Skip to main content
  • Home
  • News
  • Statler College announces 2022 Thriving Women Program recipients

Statler College announces 2022 Thriving Women Program recipients

Nagasree Garapati, Michelle Poland and Susie Huggins

Recipients of the 2022 Thriving Women Program (pictured left to right) Nagasree Garapati, Michelle Poland and Susie Huggins.

Pedro Mago, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University, has announced the recipients of the College’s Thriving Women Program grants, intended to empower female faculty and staff to advance in their professional careers through individual or community transformation.

Story by Olivia Miller, Communications Specialist


“One of my priorities as dean is to provide faculty and staff with a positive and optimistic environment that encourages world-class teaching, interdisciplinary and collaborative research and innovation, and outreach where each individual can thrive and be a proud member of our college,” Mago said. “I will continue fostering initiatives, such as the Thriving Women Program, that provide opportunities for our faculty and staff to mentor, enhance, and advance the sense of community in our College." 

The program, designed by Cerasela Zoica Dinu, associate dean for student, faculty, and staff engagement and chairperson of the Statler College Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and Mago, was funded by dedicated alumna Dianne Anderson. The program offers support of up to $2,000 for three applicants over a one-year period. 

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to continue to acknowledge these wonderful women—faculty and staff of the Statler College—who craft their work to be even more meaningful and impactful,” Dinu said. “Through the active endowment from our alumna Dianne Anderson, we can provide sustainability to our stakeholders to advance their exceptional commitment to leading, mentoring and making a difference in our community. They thrive by engaging their passion to generate new paths for success and we are proud to be able to support them and their endeavors.” 

Nagasree Garapati, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, will use the grant to enhance her professional development by participating in a Harvard Business School online course in leadership principles. The six-week course will give Garapati the opportunity to practice and build greater self-awareness, explore adapting leadership styles to meet specific challenges and develop techniques and share feedback to increase team performance. 

“I am thankful to have received this grant so I can achieve this milestone in my professional career and nurture high-performing teams,” Garapati said. “I hope to develop leadership skills in meaningful and effective ways to optimize success in my career.” 

Garapati is also the chairperson for the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering’s DEI Committee and is currently the principal investigator of a highly collaborative Department of Energy project, which includes industry and national lab partners.  

Michelle Poland, director of the Statler College Advising Center and academic adviser, will use the grant to support her travel to the National Academic Advising Association’s Administrators Institute in February 2023. Participants of the Institute will develop action plans under guidance of Institute faculty that focus on a key issue or concern that they would like to make significant changes and improvements to within their university, college, or unit.   

“I am incredibly honored to be selected for this grant.  It is wonderful to know that the leadership within our college is happy to support not only the growth of our Advising Center, but also my personal growth,” Poland said. “I am grateful for the confidence in my future successes. I have learned so much about teamwork and the value of support from leadership during my time with the Statler College, and it is incredibly rewarding to feel the genuine interest and celebration in my personal success.” 

Susie Huggins, administrative assistant in the Fundamentals of Engineering Program, plans to distribute books related to engineering to the free Little Libraries across Preston County as well as the local high school media center. Huggins will also begin the lifelong dream of achieving a PhD in Education this fall with support and networking from the Thriving Women Program.  

“This program is a fabulous opportunity for women like me to build my network of resources, experts and mentors,” Huggins said. “I am wildly excited and honored to receive this grant to help place children’s engineering books in the hands of youth through the Little Libraries across Preston County to promote literacy, imagination and critical thinking skills. These books will help children dream of and succeed in fabulous career opportunities of the future.” 



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office:

Phone: 304-293-4135