Two Island University Leaders Honored with 2018 YWCA Women in Careers Award

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – In recognition for their professional accomplishments, including eliminating racism, empowering women and being a role model for young girls, Sherdeana Owens, DDS, MPA, assistant professor in the College of Nursing and Health Science (CONHS) and health science coordinator at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and Deborah Fullerton, curator of exhibitions at the Art Museum of South Texas (AMST), were both chosen as a 2018 Y Women in Careers, an award sponsored by YWCA Corpus Christi for the last 38 years. AMST is an affiliate of the Island University.  

“Y Women in Careers is a vital way to show young girls what women can accomplish; helping them set goals for their own lives,” said Nancy Wesson-Dodd, YWCA President and CEO.

About our honorees:

Deborah Fullerton earned an Associates of Arts and Science degree from Dallas County Community College and a B.F.A. and a Master of Art in Digital Photography and Mixed Media from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Over the years, Fullerton says she has had many mentors at A&M-Corpus Christi who have given her invaluable insight and helped her on her professional journey. Fullerton has been able to fulfill her passions of art, education and outreach through her work at the Art Museum of South Texas. Since she began her work at AMST in 1994, Fullerton has had increasing responsibility which advanced her from Outreach Coordinator to Curator of Education, to Curator of Temporary Exhibitions and Adult Education, to her current position of Curator of Exhibitions. She has been able to contribute to the world around her by bringing the valuable experience of art and art education to the Coastal Bend community. 

“To work for the Art Museum was a dream I had since my earliest encounter as a student of art when I was 21 years old,” said Fullerton. “Gaining the opportunity to meet and work with people who bring their whole selves to share so generously as artists, as professionals and as those who are curious about what makes us all human is what makes the work I do so meaningful.”

 Dr. Sherdeana Owens earned a B.A. from Goucher College, a M.P.A. from The University of Oklahoma, and a D.D.S. from Baylor College of Dentistry. She has over 40 years’ combined experience in the military, healthcare and higher education. Owens has a passion for community service, health education, research and teaching, which she is able to fulfill through her work as an assistant professor and a program coordinator at the Island University. Thanks to her supervision and mentorship, she has led countless students – many of whom are women – to be active in community service, including providing oral health education to more than 600 low-income preschool children annually. She provides students with the opportunity to preform internships, be involved in social science research and present healthcare information at fairs. She is the faculty sponsor for the A&M-Corpus Christi Health Science Association.

“The involvement of female and minority students in service to the greater community is essential to the strength and resilience of our nation,” said Owens. “I hope I have played a positive role in mentoring our future leaders and instilling a respect for all people.”

Since the inception of the award in 1979, the local YWCA has honored approximately 270 exceptional women – including more than a dozen other women with ties to the Island University.