University of South Florida


Graphic that says, "USF celebrates women's history month"

Celebrating the women of USF

Norma Alcantar

Norma Alcantar

Professor and associate dean for research

College of Engineering

"My inspirations and aspirations were and will always be my mother and grandmother. Both were strong, resilient and caring women who encouraged and supported me to pursue my dreams as a scientist and educator. They both had been a positive influence in my life and career. My mother only finished her vocational degree as a secretary and started working as a teenager to supply for her family. She was a single mother providing for me, my sister, my grandmother and her siblings. My grandmother only learned to write and read after turning 50 years old, but she imparted wisdom daily. Both seeded and cultivated my curiosity, ingenuity, and determination. They are my heroines. Because of them, I am who I am today."

Barbara Cruz

Bárbara Cruz

Professor of social science education

College of Education

“The single most important and influential woman in my life is my mother, Elsa. Growing up, she had a multitude of Cuban sayings at the ready for seemingly every occasion. For example, ‘Todos los dias se aprende algo nuevo’ (Every day you learn something new) reminded me I am a lifelong learner, perpetually growing. But perhaps my favorite (and one I use frequently with my own daughters) is, ‘El diablo sabe mas por viejo que por diablo’ (The devil knows more because he is old than because he is the devil). We would all do well to seek out the wisdom, guidance and counsel from those who came before us – the combination of age and experience is powerful.”

Deborah DeWaay

Dr. Deborah DeWaay

Associate dean for undergraduate medical education and professor of internal medicine

USF Health Morsani College of Medicine

“My inspiration to push to the next level in whatever I am doing usually comes from an encounter with an everyday person that unexpectedly inspires me. These kindred spirits show up with an encouraging word, a solution to a problem or simply a good laugh. They constantly remind me of the paradox in humanity. Every person feels pain, love, fear and joy. Yet, we all have a unique journey that no other person can truly understand. That is the great paradox, we are all different and we are all the same. It is both. Every time our culture tries to make me choose to either believe we are all so different that we can’t relate to one another, or that we are all the same and the differences don’t matter, I remind myself that I don’t have to choose. It is both. Being brave enough to accept the paradox requires the humility to be alright with not completely understanding.”

Pamela Hollock Muller

Pamela HAllock Muller

Professor of geological oceanography and first female professor ever hired at the USF College of Marine Science.

College of Marine Science

“My inspiration is Margaret Mann, my grade school teacher from the one-room country school I attended in South Dakota. Mrs. Mann was a war bride from Scotland who was married to a local farmer. She was kind, thoughtful, accepting of all, and instilled a love of learning and the natural world. Because of her, my goal from my earliest memory was to be a teacher.”

Jennifer Kue

Jennifer kue

Associate professor

College of Nursing

"My greatest female role model is my mother, Ka Yang Kue, a Hmong refugee from Laos. She was one of seven children and the only female child to go to school. She went on to become a nurse and helped with the war efforts saving hundreds of lives including Hmong and Lao soldiers and civilians. She escaped war and began a new life in America, which then opened opportunities for the next generation. Her perseverance and resolute spirit serve as an inspiration in my everyday life."

Carol Osborne

Carol Osborne

Senior instructor and director of the Zimmerman Advertising Program

Muma College of Business

“Fortunately, one of my mentors was a powerful, influential executive who noticed me because she liked my writing in communications and pitches. Caroline John encouraged me to disrupt the status quo in marketing and affirmed that an ability to write clearly, for the audience, with relevance and enthusiasm, is linked to strategic thinking. As I started to enjoy some big successes, Caroline also taught me the importance of discussing my mistakes – rather than boasting about my wins – with fellow marketing professionals.”

Tina Piracci

Tina Piracci

Professor of art & design

Judy Genshaft Honors College

“I often think of the importance of little victories on the everyday with a quote from Jane Goodall, who I had the pleasure of meeting here at USF during my undergraduate career: ‘You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.’”

Diane Price-Herndl

Diane Price-Herndl

Professor and chair of the Department of Women's and Gender Studies

College of Arts and Sciences

“I can’t say that just one person inspired me. It was more a whole generation. People born between 1928 and 1945 are called ‘the Silent Generation,’ but a lot of the women and activists who I look up to have been anything but silent. I’m thinking here of activists like Angela Davis and Gloria Steinem, writers like Toni Morrison and Adrienne Rich, and a host of academic thinkers who founded Women’s Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Queer Studies, all born during those years and hardly ‘silent.’ As we celebrate 50 years of Women’s and Gender Studies at USF this year, I’ve thought a great deal about the generation that enacted the civil rights, women’s rights, and gay rights movements and been in awe of their courage and dedication to making the world a better, more inclusive one. I try to honor that vision and courage in my teaching and research.”

Alison Salloum

Alison Salloum

Professor in the School of Social Work

College of Behavioral and Community Sciences

“My grandmother, Fedwa Zarah Salloum, came to this county as a young girl from Lebanon shortly after the turn of the century. Like the story of many immigrants, Fedwa and her family were seeking safety and the opportunity for a better life. Fedwa worked hard, had a strong faith, loved and took care of her family, and helped others in need. She and her story are an inspiration to me.”

Ronee Wilson

Roneé E. Wilson

Assistant professor of reproductive and perinatal epidemiology 

College of Public Health

“I have always been inspired by Maya Angelou and she has many great quotes, but the one that is resonating the most with me right now is this one: ‘Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.’”

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