Every March, in celebration of Women's History Month, the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, in partnership with the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and the Miami-Dade Commission for Women, present the In the Company of Women Awards, which recognize Miami-Dade County women leaders and their contributions to the community.
This year, two of FIU’s faculty members were honored.
Biochemist Yuk-Ching Tse-Dinh, founding director of the Biomolecular Sciences Institute and the Translational Molecular Discoveries (TMD) program, was given the Science and Technology Award; and Suzanna M. Rose, founding associate provost of the Office to Advance Women, Equity & Diversity, was given the Education and Research Award.
Tse-Dinh considers herself honored to be a recipient, joining an elite group of women who have been acknowledged for their dedication to improving the lives of women.
“The In the Company of Women Awards recognize and celebrate the achievements, leadership and contribution of amazing women from all walks of life,” she says. “The awards provide inspiration for girls and young women to be the best they can be.”
Now in its 32nd year, the inaugural group of women for the awards included notable pioneers such as Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Athalie Range and Gloria Stefan, who played crucial roles in paving new paths for women. Today, their work is being carried on by people like Rose, who has been involved in the fight for gender equality for years.
“As a graduate student, mentorship support was thin for me while male counterparts played poker and tennis with the male faculty to build a network that would last a lifetime,” she offers as an example. “It has been my mission to advocate for women and inclusion, as it has been the mission of the other women who have received it prior to me. This award is a welcome acknowledgement of the importance of that mission.”
Rose is responsible for running FIU ADVANCE, a five-year, $3.2 million National Science Foundation Institutional Transformation grant aimed at developing strategies to increase the number of women and minority professors in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and the social and behavioral sciences (SBS) at FIU.
Tse-Dinh is also no stranger to breaking the glass ceiling. She is the first woman at FIU to achieve a top leadership position in research as director of the TMD program, and is a staunch advocate for women, especially women in the sciences.
Tse-Dinh's advice to those women seeking to create a career in that traditionally male-dominated field?
“If science is your passion, do not be discouraged by roadblocks or rejections. Follow your dream of making discoveries that will bring you joy and can advance our scientific knowledge–and make a difference in people's lives.”
Past FIU winners include Ora Strickland, dean of Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences; Ranu Jung, professor and chair of biomedical engineering, Wallace H. Coulter Eminent Scholars chair in biomedical engineering; Yesim Darici, assistant provost, STEM and director of Center for Women's and Gender Studies; Aileen Marty, professor of infectious diseases at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine; Carol Damian, professor of art history and former director of the Frost Art Museum; Suzanne Koptur, professor of biology; and Marilyn Hoder-Salmon, former director of the Women’s Studies Program.
Suzanna M. Rose