Jeanne Burkle Award

Jeanne Mayo Burkle

Jeanne Mayo Burkle (1927-1985) was a feminist, community activist, and part-time instructor at Grinnell College. She attended Tulane University and then earned a Master of Arts degree at the University of Iowa. An art historian by training, Burkle authored a manuscript on Louis Sullivan, who designed Grinnell’s jewelbox Merchants’ National Bank.

Burkle was an advocate for the local art community and helped to establish the Grinnell Community Arts Council. She also served on the Iowa Humanities Board. In addition to her teaching, Burkle directed the College’s tutoring program and worked in the Rosenfield Program as a researcher on women’s issues. Burkle was a driving force in bringing a women’s studies program to Grinnell College. In 1979, she sent a lengthy memo to then-President George Drake lobbying for the creation of a women’s studies program.

Her dedication to women’s needs extended beyond the college campus. She helped found a Grinnell chapter of the National Organization for Women, and was active in efforts to open a Grinnell community women’s center. Four years after her death, Jeanne Burkle Women’s Center opened to provide resources, classes, and support to women of the Grinnell community.

The Award

After her death from cancer in 1985, her family and friends raised funds to establish an award in her name. The first Jeanne Burkle Award was given in 1987. Initially intended to honor “the female student who, during her time at Grinnell College, has made the greatest contribution academically and/or non-academically to women’s studies and the well-being of women,” the parameters of the award have since been expanded to reflect the changing discipline of women’s studies. Today, the award is made at commencement to a graduating student who, in academic and co-curricular activities, has “advanced the cause of women and gender equality.” The award usually is given in the amount of $1,000.

The GWSS Committee solicites nominations for the Jeanne Burkle Award each spring. Nominations have two parts:

  1. a letter from the candidate outlining activities relevant to “advancing the cause of women and gender equality”; and
  2. one letter of recommendation from someone who can address the significance of those activities.

Self-nominations are invited. For further information, contact GWSS Program Chair, Lakesia Johnson.

Past Award Winners

1987: Beth Anne Johnson

1988: Zoe Strecker

1989: Jill Petty, Valerie Ingram, and Heidi Johnston

1990: Mariah Goode and Anthippy Petras

1991: Rashmi Dyal-Chand and Julie Goings

1992: Minne Alexander, Ann-Louise Hawk, and Jennifer Kern

1994: Amy Crumly and Beth Prullage

1995: Megan Lewis

1996: Holly Pfitsch

1997: Kerri Barnstuble

1998: Melisa C. (Mel) Booker

1999: Anne Tillema

2000: Kirsten Anderson

2001: Rachel Melis and Meaghan Evans

2002: Julia Haltiwanter and Audrey Porte

2004: Beatriz Menendez

2005: Lara Janson

2006: Elizabeth Hereth and Vashti Sawtelle

2007: Solana Flora and Dale Mackey

2008: Evelyn Gandara and Jamie Zwiebel

2009: Erin Duran and Emma Lawler

2010: Erica Hougland and Jessica Southard

2011: Allison Brinkhorst

2012: Elliot Karl and Zoe Schein

2013: Anika Manzoor and Clara Montague

2014: Isabella Leo

2015: Aarti Kolluri

2016: Lisa Stern

2017: Teresa Fleming

2018: Haley O'Neill and Ric Tennenbaum

2019: Sarah McCarthy

2020: Indira Kapur and Sofia Martinez

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