Carolina women we admire

In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked nearly two-dozen students and faculty and staff members on campus what woman at Carolina inspires them.

Who is a woman at Carolina who inspires you? In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked that question to nearly two-dozen students and faculty and staff members on campus. The answers were wide-ranging and immediate.

For Kya Sorli, a junior astrophysics major, inspiration has come from Sheila Kannappan, associate professor of physics and astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences. “She just was willing to kind of take me under her wing and help me grow,” Sorli said. “That’s responsible for a huge amount of my success and then later on, research in astrophysics.”

Senior Pooja Panduranga named Angie Matos, a community director at Hinton James residence hall and Panduranga’s supervisor in Carolina’s Department of Housing and Residence Life.

“She’s taught me to not be afraid, to ask for what I want, how to stand up for being a woman, how to stand up for being a woman of color,” Panduranga said.

For some of those interviewed, peers provided the most inspiration. That includes Steve Knotek, an associate professor in the School of Education. He said he admires his colleague, professor emerita Barbara Wasik, who helped establish Carolina’s School Psychology program. Sophomore Adina Girmay said her friends helped her become a better version of herself.

First-year student Tarik Woods learned a lot from Rebecka Rutledge Fisher, associate professor of English and comparative literature in the College of Arts and Sciences. Rutledge Fisher taught Woods’ English 129 class but the lessons that stick with him the most are ones that reach beyond the classroom.

“She really made me think hard about decisions that I made, what judgments I made, and how that would affect other people,” Woods said.