OHLA founders receive leadership award


Senior Molly E. Toth and graduate student Sarah J. Lowry will receive the Leader of Tomorrow award at the 2012 Diversity Leadership Recognition Celebration on March 29. 

Toth and Lowry founded the Ohio Lady Advocates, an organization created in July as a result of frustration with federal and state legislation aimed at limiting women’s reproductive health care access. 

“It’s nice to be recognized because Sarah and I do work really hard, and it’s actually become another job for me,” Toth said. “It feels really nice to know that there are people that are paying attention to these issues.” 

“I’m very humbled,” Lowry said. “I owe a lot of my thanks to Yulanda [McCarty-Harris] for recognizing students for the hard work that we do.”

McCarty-Harris, director of the YSU Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, nominated Toth and Lowry for the award. 

“These individuals have set themselves apart on campus, locally and nationally,” she said. “They certainly deserve support.” 

Faculty and staff nominate candidates for the award. The individual must maintain good academic standing and promote inclusiveness through campus activities, issues or organizations. 

“I met them last year when they took the helms on organizing Women’s History Month,” McCarty-Harris said. “I was so pleased on how they organized it. They are tireless in their efforts.”

Jennifer Shima, OHLA secretary, said Toth and Lowry lead by example and possess a deep passion for their cause. 

“As leaders, they never ask anyone to do anything that they aren’t willing to do themselves. Working with Sarah and Molly is truly working with them, never for them,” Shima said. “They are dynamos with a deep sense of justice and compassion, which they capitulate into a pseudo-career of standing up for those who need support. Best of all, they do it in a thoughtful way that is as forgiving as it is fair.”

Matt O’Mansky, associate professor of anthropology, nominated Toth. 

“I have known her for a number of years, and she is extraordinary,” O’Mansky said. “Beyond being an excellent student, she has seemingly boundless energy, which she channels toward social justice.” 

Although Lowry will graduate in May and Toth will graduate one year later, both plan to stay involved with OHLA and further its growth. 

“We’re looking to find new student leaders to keep the campus group active, but I plan on continuing the work outside of campus, in the community and beyond,” Lowry said. 

“We want to expand our reach and get younger people involved and set up a stronger base of young women on campus who can carry the torch when we both have left,” Toth said.