Assemblywoman Buttenschon Announces Winners of Women of Distinction Awards

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica/Rome) has announced the winners for this year’s Women of Distinction Awards, which recognize extraordinary women residing within the 119th Assembly District. Mohawk Valley residents were asked to send in nominations for women who have made significant impacts in the lives of the people around them.

“March is celebrated as Women’s History Month, which makes it the perfect time to honor extraordinary women in our own community,” Buttenschon said. “The Women of Distinction Awards are a way to recognize these women and thank them for all that they do to inspire their peers and make the Mohawk Valley a better place for all.”

The winners of the 2020 Awards are as follows:

  • Robin Ambrose, a Whitesboro nurse and mother who is fighting on the front line of the COVID-19 epidemic;
  • Michele Cook, a Utica third-grade teacher who also acts as a Surprise Santa for students in need;
  • Heather Delia, the co-owner of Utica Coffee Roasting, who treats her staff like family and is quick to offer a helping hand;
  • Ellen Gallagher, a Home and Careers teacher from Whitesboro, who dedicates a large portion of her time to helping troubled students;
  • Hanka Grabovica, a Bosnian refugee who now resides in Utica and works as the administrator and dean of students for the Utica Academy of Science, and always strives for the best for her students;
  • Amber Jaeger, a Utica sixth-grade teacher who has dedicated countless hours to drawing up lesson plans and forming connections with her students;
  • Amy Jennings, a Utica nursing home administrator whose compassion and empathetic nature have benefited everyone under her care;
  • Danielle Migliore, a high school and college athlete from Frankfort who serves as an inspiration and role model to young female athletes;
  • Linda Millo, a retired phlebotomist and single mother from Utica, who was able to balance a thriving career with raising a family as well as spreading positivity to everyone around her;
  • Kathleen Murphy, a Utica fourth-grade teacher who has dedicated her career to the well-being of her students;
  • Dyann Nashton, a Rome resident and member of the Griffin Charitable Foundation, whose infectious humor helps brighten everyone’s day;
  • Shannon Carey-Noonan, a reading specialist from Utica who has spent countless hours inventing new, creative ways to help students learn;
  • Terri Panuccio, the coordinator for Faith Formation at St. Mary of Mount Carmel/Blessed Sacrament, who constantly volunteers her time to educate students in her hometown of Utica about faith, love and guidance; and
  • Bertha Whiteside Robinson, a physical education instructor for the Utica School District, who has coached several extracurricular sports and volunteers her time to help disadvantaged students.

Assemblywoman Buttenschon also held a Women of Distinction Essay Contest, in which students from grades 6-12 had the opportunity to write a 500-word essay on a woman who lives or lived in New York and has positively impacted society. The winners of the contest are as follows:

  • Joseph Speciale for an essay on Eleanor Roosevelt;
  • Abdinasir Mohamed for an essay on Kirsten Gillibrand;
  • Farrah Robinson for an essay on Bertha Whiteside Robinson;
  • Kimsean Buth for an essay on Anna Eleanor Roosevelt;
  • Nadja Corbic for an essay on Nellie Bly;
  • Samantha Stark for an essay on Shirley Chisholm;
  • Sebastian Knoop for an essay on Susan B. Anthony; and
  • Giovanni Crouse for an essay on Welthy Honsinger Fisher.