Women of the u Collage

Valiant women of the U

By UM News

Valiant women of the U

By UM News
We celebrate Women’s History Month by taking a look back at stories and programs featuring some of our own valiant women of the U

2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women's constitutional right to vote. With many women’s suffrage celebrations originally scheduled for last year curtailed, the National Women's History Alliance extended the centennial theme to 2021: "Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.”

With that in mind, we celebrate Women’s History Month by taking a look back at stories and programs featuring some of our own valiant women of the U – the courageous and trailblazing women from across the University who are acting as agents of change and making an impact in their fields and communities.

To learn more about initiatives and programming focused on women’s issues within and around the University, and to be a part of building a community among University of Miami alumnae and students, be sure to check out our newly launched Women of the U webpage. 


Frost School of Music

Alumna’s love for music strikes a chord in teaching

Nerissa Manela, B.M. ’15, was awarded Rookie Teacher of the Year by Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Manela, who double majored in music education and music therapy, brings her passion for the arts to make an impact on the lives of her students at Morningside K-8 Academy.


College of Arts and Sciences

Alumna brings autism clinic home to Kuwait

A graduate of the highly selective Applied Behavior Analysis program, Fajer Almenaie, M.S. ’18, established the first-of-its-kind intervention clinic for children with autism in Kuwait, one patterned after UM's Intensive Behavioral Intervention Services Clinic.


Miami Herbert Business School

Making history as the NBA G League's First Female G.M.

Tori Miller, B.B.A. ’13, was named the first female general manager in NBA G League history, promoted within the front office of the College Park Skyhawks, an affiliate of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. 


School of Communication

Alumna part of Biden’s all-women communications team

As deputy White House communications director, Maria del Pilar “Pili” Tobar, B.S.C.’09, M.P.A. ’10, is a part of the new all-women senior communications team appointed by the President Joe Biden.


School of Education and Human Development

Lauren Book uses her personal power to prevent sexual abuse

Lauren Book, B.S.E.D. ’08, M.S.E.D. ’12, a Florida senator and survivor of childhood sexual abuse, has become a powerful and persuasive voice for preventing sexual abuse through education and awareness.


College of Engineering

Biomedical engineer develops techniques to help preserve, improve eyesight

As an associate professor of biomedical engineering in the University of Miami College of Engineering, Noel Ziebarth, B.S.B.E. ’02, M.S.B.E. ’04, Ph.D. ’09, conducts groundbreaking research to help people see better and to discover new treatments for eyes diseases.


School of Law

From Everest to Embassies

Sue M. Cobb, J.D. ’78, emerged from a family of extremely modest means to become a successful sportswoman, attorney, diplomat, student, wife, and mother—and came within 900 meters of becoming the first American woman to summit Mount Everest. 


School of Nursing and Health Studies

Nursing alumna fighting COVID-19 at the border

When COVID-19 first began spreading in the United States, Andrea Leiner, M.S.N.’19, and her colleagues worked day and night to mitigate the rising threat of the virus in Matamoros, Mexico.


Miller School of Medicine

In High Gear

As an emergency medicine physician, Nashley Harrigan, M.D. ’11, been leading and encouraging her team through exhausting, sometimes heart-wrenching, days and nights on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.


School of Architecture

Building on master plan, alumna leads transformation of parks system

As director of Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces for Miami-Dade County, Maria Nardi, B.Arch. ’91, is leading the transformation of the third largest and one of the most diverse parks systems in the country.


Women of the University of Miami Alumni Association

Our dedicated alumnae volunteer leaders, including Kourtney Gibson, B.B.A. ’03, Melanie McDonald, B.B.A. ’07, and Deborah Moskowitz, B.S. ’94, spoke about the keys to their success in a series of Q&As with the University of Miami Alumni Association.

In the Women of the U series of events, other alumnae at the top of their fields and communities, including Tori Miller, B.B.A. '13, Miki Marshall, B.S.C. '06, and Lauren Renschler, B.S.C. '05 shared what it takes to win in the business of sports. Stephanie Sylvestre, M.A. '96 and Wendy-Ann Dixon-Dubois, A.B. '06, spoke about what drives their selfless support for those in need, and Marilu Marshal, B.B.A. '66, J.D. '69, and Alice Vilma, B.B.A. '99 spoke about leading through challenge and change.

In our ’Cane Conversations: Breaking Boundaries event, successful alumnae spoke of triumphing over the challenges they face in the workplace. The recent ’Cane Conversations: Women Who Lead featured remarkable ’Canes Community leaders Staci L. Solomon, J.D. ’95, Jennifer K. Del Toro, A.B. ’11, Marcie Hibbs, A.B. ’99, Dawn M. Minkow, B.S.C. ’12, and Deborah L. Moskowitz, B.S.C. '94, in a candid conversation about what it takes to succeed.

Visit our Women of the U webpage