recipients of the 2019 Women of Achievement Award for her contributions to education. Along her work with the Writing Center on campus, Raica-Klotz helped establish community writing centers in both Bay and Saginaw counties in recent years to help residents there seeking writing-based support. Raica-Klotz joined SVSU as a lecturer of English in 1998 and became Writing Center director in 2013.
  • Joni Boye-Beaman, special assistant to the provost, will be one of the three recipients of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award. Boye-Beaman — who arrived at SVSU in 2000 as a member of its sociology faculty — possesses over 25 years of experience collaborating with colleagues, students and community partners on a wide variety of research and service learning projects. She was the recipient of a 2018 Community Relations Citation from the Saginaw Police Department for her work with students focused on developing policies to better respond to victims of violent crimes.
  • Emma Kirsch, a student at SVSU, will be recognized as one of four recipients of the 2019 Emerging Leader Award. Kirsch is an early childhood and elementary education double major from Saginaw. At SVSU in 2018, she was selected as one of 10 participants in the highly-competitive Roberts Fellowship Program, a year-long leadership development initiative. Kirsch this year was named a recipient of the East Central Writing Association annual tutor award for her work as a tutor with SVSU’s Writing Center. 

Three other 2019 YWCA Women of Achievement Awards recipients are part of SVSU’s community, including one former Board of Control member and two alumna. They include the following:

  • Leola Wilson, a member of SVSU’s Board of Control from 2005-13, will receive a 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award. Along with her service to the university, Wilson’s involvement in the community includes her work as president of Saginaw’s chapter of the NAACP from 1998 until her retirement this year.
  • Lisa Coney, a social worker with the Saginaw Intermediate School District, will receive a 2019 Women of Achievement Award for her efforts in social justice. Coney earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from SVSU in 1992 and serves on the university’s Alumni Association Board of Directors.
  • Alice Stricker, who retired in 2012 as a Spanish instructor with the Frankenmuth School District after more than 20 years in K-12, will receive a 2019 Women of Achievement Award for her work in education. Stricker earned a master’s degree in teaching from SVSU in 1997 and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the university in 1988.

For more information on the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region and its Women of Achievement Awards, please visit