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The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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    CSU students share the women they find most inspiring

    March 1 was the beginning of more than just the third month of 2018; it was the beginning of Women’s History Month.

    Five women
    An illustration of (clockwise ) Serena Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Hilary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and Malala Yousafzai (Illustration by Sam Shepardson | Collegian)

    Whether students at Colorado State University are aware or not, their lives are impacted by women every day. Blanche Hughes is the University’s vice president for student affairs, Anne Hudgens serves as the executive director of the Health Network, Mary Ontiveros works as the vice president for diversity and there are countless others at the University alone.


    However, there are more empowering women than just here on campus, and students are more than happy to identify the women they find particularly inspiring.

    “I would say Serena Williams,” senior anthropology major Clara Oakley said. “She’s one of the only Black women to achieve as many Grand Slam titles as she has.”

    Williams has won 39 Grand Slam titles, the last of which, she achieved while carrying a child.

    Oakley also noted that she particularly appreciates Williams because some male tennis players put her down, but she rises through it all.

    Additionally, Oakley mentioned her sister, Maddie.

    “She’s pursuing her Ph.D. at (Georgetown University) in linguistics,” Oakley said. “She helped me get through hardships in my college career.”

    Matthew Freeman, a senior political science major, was stuck between two women: Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey.

    “They’re both powerhouses,” Freeman said. “I think I’d go with Oprah though because she’s done more for at-risk children.”

    Clinton made history as the first female presidential candidate endorsed by a major party in America and won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election.


    “I would say Serena Williams,” said Clara Oakley, a senior studying anthropology. “She’s one of the only Black women to achieve as many grand slam titles as she has.”-Clara Oakley, student

    Winfrey, the famed journalist and activist, recently accepted the Cecil B. deMille Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press, an award for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment,” according to the Golden Globe’s website. Her politically charged acceptance speech stirred rumors of a future presidential run, but Winfrey quickly shot them down, saying she’d prefer to work as an activist.

    As far as a woman in his own life, Freeman quickly named his mother, “of course.”

    “She’s always been there for me and has given me tons of support,” Freeman noted.

    Similarly, Zamzam Mohammed, a senior journalism major, cites her mother as an inspiration.

    “She’s the most resilient woman in my life,” Mohammed said. “I look up to her because she moved away from her family during a time of civil war right after high school and made a life for herself.”

    Mohammed also said that she finds Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai inspiring because she “took unfortunate events in her life and turned them into opportunities to help and advocate for other young girls who are going through similar situations,” she said.

    Widely known as “Malala,” she wrote under a pen name for BBC about life under the Taliban when young girls were banned from attending school. Since then, Yousafzai has worked as a famed activist for women’s rights and education around the world.

    Amber Griego, a sophomore English major, also said that her mom is her inspiration.

    “She’s a really strong woman who doesn’t take sh*t from anyone,” Griego noted. “She’s very vocal and independent.”

    Women’s History Month was established by Congress in 1987

    Women’s History Month is also practiced in Australia, Canada and the U.K.

    Ben Frazier, a sophomore economics student, cites Senator Elizabeth Warren as an inspirational woman.

    “She’s got a Ph.D. in Economics,” Frazier explained. “She knows how the world actually works.”

    Warren recently became a prominent figure in the recent influx within the feminist movement when she attempted to filibuster the Senate confirmation of Jeff Sessions, giving birth to the phrase “nevertheless, she persisted.”

    Frazier also noted an appreciation for his sisters.

    “They work really hard,” Frazier said. “I don’t.”

    Collegian reporter Nate Day can be reached at or on Twitter @NateMDay

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