The 2020 Maryann Hartman Awards will be presented to the retired director of the University of Maine’s Women’s Resource Center Sharon Barker of Bangor, Penobscot Nation Ambassador Maulian Dana of Old Town and Executive Director of Maine Hospice Council Kandyce Powell of Wiscasset.
The Maryann Hartman Awards are awarded annually to women in recognition of “their accomplishments in the arts, politics, business, education and community service,” according to the UMaine Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program website. The award honors the late Maryann Hartman who was a UMaine professor of speech communication and a feminist, scholar and humanitarian. It is given out to honor Hartman’s “spirit, achievement and zest for life” and to “[provide] inspiration to others and [demonstrate] the levels of attainment now possible for women.”
Sharon Barker, a UMaine alumna, was the first director of UMaine’s Women Resource Center in 1991. Under Barker’s direction, the center was able to help the university’s faculty and staff by putting on professional development workshops in gender dynamics. In this position, Barker mentored numerous students and facilitated gender equity workshops for girls. Additionally, Barker prepared and trained UMaine students who would act as role models for the 500 middle school girls who visited the Orono campus for the Expanding Your Horizons conference. Barker retired from this position in 2014.
Barker was involved in a number of women’s organizations in the community like the Maine Girls Collaborative Project, Maine’s Women’s Employment Issues Committee and the Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center where she served as the president and was the co-founder.
Prior to her work at UMaine, Barker worked as a family planning counselor in Bangor for 10 years and then returned to UMaine for graduate school.
“Through [working at Family Planning], [I learned] the profound impact sexual and reproductive health experiences have on women’s lives and the importance of women’s equal participation in society. It was my privilege to be able to earn my living doing work I loved, in a place I loved, and to know I was making a difference,” Barker shared.
Barker noted that this experience, in addition to the political awareness she gained while receiving her education at UMaine, is what motivates her to be an advocate for women’s rights.
In September of 2017, Maulian Dana, a UMaine alumna, was appointed as a Penobscot Nation ambassador by Chief Kirk Francis. As an ambassador, Dana has testified in front of the Maine State House on behalf of the Penobscot Nation, advocating for equity for Native Americans and proposing policies that remove derogatory mascots from schools in Maine. Additionally, she has advocated for the bill to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Dana has also lobbied “for legislation that allows prosecution of non-Native offenders in tribal courts, and enhancing awareness of the murdered and missing indigenous women in Canada and the U.S,” according to the university’s website.
In 2016, Dana was elected onto the Penobscot Nation Tribal Council where she will serve a four-year term. In this role, she provides support and strengthens programs that educate people on the traditions and customs of the Penobscot Nation.
Kandyce Powell has been serving as the executive director of the Maine Hospice Council and Center for End of Life Care since 1992. Powell has also lobbied in front of the State Legislature for Maine’s hospice licensure law that she co-authored and An Act To Improve the Quality of Life for Persons with Serious Illness. Her work as a lobbyist was largely motivated by her hospice career, focusing on end-of-life care for under-served and rural populations in the state.
In 2000, Powell developed and facilitated a hospice program at the state prison. While in this position, Powell obtained grant funding which enabled the Maine State Prison Hospice Band to produce a CD album. She held this role until 2018.
Powell currently co-chairs the Maine Hospice/Veterans Partnership. In 2018, she served as a visiting professor in Aberdeen, Scotland at Robert Gordon University.
Barker, Dana and Powell will be honored in a ceremony on March 25 at 5:30 p.m. in the Buchanan Alumni House on UMaine’s Orono campus. This event is free and open to the public. For more information about the event or to RSVP, visit UMaine’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.