YSU Associate Professor Named 2024 Athena Award Winner

CANFIELD, Ohio – Nicolette Powe, an associate professor of public health/public health scientist at Youngstown State University, was named the recipient of the 2024 Athena Award.

The award, presented by the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber and The Vindicator, is given annually to recognize area business and professional women who have demonstrated excellence in their chosen careers, provided leadership in the community and mentored or contributed to the growth of other professional women.

Powe and the other nominees were honored Thursday during the 31st annual Athena Award Dinner at Waypoint 4180. Also during the event, the 17th Athena Scholarship – a $1,500, one-time award created in partnership with the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley – was presented to Lisa Eichert, a senior at Western Reserve High School. Eichert, who is ranked at the top of her class, will pursue a degree in accounting at Youngstown State University.

For the 12th year, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield also presented two additional scholarships in the amount of $1,250 each to Kailey Ague, a senior at Liberty High School who will study psychology at YSU, and Samantha Heinz, a senior at Austintown Fitch High School who will study education at YSU.

Powe is highly regarded and respected for her contributions and commitment to advancing public health, promoting health equity and empowering future generations of public health professionals. Her research at YSU focuses on behavioral risk factors for chronic disease prevention, particularly among young adults, examining racial/ethnic and sex differences in adherence to cardiometabolic self-management practices. Her work extends to implementing health promotion programs and disseminating outcomes to combat chronic diseases. Her work has been published in journals such as the Racial and Ethnic Approaches To Community Health. 

Powe has received several grants for her research and efforts, including $3.5 million from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. In 2023, she received nearly half a million dollars from the National Institute of Justice for an analysis of violence and accelerationism in cognitive radicalization. She was recognized as a 2020 Health Disparities Research Institute Scholar by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Powe earned a bachelor’s degree in community health education/healthcare ethics from Kent State University, a master’s degree in health promotion/human sciences from North Carolina Central University and a doctorate in health education from Loma Linda University.

The other nominees are:

  • Lynne Azar, guardianship manager, Jewish Family & Community Services.
  • Sherri Bercheni, vice president, remote delivery experience, 717 Credit Union.
  • Sarah Brown-Clark, Mahoning County clerk of courts (retired).
  • Jenna Byler, director of communications, Millwood Inc.
  • Melissa Capple, chief operating officer, United Network Alliance.
  • Deanna Clement, partner, McConnell Marketing.
  • Michelle Crawford, chief financial officer, Mercy Health Youngstown.
  • Gina DeGenova, Mahoning County prosecuting attorney, Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office.
  • Stacia Erdos, regional development executive of Trumbull, Mahoning and Jefferson counties, Coleman Health Services.
  • Jennifer Frank, professor, criminal justice consumer services, Bitonte College of Health and Human Services, YSU.
  • Shari Harrell, president (retired), Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.
  • Megan Hughes, director of operations, Discover Global/DuraTerrain.
  • Tiffany Hurlbut, chief executive officer, Aaris Therapy Group.
  • Carson Lisko, partner, McConnell Marketing.
  • Dr. Kassandra Kornbau, medical director, Natura Behavioral Health.
  • Traci Manning, curator of education, Mahoning Valley Historical Society.
  • Lois Martin-Uscianowski, director and founder, Southside Community Garden.
  • Ashley Morrow, human resources/payroll/grants/safety, Livi Steel Inc.
  • Ky Pegues, vice president, community development officer, Premier Bank.
  • Gina Peplow, employer and community engagement professional, Jobs for Ohio’s Graduates.
  • Rachael Rankin, head principal, Newton Falls Junior High and High School.
  • Marisa Sergi, chief executive officer, L’uva Bella Winery.
  • Patricia Summers, founder, president and chief executive officer, Youngstown Blue Coats.
  • Abbie Twyford Wilson, director of student activities, Eastern Gateway Community College.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.