Female Firsts

Reporting by WVUA 23’s Jordan Johnson

Who are you? Where are you going? Who is fit to go with you?

These were the questions asked of attendees at Stillman College’s Fall Convocation by Essye Miller, the first female chief information officer for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Miller was one of 19 women honored at the event, which celebrated Alabama’s female firsts on Sept. 5.

The women honored at Stillman stood as the face of all women who did something once called impossible.

“For Stillman College to want to demonstrate to the incoming freshman class, as well as to all the students at this wonderful college, that woman can achieve,” said Dr. Cathy Randall, chairman of the board of Pettus Randall Holdings, LLC, “And (women) can achieve at the highest levels. (There are) no obstacles, and if we find a glass ceiling, (we’ll) break right through it.”

During her speech, Miller said she wanted to encourage students to focus on their future.

“They are here for the next three or four years and really understanding who they are at the core,” said Miller. “And that impacts the decisions that they are making. “

But students said they understand that’s much easier said than done.

“Starting out on the journey of being a dentist, I didn’t feel like I was equipped or qualified,” said Dr. Melinda Rhodes. “But I continued to press forward and to overcome obstacles and to keep going and to keep God first.”

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