Dr. Shelley Koch recognized with YWCA Tribute to Women Award

Posted by Allison Galloway
Dr. Shelley Koch, chair of Sociology at Emory & Henry College, was announced as a recipient of the YWCA Tribute to Women award in the Empower category.

Nine outstanding women in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia were chosen for the recognition based on their leadership qualities, positive impact on the community, and demonstrated growth and achievement. 

“This is one of the most meaningful awards I have received,” says Dr. Koch. “Not only is the YWCA an outstanding organization in our community, but to be put in the same category as some of the past recipients is very humbling. I appreciate the support of Emory & Henry for nominating me.” 

At Emory & Henry, Koch is just what her colleagues and students had always wanted in a sociology professor and a faculty leader – someone committed to teaching, passionate about co-learning and full of love for the community around her. And with these qualities as her strong foundation, she has built a career of great consequence and marked by leadership in the areas of sustainability, a profoundly effective mentorship of students toward success, and an enduring commitment to a healthy and harmonious world.

Her students say that Koch leads by example. They relate that their experiences in service-learning, study abroad and research have opened up their world in unexpected ways. 

“I watched her sit down at a table with Moroccan immigrants in a satellite city in The Netherlands where she helped children in preparation for a celebration later that day,” says Katherine Bordwine, an E&H student that took a research class with Dr. Koch in the Netherlands and Sweden. “Naturally, I followed her example, and in that moment another connection was made that changed my worldview.” 

But as she has transformed the lives of students, she has grown in her capacity to make a difference for a college and a community.  

Dr. Koch has worked to improve and enrich the region and the quality of life for the people living here. She has served as a board member at Appalachian Sustainable Development and is a member of the Appalachian Peace Education Center. In response to the food deserts of Southwest Virginia, she has helped launch an interdisciplinary food studies minor that is empowering both college students and members of the community to explore the possibilities of economic diversification through agriculture. In addition, her food justice class is working with Head Start students to promote a richer understanding of how nutrition and growing food can enrich their lives, thus helping to deal with a systemic problem of poverty that leads to poor health that leads to diminished outcomes for communities. 

The awards banquet will take place in the fall. 

  • Dr. Shelley Koch
    Dr. Shelley Koch
This is one of the most meaningful awards I have received. Not only is the YWCA an outstanding organization in our community, but to be put in the same category as some of the past recipients is very humbling. 
- Dr. Koch

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