MU journalism professor Yong Volz receives Tribute to Women Award

After working hard to help elevate women, Volz receives recognition.

MU School of Journalism associate professor Yong Volz received the Jordan Hoyt Memorial Tribute to Women Award last month, a recognition of the work Volz has done to promote gender equality at MU.

The award pays homage to Jordan Hoyt, a long time advocate for gender equality on the MU campus. The award is sponsored by the Status of Women Committee and serves to “honor any outstanding MU faculty, staff or student who has worked to create an environment of equity, fairness and justice for women.”

Yong Volz is the latest recipient of this award. Gender equality is a major aspect of Volz’s work, with her research focusing on gender stratification of journalists. The award and recognition for her work humbled Volz.

“To me, to support other women is really to not only provide mentorship, but really provide opportunities,” Volz said. “I’m just reflecting my own academic career. Every step, there were women who have provided me not only the moral support and mentorship, but really provided me a lot of opportunities to be exposed to different views.”

Hearing how her work affected those who nominated her really showed the impact that the little things she has done in her career to promote gender equality could amount to something more.

“I heard my nominee's words about me [at the reception],” Volz said. “I felt extremely honored to hear how the little things I had been doing have some kind of impact on their own professional life as well. Sometimes we do big things. But sometimes, [it’s] those little things that can make a decent impact on other women’s life.”

Doctoral candidate Lei Guo was one of those who nominated Volz, and she felt like the award exactly described the professor.

“[The description of the award] talked about leadership, it talked about a mentor, it talked about [promoting] gender equality,” Guo said. “When I read those keywords, I think that exactly describes what Dr. Volz is.”

Guo showed that Volz is a true mentor, helping her to develop much-needed abilities for her future career.

“She taught me how to pronounce the words, how to deliver the lectures, how to deal with a student’s issues … she taught me how to deal with those kinds of issues [at] Mizzou,” Guo said. “It’s very difficult for international students at Mizzou to develop their leadership ability … Dr. Volz gave me a lot of [leadership] opportunities, gave me a lot of resources to help practice that leadership … she empowered me.”

Associate professor Amy Simons received the award in 2016, and, as a recipient, shared what she believes the award represents.

“To me, [the award] represents that there is a long way for women to truly achieve equity and equality both in academia and in the professional arena,” Simons said. “It’s a recognition of the support that we offer to one another as we work to achieve that advancement.”

Although the award doesn’t come with any sort of compensation, Simons believes just the symbolic meaning is worth it.

“This award is hugely symbolic, but it also has a deep emotional tie to it,” Simons said. “It has a satisfaction that comes with knowing and seeing that the work that you’re doing on behalf of those around you is recognized and it’s appreciated.”

The award means a lot to Volz, but she wanted to reiterate that to make the change that she has achieved, one doesn’t always have to make major reforms; the little things can add up.

“Fighting for gender equality can take on different forms,” Volz said. “I have admired so many people … who are at the front line fighting, but for some other people [even] if they are not at the very front they can do their own things in their daily life to support this mission. The little things can add up to a much bigger sense of solidarity.”

Edited by Lucy Caile | lcaile@themaneater.com

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