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Three women students, one each from NKU, Thomas More, and Gateway to be honored at OWNK event

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Staff Report

The annual Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky event, honoring high-achieving women in the region, will be held Thursday at a lunch at Receptions in Erlanger. It is sponsored by Toyota.

The OWNK award celebrate the professional accomplishments and community service successes of eight women, recognize an Emerging Leader, and present the Helen Carroll Champion of Education, the Henrietta Cleveland Inspiring Woman, and the Judith Clabes Lifetime Achievement awards.

But three special recognitions go annually to non-traditional women students, one each from Northern Kentucky University, Gateway Community & Technical College, and Thomas More College.

Those award are given in honor of former NKU First Lady Nancy Boothe and they come with a $2000 scholarship.

This year’s Nancy Janes Boothe scholarship award winners are:


Kathleen Durchholz-Biggs

Kathleen (Kate) Durchholz-Biggs is an adult student at Northern Kentucky University majoring in Organizational Leadership.  She currently holds a 3.714 GPA.

Kathleen Durchhole-Biggs

Kathleen Durchholz-Biggs

Kate is currently working on her Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership. Both leadership and communication come naturally to her, therefore her degree in Organizational Leadership will just enhance her credentials.  She also has an Advanced Certificate in Biblical Leadership and found herself the only woman in her cohort.  She graduated with this certificate with a 4.03 GPA and was hired to serve in a senior pastoral role and later promoted to Executive Pastor at Vineyard Christian Church in Florence .

Kate serves her community wholeheartedly and believes outreach is a way we can make a profound difference in the life of others as well as society as a whole.  Kate enjoys volunteering because service to the community is one of her personal core values. 

Currently she serves the community through church outreach projects such as providing free groceries to those in need, hosting several recovery groups in which they provide childcare, curriculum and trained facilitators, where she leads a talented staff who serve the community virtually seven days a week.

Kate feels her passion for leading others toward a life of integrity and perseverance has not just brought hope and inspiration, but, in some cases, deep emotional and spiritual healing.  Most of her week is filled with helping people who are ready to give up for one reason or another.  She admits she cannot think of anything she’d rather do with her life than to lead others into living out the enormous dignity and colossal potential that is theirs, and theirs alone.

Lora Jones

Lora Jones

Lora Jones

Lora Jones is a Human Service major who has been on the Dean’s List every semester here at Gateway, which consists of student having at least a 3.5 GPA after every semester. Lora is a Peer Mentor here at Gateway. In her role as a Peer Mentor, she helps guides and is a connector of services that allow students to become academically successful here at Gateway. She is also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, which recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students and; Provides opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming.

Along with her activities at Gateway, she also provide Alcoholics Anonymous classes every Sunday at the Campbell County Jail. She has been trained as a Stewarts of Our Children who helps prevent child sexual abuse and Green Dot that helps individuals to prevent and reduce power-based violence.

Melanie Johnson

“Lead by example” to serve others has been a life-long goal for Thomas More student Melanie Johnson. In the last ten years she has led many Heart the City projects in Northern Kentucky through 7 Hills Church. A few of the projects completed were painting the interior halls of Transitions (a residential substance abuse program in Dayton), honoring the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department with treats, painting at Over the Rhine Lord’s Gym, cleaning apartments at Transitions (Covington), and sorting backpack supplies for Caywood Elementary. She has served on a 2010 international mission trip to Kunming, China and in 2012 she participated in a regional mission trip to McDowell, Ky. to work with God’s Appalachian Partnership (GAP) Ministries.

Melanie Johnson

Melanie Johnson

Melanie’s most recent volunteer work has been in partnership with Master Provisions and Northern Kentucky Hunger Relief Inc. She has volunteered many hours at Master Provisions Food Distribution Center in Florence, helping to coordinate volunteer activities.

On January 9th at Thomas More College she was involved with the coordination of a first-ever food pack that produced 22,500 nutritionally complete meals. Students, staff, faculty and alumni participated and these meals will be distributed through Master Provisions to over 200 regional food pantries and rescue agencies.

Melanie recently returned to complete her Bachelor of Business degree in the Thomas More College TAP Program. She does so after raising four children who are a great source of pride in her life. She has always resided in Kenton County. After graduation she plans to continue in service to her community utilizing the skills she has acquired through the challenging Bachelor of Business Administration program at Thomas More College.

Tickets to the event are $30 each and advance registrations are required. Call 859.578.9720 or email LARaterman@aol.com

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