Monday, December 5, 2022

Female students hopeful for future of MSU under Woodruff's interim leadership

November 21, 2022
<p>Provost Teresa Woodruff at the Board of Trustees special meeting on Oct. 31, 2022. Provost Woodruff was appointed as Interim President replacing President Samuel L. Stanley Jr, following his resignation on Oct. 12, 2022.</p>

Provost Teresa Woodruff at the Board of Trustees special meeting on Oct. 31, 2022. Provost Woodruff was appointed as Interim President replacing President Samuel L. Stanley Jr, following his resignation on Oct. 12, 2022.

Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez | The State News

Interim president Teresa Woodruff is a woman with diverse talents. Her background in science and leadership has led her to be an inspiration for various female empowerment groups on campus.

She came to MSU in August 2020 as provost. Her background in biological sciences, ovarian biology and reproductive science helped her specialize and merge the two fields of oncology and fertility. She even created her own term: “oncofertility.” All of these accomplishments have given her a foundation to be prepared for the role she has stepped into.

Woodruff continues to get rave reviews in the interactions she has had with different student groups. Sarah Downing, a member of MSU's Prevention, Outreach and Education, or POE, department said her interaction with Woodruff was heartwarming.

Woodruff even bought a POE shirt and wore it around campus.

“She was very enthusiastic," Downing said. "She was telling us she really appreciates our work and that she wants to be involved ... I knew it's a very brief encounter, but she was just basically telling us that she values our work and she wants us to continue and she will help us in any way that she can."

President of the Society of Women Engineers Noelle Kurien said Woodruff's leadership could be inspiring for the club's members.

“I do feel like she has a lot of potential for benefiting our clubs and showing, especially our younger members that you know, it's possible for women to reach high places,” Kurien said. 

Alyssa Konesky is currently involved in the Jewish Student Union on campus, the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and a representative for the College of Social Science in ASMSU. Through these different communities, she has been able to be a part of campus and establish a foundation for different levels of inclusion all throughout campus. 

"Being involved is a way for me to better my environment and the places around me as well as the people around me. A lot of the things I do on campus are very advocacy based,” Konesky said. 

She also has had the opportunity to listen to Woodruff speak and feels as though she holds some of the same morals. 

“She's really keen on improving university in the way that she can with the way that it was given to her," Konesky said. "But she's really trying to help the students.” 

Riley Spalding is the current president of Women in STEM at MSU. She said she appreciates the inspiring female advisors in her own program.

Women in STEM is an organization on campus focusing on empowering and connecting undergraduate women who are in different science, technology, engineering or math fields. The group addresses issues pertaining to women when they enter traditionally male-dominated fields. 

Spalding has listened to Woodruff speak twice and said she already feels support from Woodruff.

“Because of her background and she is extremely supportive of the club, and I've gotten to talk to her personally a few times just about the club and how she thinks his cause is so important and she understands it, especially being a woman in a STEM background," Spalding said. 

Spalding said she is hopeful for the future of MSU with Woodruff's leadership.

“I do really respect Dr. Woodruff and I'm hopeful because I do know her character a little more personally," Spalding said. "So I'm hopeful and excited to see how these next semesters or months are going to go.” 

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