WSU women honored for their accomplishments

Ceremony held April 15; several awardees grateful for recognition



Lefler, third-year pharmacy student, was honored as Graduate Student Woman of Distinction.

STEFFI LUDAHL, Evergreen reporter

WSU announced its 15th class of distinguished women and held a virtual award ceremony April 15 to honor those recognized.  

Misty Lefler, third-year pharmacy student, was honored as Graduate Student Woman of Distinction. Lefler said she knew she wanted to be a pharmacist because she was 15 years old because she loved her chemistry classes.

Lefler said seeing how her grandparents were treated by healthcare professionals also impacted her decision to enter the field. 

“I saw them go through some health hardships and was able to see the both good and not so good healthcare people in their life,” she said. “I really like taking care of people and I felt like this is a really good profession to go into.”

Lefler attended Humboldt State University in California for her undergraduate degree. When deciding where to attend pharmacy school, Lefler said she knew WSU was the place for her after visiting Spokane. 

“There’s such an unparalleled amount of spirit and pride with WSU,” she said. “I just really wanted to be a part of that.”

Michelle Lee, senior majoring in political science, was honored as the Undergraduate Student Woman of Distinction. Lee said she transferred to WSU in 2019 from a private university in Malaysia and plans on attending law school next year. 

She founded a branch of the Student Legal Research Association at WSU. Lee said the association examined WSU police records to better address racial disparities in university campus arrests.

Lee said the receiving award was a total shock because she was not expecting to be nominated.    

“I thought it was a joke,” she said, “like one of those spam emails. I was so surprised but so grateful.”

Jeannette Hurt, WSU Vancouver police officer, was honored as the Staff Woman of Distinction. Hurt said she was surprised she received an award. 

Hurt said she has worked at WSUV for 25 years. She previously was a student security worker before becoming a campus police officer.  

Working as a police officer was not something Hurt said she envisioned for herself while growing up.    

“My mother until she passed away recently, she kept my high school career fair stuff,” Hurt said.  “One of the papers said, ‘What do you want to do for a living?’ I said ‘Anything but be a cop.’”

After working at a women’s shelter and working at WSUV as a security officer, Hurt said she applied to be a campus officer. 

Although she is grateful for the award, Hurt said she is not a police officer for the recognition.    

“Kind actions, big and small, is what makes anybody a hero,” she said, “not a uniform, not a position of power, not the jobs we do.”