HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Northern Kentucky University’s Dr. Jessica Averitt Taylor has been named as one of the 2019 Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky. The NKY Chamber of Commerce will present Dr. Taylor with the award during a celebration luncheon on May 15.
The award honors women who exemplify notable achievement, outstanding service in their professions or to the Northern Kentucky community, and the qualities of personal integrity, perseverance, and leadership. Dr. Taylor is an associate professor of Social Work and serves as the director of FUEL NKU, the on-campus food pantry. Over the past six years, FUEL NKU has created a campus community committed to fighting hunger.
“Jessica’s commitment to and action for those in need on NKU’s campus in our community make her deserving of this award,” said Eric Gentry, vice president for University Advancement. “She leads and inspires through educating, collaborating and working for the betterment of others. With a vision in mind and determination, she achieves what is not always easy.”
Dr. Taylor created FUEL NKU in 2013, when she noticed students in her classes struggling with hunger. The pantry started out of Dr. Taylor’s office, temporarily moved to a small office in the former Founder’s Hall, and then moved to a 300-square-foot old mailroom in the University Center. In February, the expanded FUEL NKU Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Food Pantry opened in Albright Health Center. The 2,300 square-foot pantry is the result of a partnership between The Kroger Co. and NKU to fight hunger on campus.
“This expansion allows our team to serve students through a holistic approach,” said Dr. Taylor. “Our goal is to support all of our students, with particular attention to a welcoming environment that recognizes the importance of community in the pursuit of higher education.”
Dr. Taylor isn’t the only honoree with ties to the university highlighted at the luncheon. Long-time NKU supporter Eva G. Farris will be honored with the 2019 Henrietta Cleveland Inspiring Women: Presented by St. Elizabeth Healthcare, and Nursing student Emily Lowe will receive the 2019 Nancy Janes Boothe Scholarship.
The Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky Award was established in 1984 by Nancy Boothe, wife of former NKU President Leon E. Boothe and. Since then, it has recognized nearly 200 women. For the full list of honorees, visit here.