Professional News

UK Women’s Forum Announces 2022 Sarah Bennett Holmes Awardees


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 6, 2022) The University of Kentucky Women’s Forum held a virtual awards ceremony Wednesday, March 30, to honor four awardees who reflect the accomplishments and legacy of Sarah Bennett Holmes. The 2022 Sarah Bennett Holmes award winners are: Carrie Oser (faculty), Mehrana Mohtasebi (graduate student), Clarissa Cheatwood (staff) and the UK Neurology Department’s Wellness and Resiliency Committee (team).

These awards recognize individuals and teams who promote the growth and well-being of women at the university and across Kentucky. Faculty, staff and graduate student recipients receive a monetary award and a plaque. The team and its members receive a framed certificate for their achievement. All winners are named on plaques in the Main Building. The Sarah Bennett Holmes Awards are among the most esteemed recognitions bestowed at UK and bring recognition for efforts that might otherwise go unnoticed.

2022 Faculty Award Winner: Carrier Oser

Carrie Oser, Ph.D., is the DiSilvestro Endowed Professor in the UK Department of Sociology, associate director of the Center for Health Equity Transformation, and a faculty affiliate of the Center on Drug and Alcohol Research at UK. Oser is passionate about conducting high-impact research to improve the lives of individuals with substance use disorders, especially underrepresented populations and women. She has been continuously funded as a principal investigator for over a decade by the National Institutes of Health, has published over 100 peer reviewed articles and mentored over 50 graduate students and junior faculty.

2022 Graduate Student Award Winner: Mehrana Mohtasebi

Mehrana Mohtasebi is a Ph.D. candidate in the UK College of Engineering's Department of Biomedical Engineering. Mohtasebi received her master’s degree in Iran and moved to the U.S. in 2018. Competitive awards received include the American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship, Biomedical Engineering Society Career Development Award and UK Biomedical Engineering Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Leadership positions held include president of the UK student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society, representative to the UK Graduate Student Congress and member of the professional development and networking committee for the Graduate Student Congress.

2022 Staff Award Winner: Clarissa Cheatwood

Clarissa Cheatwood was born and raised in Louisville. She worked for the city of Louisville as a community organizer for five years, then spent 20 years working in dietary and food service in hospitals and retirement centers. Since 2008, Clarissa has been employed with UK’s Cooperative Extension Service in Jefferson County as a nutrition assistant. In this position, she works with community groups, including female and male substance abuse groups, refugees, adult education, language barrier groups, schools, community centers and health centers, to promote healthy eating and cooking for low-income families.

2022 Team Award Winner: Department of Neurology Wellness and Resilience Committee

Physician wellness and burnout are important issues and a growing concern in the medical profession. The Wellness and Resilience Committee recognized these challenges, especially those faced by women physicians, and has spearheaded several projects to support mental health and well-being. The team has organized events to provide an opportunity to network and destress, provided support to resident physicians following childbirth and organized or collaborated on research projects focused on gender bias and career advancement. Team members have given invited talks and continue to explore opportunities to expand and enhance their work. Committee members include: Larry Goldstein, Zabeen Mahuwala, Padmaja Sudhakar,Timothy Ainger, Amanda Glueck, Ann Stowe, Julie Gurwell, Lindsey Noll, Zahra Haghighat, Patricia Olson, Thien Nguyen and Saniya Pervin.

Nominees for the 2022 Holmes Award included five faculty members, six staff members, four graduate students, and two teams. Congratulations to each of the nominees listed below.

Category: Faculty

  • Elizabeth P. Arnold, School of Music
  • Yoon Bae, Department of Theatre and Dance
  • Karyn Hinkle, Fine Arts Library
  • Carrie Oser, Department of Sociology
  • Susie Thiel, Department of Theatre and Dance

 Category: Graduate Student

  • Melissa Chilcote, College of Social Work, MSW program
  • Madison Miller, College of Social Work, MSW program 
  • Mehrana Mohtasebi, F. Joseph Halcomb III, M.D. Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Mariana Russo, College of Social Work, MSW program

 Category: Staff

  • Clarissa Cheatwood, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension — Nutrition Education Program
  • Olivia Ellis, Education Abroad and Exchanges
  • Cathy Fellows, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension — Nutrition Education Program
  • Alicia Gregory, Research Communications
  • Caroline Nofio, Office of Medical Education
  • Belinda Rubio, College of Fine Arts

Category: Team

  • Department of Neurology Wellness & Resilience Committee: Larry Goldstein, Zabeen Mahuwala, Padmaja Sudhakar,Timothy Ainger, Amanda Glueck, Ann Stowe, Julie Gurwell, Lindsey Noll, Zahra Haghighat, Patricia Olson, Thien Nguyen and Saniya Pervin.
  • Healthy Hearts for Women Symposium, Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, College of Medicine: Analia Loria and Frederique Yiannikouris

For a list of past winners, visit

Sarah Bennett Holmes, a distinguished former dean of women at UK, tirelessly championed the rights of women throughout her career. Widowed at a young age, Holmes raised four children while completing her own education. She then began a successful career at the university where she inspired young women to persevere in the face of hardship and pursue their career goals. Among her accomplishments, Holmes developed work programs for women during the Depression.

In her honor, the UK Women's Forum created the Sarah Bennett Holmes Award and since 1994 has been honoring women at UK who demonstrate the same principles as Holmes through their work and service.

The UK Women's Forum is an organization for all employees of the university faculty and staff. Its mission is to exert a leadership role in empowering, validating, informing, including and celebrating all women employed at UK by addressing challenges, communicating issues and recognizing successes within the context of the workplace.

For more information about the UK Women’s Forum, visit or contact

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.