Geneva honors Beaver Falls’ Women of Excellence

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Geneva College will honor and celebrate the 2013 Beaver Falls Women of Excellence during a brunch on March 23. Five women from Beaver Falls, Pa., will be recognized for being role models, demonstrating high moral standards and acting as leaders of the community.

"I am really excited for this program and the opportunity to celebrate these wonderful women," says Kathy Kinzer-Downs, Director of Geneva′s Multicultural Student Services, which is presenting the awards. "What a tremendous example they set for all of us, young and old. It has been a privilege to read part of their stories, and it will be a privilege to meet them in person. I hope the community comes out to celebrate some of the heroes of our community."

Teen Woman of Excellence has been awarded to Sierra Murray. She is an honor student at Beaver Falls High School. Murray is involved in The Diabetes Walk, Tiger Pause, the Great Race, Bowl for Kids Sake, and the marching, concert and pep bands. She is on the High Honor roll, National Honor Society, Academic Excellence League, Rotary Student of the Month, and was selected to attend the University of Pittsburgh Health Career Scholars Academy. She was a PIAA Track and Field State Champion and was chosen for the West Point Leadership Award.

Senior Woman of Excellence has been awarded to Jean Boak. She, along with her husband Karl, mayor of the City of Beaver Falls for 11 years, has been a driving force behind many community events. She founded the Citizen′s Watch volunteer program to change the way the court system processes DUI cases. Boak is active in cancer awareness, working with her husband-a cancer survivor-to counsel and support families impacted by the disease. She has been an active member of the College Hill Presbyterian Church for more than 50 years, and supports many local programs including Habitat for Humanity, Rails to Trails and Tiger Pause Ministries.

In addition to the teen and senior awards, three Women of Excellence Awards will be presented.

The first will be presented to Rebecca Salopek. Salopek is The CARE Outreach Coordinator of the Christian Assembly, and Service Coordinator with the Beaver County Housing Authority. She leads the Annual Christmas Day Dinner, which serves over 1,000 people a full traditional dinner and hands out new toys and clothing. Salopek also coordinates Thanksgiving Dinner and Easter brunch for people in need. Some other outreach efforts include free summer picnics, men′s shelter provisions and emergency housing. Salopek serves her church by providing music for the church services, teaching Sunday school and serving in women′s ministry.

The second will be presented to Vanessa Ford Taylor. Since 2000, she has been telling the story of her survival of domestic violence. She has spoken at women′s shelters, conferences, detention centers and on Cornerstone Television. She started The Vanessa Ford Scholarship for students who lost a parent or guardian to domestic violence and want to study criminal law. Last year, Ford Taylor wrote the book From Behind the Mask: A Survivor′s Story.

The third will be presented to Bethany Warren. She and her husband, Russ, invested their time and their future in Beaver Falls in 2006 by purchasing a 100-year-old home on Route 18 and converting it in to a coffee shop. Today, Beaver Falls Coffee and Tea-commonly known as BFC&T-has become a place where people gather, connect and informally meet with others in the community. Warren is active in the College Hill Reformed Presbyterian Church, particularly in the DASH Groups for college students. She was a co-founder of the Beaver Falls Food Co-op which benefits local residents and farmers.

Anyone interested in attending the Women of Excellence brunch may register at The cost is $10 per person, and the event will be at 11 a.m. in the Benedum Room of Alexander Hall.

Geneva College invites students to accept the challenge of an academically excellent, Christ-centered education. Offering nearly 40 undergraduate majors, an Adult Degree Completion Program with fully online and campus-based options, and seven graduate degrees, Geneva has programs that place students at the forefront of higher learning. Adhering to the inerrancy of Scripture, the liberal arts core curriculum fosters a breadth of knowledge through the study of humanities, social and natural sciences, and experiential learning.