Annual Boundary Breaking Women Panel Celebrates Women’s Achievements

Baylor faculty members to introduce 10 extraordinary women and their stories during Boundary Breaking Women’s Panel.

September 5, 2023
Boundary Breaking Women's Panel

Contact: Shelby Cefaratti-Bertin, Baylor University Media & Public Relations, 254-327-8012
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WACO, Texas (Sept. 6, 2023) – This year marks Baylor University’s ninth annual Boundary Breaking Women’s Panel, hosted by the Women’s and Gender Studies program, which will take place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday,  Sept. 11, on the fifth floor of the Cashion Academic Center. The event features 10 Baylor faculty and staff from around campus presenting the stories and achievements of 10 boundary-breaking women and how their unique contributions impacted history. 

The yearly tradition of the Boundary Breaking Women’s Panel was founded in 2014 by Kimberly Kellison, Ph.D., associate professor of history and associate dean of the humanities and social sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences. It was initially organized as a way for Baylor to participate in the discussion about placing a woman on U.S. currency.

Since then, the event has grown to bring the public’s attention to women who played crucial roles in the advancement of women’s rights but are not usually recognized, said Theresa Varney Kennedy, Ph.D., professor of French and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Baylor.

“I am proud of the exceptional faculty lineup we have this year,” Kennedy said. “The Boundary Breaking Women’s Panel is a reminder of the wonderful contributions that women have made to our world throughout history.”

Stories of these women are essential to share as far too many remarkable women have been discounted and disregarded in the academy and society, said Lisa Shaver, Ph.D., associate professor of English. Their stories serve as inspiration for all women to strive for success in a challenging world, she added.

“Gender equality remains unfinished business in every country of the world, and women still face inequalities in everyday life,” Kennedy said. “Events such as the Boundary Breaking Women’s Panel are especially important because they inspire the younger generations of women to bet on themselves - to start to see the upside of every option in front of them.

In the words of Gloria Steinem, “Don’t think about making women fit the world - think about making the world fit women.”

The lineup of boundary breakers and speakers includes:

  • Toni Morrison, American novelist (1931-2019). Presented by Stephen B. Reid, Ph.D., vice provost for faculty diversity and belonging and professor of Christian Scriptures.
  • Gale A. Yee, Feminist Hebrew Bible scholar (1949-). Presented by Cynthia Shafer-Elliott, Ph.D., Religion.
  • Empress Dowager Cixi of the Qing Dynasty in China (1835-1908). Presented by Daniel Barish, Ph.D., History.
  • Jennifer Doudna, American biochemist and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (1964-). Presented by Leigh Greathouse, Ph.D., Nutrition Sciences and Biology.
  • Carla Hayden, 14th Librarian of Congress (1952-). Presented by Ellen Hampton Filgo, director of the Liaison Program, Research and Engagement, BU Libraries.
  • Countess Emilia Pardo Bazán, Spanish writer, translator, editor and professor (1851-1921). Presented by Gabrielle Miller, Ph.D., Modern Languages & Cultures.
  • Mildred Dresselhaus, “Queen of Carbon Science” (1930-2017). Presented by Linda Olafsen, Ph.D., Engineering.
  • Dr. Vivienne Malone-Mayes, mathematician and professor at Baylor University (1932-1995). Presented by Dorina Mitrea, Ph.D., Mathematics.
  • Chiquinha Gonzaga, Brazilian composer, conductor and pianist (1847-1935). Presented by Guilherme Feitosa de Almeida, M.M., Theatre Arts.
  • Dolores Clara Fernández Huerta, American labor leader and civil rights activist (1930-). Presented by Kristen Padilla, Ph.D., School of Education.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s largest academic division, consisting of 25 academic departments in the sciences, humanities, fine arts and social sciences, as well as 11 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. The College’s undergraduate Unified Core Curriculum, which routinely receives top grades in national assessments, emphasizes a liberal education characterized by critical thinking, communication, civic engagement and Christian commitment. Arts & Sciences faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit the College of Arts & Sciences website