Since 1995, the United States has recognized every March as Women’s History Month. During this month we celebrate the contributions and achievements that women, both past and present, have made over the course of American history, culture and community. To celebrate Women’s History Month, Columbia Southern University is honored to recognize students and alumnae who are playing a vital role in leadership within their respective industries.
Jazmin Felix of Tavares, Florida, is the owner of Women in Solar, a 100% women-operated non-profit organization that gives women in the solar energy field an opportunity to network with their peers and grow within the industry. In addition to connecting women in solar energy, she also leads training courses in safety compliance and solar installations. Felix is the co-owner and regional safety director of Kenkay Solar. Felix earned her master’s in occupational safety and health from CSU.
Amber Woodward of Aiken, South Carolina, is well on her way to making history. Woodward hopes to one day become the first female director of her EMS agency. Woodward, who is the captain at Aiken County EMS, educates first responders on best practices for interacting with those with autism. In doing so, she founded the Aiken County EMS Sensory Sensitive Special Needs Touch-A-Truck. With her scholarship from the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and CSU, she is working on her master’s degree in public administration.
As the director of development for the Air Force Enlisted Village, VaTema Ivy provides homes to survivors of retired airmen, parents of active-duty service members and retired military couples. Prior to earning her degree, Ivy, a Michigan resident and Florida transplant, spent 25 years in the Air Force where she served in numerous leadership positions in California, Europe, Florida, Missouri and South Korea. Ivy was recently awarded CSU’s Forever a Hero Scholarship and is pursuing her master’s degree.
CSU alumna, Shawna Nagle, CHST, CSP®, is the vice president of safety and a co-owner at Fraser Engineering Co., where she has served in her family’s business since 2003. Nagle also serves on the Board of Certified Safety Professionals Foundation and is in a leadership position with the Greater Boston chapter of the American Society of Safety Professionals. She on the board of directors for the Burn Survivors of New England. In 2021, Nagle, of Scituate, Massachusetts, was selected by CSU’s occupational safety and health faculty members as the Outstanding Safety Professional of the Year. She holds a master’s degree in occupational safety and health from CSU.
Missy Feather, MBA-HCM, RN-BC, serves as the chief nursing officer for Colleton Medical Center in Walterboro, South Carolina. She began her career as an ER nurse, eventually becoming a flight nurse, and later moved into leadership positions. Before becoming CNO, she held various roles, including director of critical care services, director of clinical informatics, and she served as vice president of nursing informatics and interim vice president of nursing operations for 12 hospitals in a tri-state area. Feather holds a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in health care management from CSU.
Active-duty Air Force Master Sgt. Tahnika Moore-Bessant grew up in the south side of Chicago, and now works as a military police supervisor at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina. The decorated officer leads a 72-person team, directs physical security actions for Department of Defense assets and protects 12,500 base personnel. Additionally, Moore-Bessant works with the local youth wherever she is stationed. She has worked with underprivileged children in Afghanistan as well as volunteered as a mentor with children overseas and in the U.S. In 2020, she was awarded CSU’s Outstanding Law Enforcement Professional. She graduated in 2019 with a master’s degree in criminal justice.
Tiffany Barry is a detective with the Citrus County’s Sheriff’s Office. Dedicated to helping children, Barry works in the criminal investigative division, where she investigates internet crimes against children. She is also a member of the human trafficking task force and the child abduction response team. Another aspect of her job is inspiring young women to consider law enforcement careers. She volunteers with the Citrus County Education Foundation’s Women Building Women Mentoring Program and with Little League. Barry is pursuing a bachelor’s degree from CSU in criminal justice.
Laurie Sharp serves as a codes enforcement instructor supervisor for the Tennessee State Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy (TFACA). A resident of Kingsport, Tennessee, Sharp leads TFACA’s instructors in helping train and teach future generations of inspectors. In addition to her work in codes enforcement, Sharp has also served as firefighter, firefighter instructor and as a training officer. She has also successfully written, submitted and implemented numerous grants during her career. In addition to obtaining numerous nationally recognized certifications such as Firefighter I and Firefighter II, she is currently pursuing her bachelor’s in fire administration at CSU.
We are proud to celebrate the accomplishments of these remarkable women and countless others who have made history. If you’re interested in having your story featured, email Communicator@ColumbiaSouthern.edu.
Laurie Sharp photo courtesy of the National Volunteer Fire Council
Missy Feather photo courtesy of WalterboroLive.com