Making an impact: Meredith Madden honored in YWCA’s Salute to Outstanding Women

Meredith Madden stands in a brightly lit hallway.

“She not only puts her heart and soul into her class but her students as well.”

The influence of a great teacher reverberates far beyond the classroom, making a difference in the lives of their students, their futures, and the communities in which they live. 

It’s with that in mind that Utica College students and the YWCA agree - Assistant Professor of Education Meredith Madden earns high marks for the impact she makes.

Dr. Madden has been recognized by the YWCA in the organization’s annual Salute to Outstanding Women, an annual event honoring eight local women for their achievements and impact on the community. 

“I was born and raised in the Mohawk Valley and have long standing shared commitments with the YWCA Mohawk Valley by working to eliminate racism and empower women,” says Dr. Madden. “Receiving the news from the YWCA that I was being honored in the Salute to Outstanding Women was a remarkable moment for me.” 

Dr. Madden was honored in the category of education and two Utica College students from the Educator Preparation Program were among her nominators.  

“Being in my early years of teaching at Utica College and learning that my students nominated me affirmed that teaching in the UC classroom is an extraordinary fit for me,” says Dr. Madden. “I am doing one of the most important and high impact jobs in the world: preparing future public school teachers! To be honored with this award is a reminder that I carry the teachings of my previous teachers with me into my classrooms and that my own students will carry my teachings into their future classrooms as well.” 

Emily Surace ‘21, a Psychology Child-Life major, says she nominated Dr. Madden because of the impact she makes on her students. 

“She not only puts her heart and soul into her class but her students as well,” says Surace. “She is more than a professor; she is a mentor. She looks out for the best interest in her students in the classroom and in our personal lives.”Surace says that Dr. Madden’s impact includes inspiring her to continue at Utica College after completing her undergraduate studies and pursuing a master’s degree in Education.

Child Education and English major Emily Jory ‘21 says Dr. Madden makes it a point to keep herself up to date with all of her students and to teach through doing, one of several reasons she chose to nominate her.

“She set an example of what an exceptional teacher looks like,” explains Emily Jory ‘21, a Childhood Education and English major. “Her passion for teaching was contagious and that was what makes her an Outstanding Woman. She created an environment of acceptance and positivity which made class such a great experience.”

Jory says that Dr. Madden is someone she will never forget.

“She made every class fun,” Jory added. “She was one of my biggest supporters and will always be someone I reach out to and keep in touch with. She is truly an amazing woman, she is truly outstanding.”

“What an awesome legacy to be a part of,” Dr. Madden says. “I am forever grateful to be part of a first-rate teaching program, to work with dedicated colleagues, and to teach extraordinary students who I know will make their own outstanding contributions in their classrooms!”

Dr. Madden’s teaching and research focuses on critical pedagogies and curriculum, Intergroup Dialogue, educational equity with a focus on racial and social justice education, teacher preparation, and higher education - community collaborations.

Through her community-based literacy project, CNY Writes: Centering Narratives of Youth, Madden uses writing to foster self and social awareness, identity development, and promote critical and creative writing skills.

Dr. Madden holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Foundations of Education, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Women's and Gender Studies, a Masters of Science in Urban Education, and a Masters of Public Policy with a social policy concentration. She holds a certificate of completion from the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Equity Institute on Race and Equity and is a trained Intergroup Dialogue facilitator.

The Salute to Outstanding Women is a time-honored tradition upheld by the YWCA Mohawk Valley to celebrate the amazing contributions and outstanding achievements of local women in Herkimer and Oneida counties, honoring the achievements of more than 250 women since the inaugural event in 1989. Proceeds from the event, the YWCA Mohawk Valley’s largest fundraiser, benefit their lifesaving programs and services providing domestic and sexual violence response and prevention.

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