Kent State’s Women’s Center Selects SAGE Project Class of 2018

For the past four years, the SAGE Project has recognized female students who have demonstrated innovation, creativity, risk-taking and leadership skills in their academic and personal lives. The project uses the power of storytelling to highlight students who have overcome adversity to shape their life and Kent State University experience. Twelve students will make up the SAGE Project Class of 2018 and will be recognized this spring.

“The premise isn’t really to find the saddest stories, but to develop a group of stories that can connect with students and be used as a motivational tool,” says Alicia Robinson, assistant director of Kent State’s Women’s Center. “We want other students to see what they’ve overcome, and hopefully that can empower students in similar situations.”

The SAGE Project recognizes female students who have demonstrated innovation, creativity, risk-taking and leadership skills in their academic and personal lives.

The staff at the Women’s Center looks to select a diverse group of students by major, campus, traditional or nontraditional students and domestic or international students. The project typically highlights 10-12 full-time female students enrolled at Kent State who have been nominated by faculty and staff.

“Once the students are selected, we have a photo shoot and interview them to help create the stories,” Ms. Robinson says. “We have large storyboards created and display them at the SAGE project event and the Williamson House. They also sit on display at each student’s respective college.”

During Women’s History Month, nominees and students will be invited to a luncheon to formally recognize their accomplishment and share their stories.

Up until 10 years ago, the Women’s Center primarily served faculty and staff. When it was expanded for students, the SAGE Project was one tool used to increase student engagement.

Jennifer O’Connell, director of the Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services office, brought the idea from a previous institution, and the inaugural SAGE project kicked off four years ago.

The SAGE Project gets its name out of the meaning of sage. In the Native American culture, sage is used for healing and bringing someone’s life back into balance by cleansing the body and mind of negativity.

Although there is regional representation in the SAGE Project, the Women’s Center is looking forward to expanding the SAGE Project celebration to Kent State’s Regional Campuses.

“I hope that the impact of the SAGE project is inspiring female success,” Ms. Robinson says. “A good core part of women’s leadership is being able to see other successful women.”

Members of the SAGE Project Class of 2018:

  • Heather Younkin, senior, public health
  • Brittany Cromie, sophomore, nursing
  • Lynne Shayko, graduate student, clinical mental health counseling
  • Arkayla Tenney-Howard, senior, public relations
  • Chelsie Brush, senior, computer technology
  • Jasmine Hye, senior, nursing
  • Emily St. Jean, senior, nursing
  • Nino Zamtaradze, senior, managerial marketing
  • Courtney James, senior, business management
  • Robin Burkhardt, senior, applied conflict management
  • Kai-Han Chang, graduate student, chemical physics
  • Modupe Apetuje, fourth-year podiatric medical doctoral student

To learn more about the SAGE Project, visit

POSTED: Friday, January 26, 2018 10:16 AM
UPDATED: Thursday, December 08, 2022 05:55 AM
Carly Evans