Pictured left to right: Dr. Emily Culpepper, Danielle (Sam) Poindexter, Dr. Jennifer Nelson.
In 2010 the Emily Culpepper Award for Outstanding Work in Women's and Gender Studies was presented to Danielle (Sami) Poindexter by Dr. Emily Culpepper and Dr. Jennifer Nelson, Director of the Women's and Gender Studies program.
The following text was read by Dr. Jennifer Nelson at the Honors and Recognition Convocation on May 28, 2010 at the University of Redlands Memorial Chapel.
The Women's and Gender Studies Advisory Committee chose to honor Danielle (better known as Sami to everyone) with the Emily Culpepper Award because of her outstanding academic performance as well as her campus activism and volunteer activities.
I first met Sami in my course Feminist Community Engagement during her sophomore year in which she began volunteering for San Bernardino Sexual Assault Services. This very challenging volunteer work as a rape crisis center hotline counselor deeply affected Sami's subsequent academic pursuits and activist commitments.
Sami continued to demonstrate her appetite for challenging situations in her junior year when she went abroad to Nicaragua for a semester to study a peace movement largely organized by women. She found that these women activists redefined "peace" as, in Sami's words, "a culture where human rights (including ‘women's rights') are respected, where citizens have access to food, shelter, medicine, and education."
Her work with women's organizations in the Nicaraguan peace movement helped Sami to think about how to address issues of violence closer to home – here at the University of Redlands. During her senior year, Sami threw her considerable activist efforts into building a campus anti-rape peer education group for women called Sisters Standing Together. This group combines education for University of Redlands female students on how to be safe on campus and on how to report a sexual assault with discussions of the gendered social norms that support a culture with a high incidence of sexual assault. Their goal is to transform the culture that makes rape common. Clearly, work with Sisters Standing Together took over Sami's senior year and became her senior capstone project. In typical Sami Poindexter fashion, she was not content with just one major effort that took up all of her time. Sami devoted energies not given to campus organizing to produce a very strong analytical paper on social representation and gender-based violence called "Gender and Rape on College Campuses: How gender norms facilitate violence and how peer education can help."
Sami is taking her many talents to graduate school next year in Claremont's Applied Women's Studies Masters Program. We will miss her!